The composite material was first produced in the 1960s. Fiberglass reinforced polymer (FRP) was commercially recognized in the 1980s when it was used in high-speed trains project by Japan. The question is why engineers need composite material to build strong and long-lasting projects and why traditionally-used reinforcement materials lack strength. The answer is associated with corrosion which shortens the service life of a concrete structure. Therefore, engineers and builders need to reinforce concrete structures with material that can survive the harsh environmental conditions.
FRP rebar is gaining commercial value mainly because it is resistant to corrosive agents and does not let concrete rust or weaken. GFRP or glass fiber reinforced polymer rebar is a variant of FRP. Advanced composite materials like FRP was adopted by US and Canada for structural applications in the late 1990s. Sensitive concrete structures like seawalls, dams, and power plants have to be reinforced with corrosion-resistant rebar. Fiberglass reinforcement material, therefore, is considered to be the ideal product for sensitive concrete infrastructures.
Advantages of GFRP Rebar:
Glass fiber reinforced polymer rebar is a high value-added construction product. The mega infrastructure providers, such as governments, now have acknowledged the fact that GFRP is a cost-effective construction material that has the full potential to extend the life of public structures where corrosion can have a huge economic and environmental impact. With the rise of corrosion due to global warming, fiberglass reinforcement material has gained considerable popularity. In future, these advanced composite materials would demonstrate their strengths and properties more evidently. Here are some of the advantages of using GFRP rebar in various applications:
- The constituents of GFRP include high-quality corrosion resistant vinyl ester resin that increases the lifespan of a concrete structure.
- As compared with the traditional reinforcement material, GFRP rebar is ¼ the weight of steel with 2x the tensile strength of steel.
- GFRP rebar is non-conductive to electricity and heat making it an ideal choice for facilities like power generation plants and scientific installations.
- Taking into account the long-term benefits of GFRP rebar, it is a cost-effective product as compared with epoxy-coated or stainless steel.
- It is invulnerable to chloride ions and other chemical elements.
- It can be manufactured in custom lengths, bends, and shapes.
- The installation process of GFRP rebar is very convenient coupled with its property of being easy to cut and machined.
- It is transparent to electrical field and radio frequencies
- A project reinforced with GFRP rebar is maintenance free, enabling builders to avoid rehabilitation cost.
It may seem that fiberglass reinforcement is expensive while other traditional steel reinforcement is relatively inexpensive. In fact, fiberglass rebar is a cost-effective building material as it gives a concrete structure long lifespan without major maintenance.