As a result of the need to rehabilitate the existing structurally deficient concrete structures, composite construction materials have gained growing acceptance as they have the potential to increase the usable life of the concrete members and help civil engineers construct infrastructure systems faster. Increased attention towards a sustainable built environment has driven the construction industry to utilize new promising materials as an alternative to traditional materials. Extensive research has been conducted on FRP composites as an effort to identify the specific challenges associated with advanced composite materials and their applicability in a sustainable environment.
In order to meet the challenges and emerging structural requirements, it is inevitable to think beyond financial constraints and performance criteria. The construction industry in developed countries such as Japan, Canada, and the US now considers environmental factors, energy consumption, and social factors in order to select sustainable and environmentally-friendly building materials. As a result of this approach, FRP systems are increasingly being considered to build and rehabilitate concrete members subject to harsh environmental conditions.
FRP composites are corrosion-resistant, lightweight, easily constructed and demonstrate high strength and stiffness. They offer the architect unlimited design flexibility because of their molded shape potential. Taking into account these advantageous characteristics, FRP composites are used as external and internal reinforcement in concrete members. The exquisite properties of FRP materials have been reported in the literature. However, more work needs to be done to determine the feasibility of FRP materials within the framework of a sustainable environment.
It is important to define sustainability before we could move forward to evaluate the sustainability of advanced composites. The idea of sustainability stems from the concept of sustainable development. According to a report published by Brundtland Commission, “sustainable development meets the needs of present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Evaluation of the environmental impact of FRP composites in infrastructure applications shows direct and indirect benefits that are more competitive than conventional materials. The environmental impact of FRP composites should be studied in terms of its advantages such as:
- High tensile strength
- Corrosion resistance
- Higher performance
- Rehabilitation and seismic enhancement application
- Lightweight: ease of installation
- Ability to recycle
- Extended usable life
It is critical to consider the fact that the selection of FRP reinforcement cannot be governed entirely by the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the material; rather, the selection of FRP materials should be subject to its ability to reduce the overall life-cycle costs. It is now an established fact that composites enable concrete infrastructure to achieve long service life without costly repairs and maintenance.
FRP reinforcement materials such as rebar have developed greatly since they were first introduced. GFRP fiberglass rebar is one of the finest forms of advanced composites available in the market.
TUF-BAR is a leading producer of GFRP reinforcement in North America where our focus is to manufacture environment-friendly and sustainable construction products as an effort to help achieve sustainable development. We maintain strict controls to ensure that our fiberglass rebar and accessories are compliant with CSA and ACI building codes. Visit our site for more information!