Composite Materials For Civil Engineering Applications

Composite Materials For Civil Engineering Applications

While composite materials have been in existence for centuries, the incorporation of composite technology into the civil engineering world is over five decades old. The application of composites in the defense industry dates back to the early 1940’s. Several industries started using composites because of their high strength-to-weight ratio and resistance to corrosive elements and weather.

The construction industry has been struggling to develop materials that can withstand harsh environments and help build sustainable concrete members. Steel is a widely used concrete reinforcement material which, unfortunately, leads to early deterioration of structures. The introduction of composites into the construction world has given the industry an opportunity to build sustainable concrete infrastructure.

There are not a whole lot of choices when it comes to selecting construction materials. Composite materials such as GFRP fiberglass rebar is the latest technology which adequately addresses many structural issues such as premature deterioration of concrete and structural deficiencies. Traditional materials include steel, wood, and masonry. While some of these materials demonstrate composite properties, they offer limited strength, durability, stiffness, and resistance against corrosive elements. These factors differentiate composite materials from traditional materials.

The scope and applications of advanced composites such as glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) reinforcement have grown significantly over the past few years. These materials have the potential to completely transform the way we construct bridges, rail LRT, mining and tunneling, retaining walls, and other sensitive waterside buildings.

GFRP composite materials are designed using two major constituents: reinforcing fibers and polymer matrix. The function of reinforcing fibers is to provide strength and stiffness, while the polymer matrix allows proper load transfer between the fibers and acts as a shield to protect the fibers from environmental elements. Vinylester or polyester resins can be used as a polymer matrix.

So far as the properties of GFRP composites are concerned, few of the most notable are corrosion-resistance, high strength, and lightweight. Composites are also anisotropic which means they have different strength properties in different directions. They can be tailored to meet the complex design requirements for both new and rehabilitation applications.

The civil engineering community started using composites in tandem with other traditional materials. For instance, GFRP reinforcing rebar has been used in lieu with traditional steel to strengthen a concrete structure.

As a proud manufacturer and seller of advanced composite construction products, TUF-BAR encourages the construction industry to replace the traditional materials with more sustainable and cost-effective composites. Browse through our site or contact us for more information!