The construction industry today needs a strong alternative to the traditional construction materials which have many disadvantages such as being sensitive to the harsh environment and a low strength-to-weight ratio. FRP composites have gained considerable popularity in the civil engineering circles mainly due to its advantageous physical, mechanical, and chemical properties.
As compared to conventional materials, FRP composites offer the ability to meet complicated construction needs and flexibility in design and manufacturing. FRPs help engineers build sustainable concrete structures in terms of stability, geometric efficiency and aesthetics. They maintain their dimensional stability even when exposed to corrosive agents, extreme temperature, and stress.
One of the disadvantages of traditional construction materials is the complicated manufacturing and installation process. Complexities in the installation process cause inconvenience to both workers and public. On the other hand, FRP materials enable engineers to complete a project quickly without facing any additional issues. GFRP fiberglass rebar, for example, is ¼ the weight of steel.
The quality of being lightweight and superior in tensile strength is the reason why FRP composites offer quick project delivery. In addition, FRP composites can be assembled on-site with the help of light equipment. This feature reduces the construction and transportation cost. Full repetition of forms that are accurate in terms of dimensions can only be achieved with FRP composites manufactured through pultrusion process.
A concrete member reinforced with steel demands continuous maintenance and repair. Following the rapid deterioration of steel, the concrete infrastructure in the United States and across North America requires rehabilitation at a mega scale. More than 50,000 bridges in the United States are structurally deficient. Rehabilitation of the existing concrete members is probably the biggest application of FRP composites in civil engineering.
Projects reinforced with FRP composites require less maintenance during their service life. The ability of composites to withstand severe corrosion and heavy loads enables a concrete structure to achieve long service life. Moreover, it is less expensive to repair or maintain an FRP composite structure as compared to a steel structure.
It is important to evaluate the expected long-term cost of a project before selecting the construction material. FRP composites are probably expensive when we consider only the initial cost of a project. Following the development of new manufacturing techniques, the cost of FRP composites has dropped significantly over the past few years. Since the installation time is significantly reduced with the lightweight FRP composites, this enables cost savings in terms of reduced traffic interruption and less labor effort.
The construction industry in Japan, Europe, and North America has already realized the unique and promising properties of GFRP reinforcement. TUF-BAR produces the highest-quality GFRP bars in North America. The company focuses largely on developing new and cost-effective concrete reinforcement for a wide range of applications from rehabilitation to building new projects.