Glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) composites for the rehabilitation of deteriorated bridges and buildings is increasingly becoming a strong alternative to steel and other traditional materials. The drawbacks with traditional materials are their inability to resist corrosion and ensure ease of installation. GFRP materials have successfully overcome these drawbacks and offer the construction industry an economically viable, lightweight, corrosion-free, and high strength concrete reinforcement solution that can help build structures which can achieve a service life of more than 100 years.
When the civil engineering community started using composite materials in the 1980s, the lack of knowledge of durability behavior and long-term performance of composites in harsh environments was a critical issue. On top of that, economic and practical constraints were confining these innovative materials to an academic argument. However, the extensive research, improved manufacturing technology, and design codes now ensure the safe and advantageous implementation of GFRP composites in a broad range of applications from bridges and rail LRT to mining and tunneling.
GFRP composites are lighter and stronger than steel
Different physical and mechanical properties of GFRP reinforcement such as impeccable resistance against corrosion, high tensile strength, and shear stiffness make fiberglass rebar a stronger and lighter alternative to traditional steel. With tailored anisotropy and geometry able to satisfy complex requirements, different structures can be created from composites.
Rehabilitating and strengthening of reinforced concrete structures and components is critical as inadequate strength properties, ongoing deterioration, steel corrosion, and earthquakes make it difficult for a concrete structure to reach its expected service life without maintenance. This is why the use of advanced composites such as GFRP reinforcement has become widespread in strengthening applications.
The durability of GFRP in harsh environment
Composite materials like GFRP are commonly defined as a combination of two or more constituents that differ in chemical combination and form. The objective of combining two completely different elements, resin and glass fibers, is to create something stronger than individual constituents. When it comes to harsh environments, GFRP is considered an ideal choice because of its property to resist highly corrosive elements such as salts and chemicals.
Why concrete structures require strengthening
There are many reasons why reinforced concrete structures require maintenance and strengthening. For example, it’s important to repair a bridge component which has been deteriorated due to corrosion of reinforcement. Here are some of the factors that make strengthening inevitable:
- Poor workmanship
- Use of inefficient and low-quality materials
- Changes in design parameters
- Corrosion of reinforcement
- Growing traffic loads
- Damaged concrete cover
GFRP and other composite materials are ideal to strengthen existing concrete structures such as bridges and buildings. They are being used worldwide as sustainable construction solutions that adequately address growing structural challenges.
If you want to learn more about GFRP reinforcement or want to use durable, cost-effective, and maintenance-free construction products for your next project, contact TUF-BAR or visit our website for more information!