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Studying Environmental Impact On GFRP Reinforcement

Corrosion of reinforcement in RC structures is a pressing durability concern. Composite materials have been developed for civil engineering applications to permanently eliminate the problem of corrosion. When it comes to selecting the most cost-effective and durable composite materials, glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) is the best choice.

It not only provides extra strength but also protects concrete structures against aggressive environments and corrosion. The need for corrosion-free construction materials increases when it comes to building bridges and road infrastructure, which can deteriorate rapidly.

Need for Sustainability

GFRP construction products are a result of extensive research carried out at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada.

These products are developed considering the growing demand for sustainable construction infrastructure which can survive for a long period of time, without heavy maintenance.

In 2004, a study was conducted in Canada to define the in-practice durability of GFRP reinforcement. The following are some concrete structures that were reinforced with fiberglass and have been in service for 5 to 8 years:

Bridges reinforced with GFRP reinforcement

At the time of research, Chatham Bridge had already been in use for 8 years. This bridge was constructed using composite deck slabs. There was no sign of deterioration despite changing and aggressive environmental conditions and deicing salts.

Joffre Bridge was constructed using GFRP rebar and has been in use for more than five years. There has been no sign of reinforcement corrosion or decreased strength. This is a great example of the impeccable corrosion-resistance properties of GFRP.

Researchers also conducted durability tests on Hall’s Harbor Wharf, which was the first marine structure in Canada built with GFRP rebar.

Conclusion

All the above mentioned concrete structures are subject to corrosive environments. The study concluded that GFRP fiberglass rebar is a highly effective material for designing bridge components: beams, columns, and decks. An excellent bond between concrete and fiberglass rebar make it possible for a structure to survive freeze-thaw cycles and deicing salts.

The construction industry in North America has already realized the need for innovative materials, such as fiberglass rebar.

Research and development of design codes will further encourage the civil community to replace traditional materials with GFRP composites to build long-lasting structures and save billions of dollar annually in maintenance and repair.

When selecting reinforcement for a project, it is important to consider its life cycle cost which includes the initial cost, as well as the maintenance cost. Traditional materials are less expensive but they require expensive maintenance down the road. On the other hand, the initial cost of GFRP materials may be slightly high but they require zero maintenance to achieve their expected service life.

TUF-BAR is a top trusted source for GFRP fiberglass rebar and other composite construction products. For more information, contact us or visit our website!

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