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Licensed copy from CIS: neilwhite, May Gurney Construction Ltd, 07/05/2012, Uncontrolled Copy.

Effective use of fibre reinforced polymer materials in construction

S M Halliwell and T Reynolds

BRE Centre for Composites in Construction

constructing the future

Licensed copy from CIS: neilwhite, May Gurney Construction Ltd, 07/05/2012, Uncontrolled Copy.

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Licensed copy from CIS: neilwhite, May Gurney Construction Ltd, 07/05/2012, Uncontrolled Copy.

Acknowledgement Abbreviations Introduction Materials used Material selection Selection criteria Fire Weathering effects Chemical resistance Sustainability Site factors System architecture Fabrication Open mould systems Closed mould systems Automated techniques Procurement Performance/cost considerations Mechanical properties Stressstrain characteristics Typical E-glass laminate properties Interlaminar properties Fatigue strength Creep and stress rupture System design Design process Anisotropic nature Yield Youngs modulus Shear Limit state design issues specific to FRP materials Engineering performance prediction and optimisation Application of FRPs in construction Use of FRP with traditional materials Implementation strategy Future developments Case studies References Further reading Glossary

iv iv 1 2 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 8 9 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 12 13 13 14 14 14 14 15 16 23 23 24 26 65 65 68


AcknowledgementThis report was produced from the work carried out under FBE project Provision of Best Practice Guidance for users and producers of polymer fibre composites for construction.

Licensed copy from CIS: neilwhite, May Gurney Construction Ltd, 07/05/2012, Uncontrolled Copy.

AbbreviationsACM AFRP BMC CFRP DMC GFRP FRP SMC TMC advanced composite material aramid fibre reinforced polymer bulk moulding compound carbon fibre reinforced polymer dough moulding compound glass fibre reinforced polymer fibre reinforced polymer sheet moulding compound thick moulding compound


IntroductionLicensed copy from CIS: neilwhite, May Gurney Construction Ltd, 07/05/2012, Uncontrolled Copy.Fibre reinforced polymers (FRPs) have been used successfully in the construction industry for several decades, mainly for architectural applications e.g. cladding. However, FRPs have never become established as major structural materials in the building industry. In recent years they have started to re-emerge as their inherent benefits are being acknowledged once again. This report looks at the technical and cost implications of using FRPs in construction and demonstrates their effective use by means of a number of case histories. The advantages of FRPs over traditional structural materials have long been recognised in the high technology engineering sectors such as the aerospace and automotive fields, where the rate of growth in the usage of composites continues to be significant. FRPs have made most rapid progress especially in weight sensitive applications where the consequential cost of added weight (due to greater propulsion costs) outweighs the incremental cost of the material. As confidence in the performance of FRPs has grown, their usage, initially mainly confined to secondary structures, is being increasingly extended to safety critical primary structures where the consequences of failure in terms of cost are far greater. In the construction field, FRPs are also making inroads, albeit at a slower rate, for a variety of reasons. Large segments of the construction industry, on both the supply and demand sides, tend to be more conservative in their support of new technology and innovation. Being less technology conscious and less technology driven, the industry has been less willing to invest in research and development and take the commercial risks associated with innovation. Options are traditionally selected on the basis of initial capital costs and benefits. Only recently has there been a move to select material options, albeit at the initial planning stage rather than at the tender award stage, on the basis of whole life costs and benefits, or total annual cost of ownership. Applications in the construction field differ from those in the aerospace and automotive industries in a number of significant respects. Infrastructure applications such as bridges are frequently large one-off projects. These need to have a long service life with high levels of structural reliability throughout because shortcomings in structural performance are very expensive to rectify. Due to their scale and location, access is frequently costly. Hence the consequential cost of corrosion and fatigue is often considerably more significant than the consequential cost of weight and, therefore, the frequency of maintenance cycles needs to be minimised. Due to the absence of cost-related running costs, operating costs are primarily due to maintenance and repair associated with corrosion and structural degradation (e.g. fatigue), and any consequential disruption and loss of service. In the increasingly busier networks that characterise modern infrastructure, the cost of disruption caused by the loss of service of an element in the network frequently greatly outweighs the direct cost of maintenance and repair. In these circumstances, the ratio of operating cost to capital cost can be as high if not higher than in vehicular applications. Final assembly and installation often take place in relatively hostile and unpredictable environments. Hence the speed and reliability of joining and installation processes is a significant factor in the overall cost effectiveness of a solution. FRPs offer several important advantages over traditional materials for construction projects: Time saving low weight for fast construction in time tight projects Durability able to survive, especially in harsh environments Repair to allow repair of structures in-situ Strengthening strengthening of structures in-situ Tailor-made properties where especially high performance is needed in one direction Appearance where a particular colour, shape or texture is required Blast/fire where blast or fire resistance is required Radio transparent for telephone masts and military structures Low maintenance in conditions where difficult access makes maintenance hard The main driver for the adoption of FRPs in construction in the past has tended to be the reduction of the direct and indirect costs of corrosion and maintenance. More recently, weight savings and speed of installation have gained in importance. To compete successfully with the conventional structural materials used in construction (such as steel, concrete, aluminium, and their associated maintenance liabilities) FRP solutions must have optimised benefits and costs and adequate long-term durability.


Materials usedLicensed copy from CIS: neilwhite, May Gurney Construction Ltd, 07/05/2012, Uncontrolled Copy.Resins Thermosetting resins are most widely used in the construction industry, the most common being the unsaturated polyesters, epoxides and phenolics. Polyester resins are relatively inexpensive, easy to process, allow room temperature cure and have a good balance of mechanical properties and environmental/chemical resistance. Epoxy resins are used for the majority of high-performance FRP structures. They have excellent environmental and chemical resistance and superior resistance to hot-wet conditions. Compared to polyesters, they are more expensive and requir