The durability of concrete structures is a complex issue for Engineers and Builders all over the world who are looking for the necessary tools to understand exposure, materials, and the deterioration process during construction. While research into concrete durability is pursuing, Airey Taylor’s Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) methods withstand corrosion and far extend the life of any other load bearing material.
Corrosion tests undertaken by Airey Taylor Consulting and the University of Western Australia prove that GFRP bars are not subject to the same type of corrosion displayed by steel. A compelling case could be made for their use in jetty structures where environmental conditions are harsh and the major design condition is bending and axial stress.
With the low level of research devoted to GFRP reinforcing in concrete compression members, combined with the results of this study relating to ductility of the reinforcement, failure mode of the member and warning before failure, it is suggested that somewhat higher safety factors be employed when designing GFRP reinforced members.
Cost comparison also indicates that the use of GFRP bars can be quite cost effective. Whilst the GFRP materials do incur an increased start-up cost, the decrease in labour time and cost, due to the low weight material being easy to work with, is compensatory. The significant decrease in maintenance costs will make this product a valuable material in the long term as the effects of corrosion with associated structural degradation can be confidently expected to be absent.
The advantages of GFRP reinforcement as a substitute for traditional steel reinforcing bars:
- Higher tensile strength;
- Corrosion resistance;
- Bars are non-magnetic;
- Lightweight (approximately ¼ the density of steel); and
- Low thermal and electrical conductivity.