Test results then published by the University of Sherbrooke in Canada in 2013 proved that GFRP is not subject to the same type of corrosion as steel – so it dramatically extends the life of structures over any other load bearing material.
We have successfully implemented this research at the Majestic Boardwalk at Point Dundas at Applecross for the City of Melville in 2014 – vastly improving the design life to an estimated 75 years.
There are important economic advantages to using GFRP bars. While GFRP materials have a slight premium over traditional steel reinforcement (5% at Majestic Boardwalk), this cost is offset by the decrease in labour time due to the easier handling of the lower weight material. Crucially, lack of corrosion and elimination of associated structural degradation eliminates the maintenance and replacement costs of steel reinforcement.
The results of this study also relate to the ductility of the reinforcement, failure mode of the member and warning before failure – and our findings indicate higher safety factors can be employed when designing GFRP reinforced members.
The advantages of GFRP reinforcement as a substitute for traditional steel reinforcing bars:
- Corrosion resistance – lack of rust protects against “concrete cancer”
- Higher tensile strength
- Lightweight (approximately ¼ the density of steel)
- Bars are non-magnetic
- Low thermal and electrical conductivity.