Over the past few years, FRP composites have shown their potential in civil engineering. These advanced construction materials are now being used widely in building rust free concrete structures and rehabilitating the structurally deficient structures. The structural engineering community has commenced the stage in which the use of advanced composites has become a routine. Corrosion being the biggest reason behind concrete deterioration has driven the construction industry to experiment corrosion-resistant FRPs. Every material has some strengths and weakness. Let’s take a brief look at the strengths and weaknesses of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites.
FRP composites are well-known for their unique strengths and properties. There are three major types of fibers; aramid, carbon, and glass used in the manufacturing of fiber reinforced polymer reinforcement. Following are the strengths of FRPs and its constituents:
Fibers outsmart steel and other traditional materials in terms of strength. This is why they are attractive to structural engineers.
The stiffness of FRPs can vary depending on their constituents and manufacturing process. However, fibers are at least as stiff as steel and aluminum.
As we know fibers do not rust and maintain a protection shield against chlorides attack. This is why FRP composites are considered as an ideal material for building waterside concrete structures such as sea walls, dams, pools, retaining walls, etc. The property of being corrosion resistant material is what structural engineers required to build sustainable and durable concrete members.
FRPs are lightweight construction materials that offer higher strength-to-weight ratio. The property of being lightweight material helps engineers complete a project quickly without spending extra money on material handling and transportation. The low weight material could make a significant difference to the installation cost.
FRPs are non-magnetic which makes them a good material for building sensitive research, military, and health facilities.
One of the leading disadvantages of FRP composites is their high initial cost. This is probably the biggest hurdle in the way of widespread adoption of FRPs. Limited budgets make it hard for the contractor to use high-quality materials. Taking into account the long-term cost of a project, FRPs are not expensive. Concrete members reinforced with steel demands costly maintenance. While structures reinforced with FRPs do not require major maintenance and can extend the service life of a project to over 100 years. Stress rupture is a considerable weakness of FRP composites.
Considering the worldwide research on the performance of advanced composites, fiber reinforced polymer is a modern and highly recommended construction material which can help mitigate the current infrastructure crisis.