The global focus on the preservation of the environment forces both manufacturing plants and businesses across diverse industries to update and introduce modifications to the way they do business.
Construction is not an exception — customers do care about sustainable infrastructure, carbon footprint, eco-friendly products & materials, and even environmentally safe production of the goods, materials, and services they purchase.
In this context, the popularity of FRP composite materials gathers pace — FRP products find new practical applications across diverse business dimensions. What is FRP? What are the key advantages of FRP over steel? Is FRP eco-friendly? As you might have guessed, FRP is the focus of today’s article.
FRP Rebar: Definition and Key Features
As the name implies, FRP rebar is manufactured from fibre-reinforced polymers, which represent composite materials consisting of a resin (more known as polymer) matrix with built-in fibres. In fact, embedded fibres (glass, basalt, carbon, or aramid) ensure the strength of the material.
Properties of fibre-reinforced polymers make them a cost-efficient alternative to conventional materials: heat endurance, resistance to corrosion, lightweight, and greater tensile strength make composites a top-choice material for severe environments.
Composite Tech is one of the recognizable manufacturers of FRP Rebar production lines. Established in 1998, the company has amassed a wealth of expertise in the design & manufacture of composite rebars and equipment for FRP rebar production.
Thanks to the ongoing improvement of the technology and cooperation with research institutions in the USA, Japan, Canada, and Italy specialized in composites, Composite Tech offers out-of-the-box solutions for FRP rebar production — a ready business with a short payback period of the investment.
Environmental Benefits of FRP Rebar
Environmental impact typically includes such aspects as energy consumption, waste, emissions, etc. FRP composites have a lower impact on the environment. For example, steel and cement manufacturing constitutes around 16% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
The use of composite materials can significantly reduce emissions due to lower energy consumption throughout the manufacturing process and reduced transportation expenditures due to the lighter weight of FRP rebar.
When it comes to composites’ CO2 emissions, the main part comes from raw materials production and composite manufacturing has a very low CO2 discharge compared to casting steel bars. Composite production relies primarily on chemical reactions.
Pollution is reduced also due to the lighter weight of FRP products compared to heavier alternatives — FRP is much easier to transport; hence, transport emissions are lower.
Additionally, FRP composite manufacturers are well aware of energy consumption and shift to solar energy whenever possible, reducing already low consumption.
Our planet needs sustainable solutions to address such challenges as global warming that arises due to the greenhouse effect, and the replacement of traditional materials by composites in some applications might be a part of the problem resolution.
Economic Benefits of FRP Rebar
The mechanical properties of composite materials justify the endurance and cost-effectiveness of FRP products. Despite a bit higher initial installation costs, lower transportation, labour, and maintenance expenditures of FRP rebar and its higher durability result in cost-savings in the long run.
- Life cycle. The working lifespan of FRP rebar is over 100 years compared to several decades for steel rebar. Add here the stability of composite materials in harsh and aggressive environments, overall endurance of FRP rebar is considerably higher compared to steel.
- Transportation. Due to lighter weight, FRP rebars are delivered to the place faster and require less power and fuel for transportation. Additionally, uploading and unloading require less human power and resources.
- Maintenance costs. Steel rebars are prone to corrosion; businesses spend billions of dollars yearly to maintain and repair steel-based constructions. Resistant to corrosion composites need minimum maintenance, so they are economically attractive.
- ROI (return on investment). This is the crucial aspect for businesses that are considering shifting from traditional materials to FRP. As composite materials are used in continuous-duty projects, initial expenses are well compensated by low maintenance and transportation costs affirming overall cost-efficiency.
FRP Rebar Applications
Recent years have been marked with an impressive increase in composite products’ applications. Having proved its successful implementation in marine structures, many businesses across various industries opted for FRP rebar as a substitute for steel.
- Construction. Recently, reinforced polymers have been used in a wide array of building projects, both civil and industrial engineering, including marine facilities, bridges, roads, buildings, septic tanks, swimming pools, etc. Being corrosion-resistant, FRP rebar increases the durability of concrete structures, particularly in marine, highly humid conditions.
- Agriculture. Besides silos, tanks, and storage reservoirs, FRP has been successfully used in the construction of agricultural facilities, particularly in seaside regions and zones with high moisture content.
- Chemical industry. Antistatic & explosion-proof properties make FRP a perfect option for chemical facilities.
- Pharmaceutical industry. Low thermal conductivity and resistance to chemical substances make composites the top option for the erection of pharmaceutical facilities.
- Healthcare. Due to non-magnetic properties and low thermal and electric conductivity, FRP rebar is used for building medical facilities, particularly for radiology units.
Non-corrosive properties, low electrical and thermal conductivity, lightweight, ecological compatibility, and surpassing cost-efficiency expand the areas of FRP application continually.
FRP Development Prospects
An improved focus on increasing structures’ lifespan along with the reduction of waste and emissions shifts attention from steel and aluminium to FRP as a more durable and eco-friendly option.
Versatile use, strength and extended lifetime, corrosion and thermal resistance lead to decreased deterioration of infrastructural facilities and make composite materials a preferable option across many industries.
Over the last decades, the topic “FRP rebar vs. steel rebar” was in focus of several researches carried out by scientists from all over the world, for example, by Rahimi and Hutchinson, Rashid et al.
Studies confirmed that in many applications FRP products have proved to be more environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient compared to conventional materials. This explains why the market for FRP rebar and other products has been continuously expanding — enterprises across diverse industries switch to FRP due to its higher sustainability and cost-efficiency.
Market requirements for fibre reinforced rebar open new prospects for business — FRP rebar production lines from Composite Tech represent a well-performing investment with a ready-sale market.