FRP composites in Civil Infrastructure – Series 1

Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites are an emerging new technologies find its way to replace steel and other corrosive material in civil infrastructure as FRP material demonstrates excellent durability compared to steel. The main intension of this article is to disseminate the knowledge in this area. The article will have three main series and several sub sections as it will be discussed in wide array of occasions where FRP is widely used.

Courtesy: Shinsung Basic Materials, Korea

The problem

Concrete considered one of the most durable material man to invent. However, the corrosion of steel in reinforced concrete often raise concerns over the durability of concrete structures. Structures exposed to corrosive conditions such as roads and highways, coastal structures, underground structural elements and water retaining structures requires frequent repair and maintenance due to corrosion damages.

Repair and maintenance of steel reinforced concrete structures is an additional expense which results in huge burden on the authorities which maintain those structures. In the United Kingdom, repair cost due of concrete infrastructure exceeds £500 million/year (Broomfield et al. 2002) and much higher in the United States and Canada (Bedard 1992). Even sometimes the repair and maintenance costs have exceeded the original cost of the bridges. Due to these concerns, there were considerations either to protect steel from corrosion or replace it with non corrosive materials.

Better quality concrete, steel protection methods such as epoxy coating, galvanizing have been practiced in the last decades in an effort to prevent the corrosion in steel reinforced structures (Clarke 1999). However, the efficiency of these methods raised concerns when corrosion was detected on epoxy coated steel reinforcement (Keesler & Powers 1988).

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