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Advanced Concrete Technology Processes

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FRP materials have been used for many years in the aerospace and automotive industries, where their high strength and low weight have shown distinct advantages over traditional materials such as aluminium and steel. They are slowly being adopted by the construction industry either as construction materials in their own right or for use in conjunction with traditional materials such as concrete. This section aims to give a brief introduction to FRP materials and to give indicative values for the properties appropriate to those materials likely to be used in connection with concrete bridges.

When correctly specified and constructed, reinforced concrete is a cost-effective and durable construction material. However, the specification and/or use of inappropriate materials can lead to poor durability, particularly in severe exposure conditions and with poor levels of workmanship. The major problem is the corrosion of the embedded steel reinforcement. The principal approach for achieving durability is the selection of appropriate concrete materials and mixes, which are covered extensively elsewhere in these volumes. Another approach, and one that is becoming more widespread, is the use of alternative reinforcement materials that will be more durable. These include: 

• coated reinforcement (either galvanized or fusion-bonded epoxy)

 • stainless steel 

• fibre composites 

This chapter briefly describes the first two materials, considering their properties and giving examples of their use in practice. The chapter concentrates on fibre composite materials, generally known as FRPs (fibre reinforced polymers), which consist of glass,

carbon or aramid fibres combined with an appropriate resin to form a solid. The topics covered include: 

• properties of fibres and resins 

• manufacturing processes and properties of composites 

• research and development 

• advantages and disadvantages 

• amended design rules for concrete reinforced with fibre composites 

• Health and safety considerations

 • applications and demonstration projects The use of fibre composite reinforcement is still very much in its infancy but it is predicted that its use in specialist applications will grow rapidly.

 This chapter provides the necessary introduction to the materials.