In the USA both Glass FRP (GFRP) and Carbon FRP (CFRP) are widely used. GFRP reinforcement is more cost effective than in the UK and has been used in recent major US projects. Other FRP reinforcement types such as aramid and carbon are less popular because of the high cost.
CFRP laminates compare well on cost with traditional methods and their flexural and shear properties have contributed to the upgrading of a large number of buildings and bridges. In this type of project, the use of near-surface-mounted (NSM) FRP bars is becoming widespread. The bars are inserted into a groove in the concrete and sealed in place with epoxy resin, thus bonding the FRP on three sides. The University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) has conducted tests to prove the bonding strength of this technique.
UMR is conducting research into a number of applications of CFRP, including the use of steel reinforced polymers derived from old tyres. Various aspects of FRP strengthening and methods for determining appropriate use have been identified for further research.
The USA has a realistic level of funding for research, supplied by federal and state systems, augmented by partnerships within industry. A similar consortium is being founded at the University of Bath – ROCOCO, Research on Composites in Construction. This model of multi-party funding could be followed by more research projects in the UK. 5 refs.
Primary author(s): Tim Ibell, Bath University
Vol 37, No 6, June 2003, p.27-28