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Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites and Its Uses in Engineering

Posted by Scott Reeve on June 26, 2019

FRP Composite and Its Uses in EngineeringA wide range of architecture and infrastructure designers are switching from concrete, wood, or metal architecture to fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite for use in their structures. This versatile engineered material, valued for its ability to resist corrosion and weather effects and incur very little maintenance costs over time, performs very well in a wide range of applications.

For these reasons and others, builders and managers of everything from bridges to buildings to pipelines are seeking ways to incorporate FRP into new or retrofitting projects. All civil engineering projects stand to benefit from the use of FRP, which includes a number of benefits such as:

  • High durability
  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Exceptional corrosion resistance
  • Lightweight
  • Prefabricated structural elements

In this post, we explore a few of the best reasons to use FRP in your next construction project. 

Advantages of FRP Composites

FRP composites offer a number of advantages, with different structures typically benefitting from two or three of the advantages when used in civil engineering applications.  FRP has the strength of steel, but at 25% of the weight.

Furthermore, FRP composites typically come in lightweight, flexible panels that are prefabricated in the factory and easy to install at the construction site. FRP panels usually only need a few fasteners or just adhesive bonding to remain in place throughout their service life. This ease of installation applies to a wide range of building materials—FRP can be installed over concrete or metal substructure with ease.

FRP surfaces also resist corrosion, mold, and weather effects better than other materials. The strong bonds that make up this polymer ensure that external threats have little chance of permanently affecting it. The polymer and its exterior gel coats protect the strong fiber reinforcements from water, salt, chemicals and UV radiation. Additionally, FRP can withstand heavy impacts and abrasion, while its flexibility allows it to bend and bounce back before it breaks.

Finally, there are a number of FRP manufacturing processes that allow structures to be made using cost-efficient procedures, and ensure that this material remains competitive with traditional materials while offering all these advantages. For this reason, FRP is great for retrofitting structures or creating new structures in shapes and sizes not previously attained.

FRP Composite Engineering Applications  

FRP’s structural properties, durability, and light weight offer designers the flexibility to build free-form, innovative structures. For example, construction companies can build lighter bridge decks using FRP composites, and doing so enables them to pursue more daring designs without overburdening the bridge’s support structure.

Additionally, waterway managers can use FRP to build new dolphin pilings, which perform much better in saltwater environments than traditional wood-based pilings. Switching to FRP in movable structures creates a positive snowball effect by reducing the cost of bearings, transportation, foundations, maintenance, lifting equipment, and much more. 

Because of these benefits, infrastructure workers that switch to FRP building materials stand to save a lot of money while building efficient, aesthetically pleasing structures.  

Learn More About Composite Advantage’s FRP Solutions

FRP composites are strong, flexible, durable, and last longer than many other construction materials. Switching to FRP will save you money up front and over time, as this material is very easy to work with and resists damage from operations and the environment.

Composite Advantage offers a full range of FRP manufacturing and design services. If you would like to learn more about how FRP will benefit your next infrastructure project, contact us today or view our interactive infographic, showcasing the wide range of applications for FRP. Be sure to request a quote to learn about how we may help you. 

Download the eBook: A Guide to Dolphin Pilings

Topics: FRP

AboutScott Reeve

Scott is the Director of Marketing for Creative Composites Group. For over 35 years, he has developed new applications using FRP composites; especially in the infrastructure sector. In 2005, he founded Composite Advantage, which is now part of CCG.

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