University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australia, research into the use and benefits of fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) bars to reinforce concrete has been adopted in the design of the Toowoomba City Hall refurbishment project.
The non-conductive and corrosion resistant reinforcement was used for the annex extension instead of traditional reinforcement materials due to the proximity to an electrical substation.
Dr Allan Manalo, who heads USQ’s research into FRP bars as internal reinforcement to concrete structures through its Centre for Future Materials (CFM), says the application of FRP for the project is a major milestone in the university’s research into composite materials for civil infrastructure.
FRP has excellent properties, such as corrosion resistance, lightweight and high strength, which have helped it gain a growing acceptance in the construction industry. Over the past five years, Manalo and his research team have been studying the use of concrete and FRP bars in building a high strength, sustainable and maintenance-free infrastructure.
“In Australia, the environments are severe to use steel as reinforcement to concrete structures from the viewpoint of corrosion damage,” Manalo reports. “Corrosion damage costs Australia more than $13 billion per year. Thus, FRP reinforced concrete structures for use in infrastructure applications are an emerging technology that can play a significant role in the Australian construction and civil infrastructure.”
CFM Director Professor Peter Schubel believes the success of the research will boost the CFM’s efforts to expedite the uptake of FRP bars as reinforcement to concrete structures with existing industries, such as marine, building and construction.
“USQ is one of the nominated organisations to lead the development of standards for this alternative reinforcing material, which is strong, economical, safe and durable,” Schubel reports. “The work we have undertaken provides an excellent framework for reference in the development of design criteria and specifications for FRP bars so that the construction industry can benefit more widely from this technology.”
Image provided by University of Southern Queensland
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