Advanced Composites Build on Success

by Frieder Seible, (M.ASCE), Prof.; Division of Structural Engineering, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, CA,
Vistasp Karbhari, (M.ASCE), Prof.; Division of Structural Engineering, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, CA,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 8, Pg. 44-47


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Advanced composite materials are competing with conventional structural materials thanks to the ready availability of glass, aramid and carbon fibers, epoxies, vinylesters, polyesters and cementitious bonding agents, as well as significant advances in manufacturing technologies. Despite the widespread use of advanced composites in the aerospace and defense industries, applications in the civil engineering sector have been slow in developing, primarily because of costs. Key advantages of advanced composites, such as free-form and tailored design characteristics, outstanding strength/weight and stiffness/weight ratios, and a high degree of chemical inertness in most environments, used to be lost in high material and manufacturing costs, particularly in direct comparison with conventional structural materials such as steel, concrete or masonry. Direct one-to-one component replacement of elements in conventional structural systems by advanced composite components have shown that economically and structurally, it is difficult to justify the use of advanced composites in civil engineering construction. Several developments have changed this picture over the past few years.

Subject Headings: Civil engineering | Composite materials | Construction materials | Costs

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