Composites Performance in the Infrastructure

by Richard E. Chambers, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc, Arlington, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Materials: Performance and Prevention of Deficiencies and Failures


Fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP) composites have been used in demanding structural applications, mostly for special corrosion resistant construction products, for several decades. Examination of the track record in these applications provides a basis for assessing potential performance in new structural applications in the infrastructure. This paper is a review of FRP performance in several construction applications of fiberglass products. Design and service performance are discussed for tanks, pipes, and other structures such as very tall structural chimney liners. The track record of FRP in construction applications contains many notable successes, but also some significant problems. Review of case histories shows that problems stem from lack of characterization of material properties for selection and design, lack of 'total structural knowledge' (TSK) and a 'structural design system' (SDS) for these different and unfamiliar materials, and misuse and abuse during the construction process. Despite these problems, the overall performance record supports the use of FRP for infrastructure applications.

Subject Headings: Fiber reinforced polymer | Synthetic materials | Infrastructure construction | Construction materials | Material properties | Glass reinforced plastics | Fiber reinforced composites

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