Dreaming of Living in a Composite House?
The choice of construction materials in the building industry is very limited. The four available options in the industry include concrete, steel, wood, and masonry. While some of these traditional construction materials exhibit composite properties, they possess limited strength, stiffness, or durability. For example, wood is a natural composite made from fibers and lignin matrix. However, it is vulnerable to water damage and decay. Similarly, concrete is a composite made from aggregate, cement, water, and chemical additives. However, it has low tensile strength, and its weight to strength ratio is relatively high.
Recently, the use of advanced fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) matrix composites have shown promise in the building industry and they are regarded as having the potential for transforming the construction of new buildings, producing spectacular new shapes and forms, and resulting in more efficient and attractive structures. FRP composites mainly consist of reinforcing fibers embedded in a polymer matrix. The reinforcing fiber provides stiffness and strength, and they can be made from glass, carbon, or aramid. The polymer matrix protects the reinforcing fibers from environmental effects and allows proper load transfer between the reinforcing fibers. The polymer matrix can be polyester, vinylester, or epoxy resins. FRP composites are light weight, corrosion resistant, durable, and have high strength. They are also anisotropic, having different strength properties in different directions, which can be tailored to meet complex design requirements by engineers or architects.
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