Advantages of GRFC for Architectural Concrete

August 31, 2022

When looking at architectural precast concrete for your next project or home, you will most likely come across two concrete mix designs: conventional concrete and Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete abbreviated as GFRC. Glass fiber reinforced concrete by Premier Precast, a premier fabricator of architectural concrete and a leader in GFRC manufacturing, is continuously trying to educate consumers on the benefits of GFRC because of its excellent qualities and recent prominence in the industry.

However, this article will explain the benefits and other applications of GRFC for architectural concrete.

Glass fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC)

Glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) is a cement composite that has been reinforced with glass fiber and is commonly used for architectural cladding. Because of workability issues, the fiber length and content in the fresh matrix must be restricted in GFRC.

We will learn about glass fiber reinforced concrete, as well as its benefits and drawbacks, in this section.

An overview of glass fiber reinforced concrete:

For the reinforced brittle matrix, the GFRC comprises borosilicate glass fiber (E glass) and soda-lime silicate fiber (A glass).

Both E glass and A glass fiber had very high tensile strengths ranging from 280 to 3500 MPa and elastic moduli ranging from 3.1 to 3.5 GPa when inserted in a conventional cement-based matrix with high alkalinity.

Using alkaline resistance glass fiber (AR-glass) made the composite more durable.

Glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) behavior:

Multiple cracking of the matrix affects the behavior of GFRC under tensile loading. The strength of the composite falls dramatically in a moist environment.

Brittleness grows with age, leading to material failure, while the addition of glass fibers to the concrete increases impact strength.

Impact strength improves by 1500% with 5% glass fiber when compared to plain cement concrete; with 2% fiber content and 25% length, flexural strength nearly doubles.

As the aggregate’s breakup strength and modulus increase, so does its ductility.

Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete Properties:

Sustainability:

GFRC panel manufacturing generates less waste than precast panel manufacturing and consumes less natural resources.

Because fabrication is completed in the plant, there is substantially less trash generated on the job site.

Functional:

GFRC cladding is sturdy and low maintenance.

The GFRC offers greater weathering efficiency and a high level of corrosion resistance.

Wind Protection:

GFRC panels can have a high level of air resistance.

Fire-resistant:

The GFRC is made of incombustible materials.

Thermal protection:

Insulation will be used as a liner on the panel’s inner face or as a core between two GFRC layers.

Normally, silicone sealant is used to fill the joints between the GFRC panels.

The Benefits of GFRC

  • GFRC offers significantly better compressive and flexural strengths than ordinary concrete. The internal steel reinforcing is not required.
  • Because of the strength advantages of GFRC, the minimum thickness is usually 1′′. On lower-sized products, this can sometimes be reduced to 3/4′′. This compares to 1.5′′-2′′ for standard concrete. Because no additional adjustments are required for a thicker product, the thinner product allows for greater freedom in building out proportions of floor tile and wall panels.
  • GFRC weights less than traditional concrete, weighing 9lbs/SF @ 1′′ thick against 12.5lbs/SF @ 1′′ thick. Weight reduction reduces stress on structural components and makes handling considerably easier. This benefit is especially beneficial for floating vanities, countertops, or sinks on millwork, wall panels, tubs, and other products that require support because structural modifications do not need to be as extensive.
  • With no additional help, GFRC may achieve higher spans. This entails larger wall panels or floor tiling. There will be fewer seams in your countertops, vanities, or coping.
  • Improved color uniformity across multiple products. The sprayed face coat process allows for the surface of a big square footage area to be made of the same mix. This eliminates errors from one mixer to the next. This is perfect for larger wall panels and floor tile, or if you have a bathroom with a lot of precast components like a tub, shower pan, sink, and wall panels.
  • Curing shrinkage is reduced, resulting in a more accurate final product.
  • Early high-strength curing means that the product can be handled and placed through the finishing and sealing steps earlier. This enables GFRC to have a shorter lead time, allowing us to be more reactive in generating new products for a project if necessary.
  • GFRC has a substantially denser surface because of its casting qualities. When further sealed, the thick surface allows for lesser liquid absorption and stain resistance. This is perfect for countertops, sinks, high-traffic floor areas, and outside precast that is prone to spills and water.
  • Because GFRC contains no large stone particles or steel, it is much easier to cut than ordinary concrete. This is great for precast floor tile and wall panel installers who need to make cuts to meet a condition.

GFRC Disadvantages:

  • It functions as a no-load bearing.
  • Their installation causes the use of a different anchor system.
  • Larger GFRC panels should be reinforced.
  • Its color additives may fade in the sun.
  • It may absorb at a different rate than neighboring historical materials.

Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) Applications:

GFE in the structure:

It can be shaped into trendy futuristic shapes or classic historical elements. GRFC can be painted, colored, or simply left white or grey, smooth or textured.

Cladding with GRFC:

It is one of the most commonly used materials for artistic prefabricated architectural cladding. It may be molded into thin, lightweight panels with a wide range of GRFC sizes, forms, and surfaces.

GRFC in landscape design:

Seating, planters, kiosks, indications, sculptures, and fountains are all built into GRFC with the ability to alter the shape, kind, and surface to be aesthetically appropriate to the intended location.

GRFC in the roofing industry:

GRFC is an excellent material for many roof structures because it is lightweight but strong, easy to repair, and unaffected by environmental conditions.

It is made of typical roofing materials such as slate, natural stone, or clay, however, unlike these materials, it is neither heavy nor fragile.

GRFC can be formed into intricate shapes for roofing equipment, including finials, ridges, and chimneys.

Walls and windows with GRFC:

Molded GRFC components like window walls, window surround, cornices, door portals, and columns can provide beauty while also meeting the functional purposes of residential and commercial structures.

Typical prefabricated panels with a variety of surface finishes, such as exposed combination, natural stone, and brick impression.

GRFC is undergoing renovation.

Glass fiber-reinforced concrete is an excellent material for rehabilitation. Thin lightweight panels are easy to repair and lower the weight of existing buildings.

Most times, the opportunity to improve not only the appearance of the building but also the thermal and acoustic features.

Using GRFC on floors and foundations:

GRFC can give practical solutions for foundation and flooring construction.

It may provide economic benefits as an eternal formwork beneath the suspended in situ concrete floorings while also having a beautiful aesthetic.

GRFC can give a ready-made molded edge in balcony slab creation, easing construction.

Insulated GRFC edge formwork on the ground-level concrete slab can help prevent heat loss from construction in cold areas.

Similarly, insulated GRFC base courses and cell units can be used in in-wall construction to improve overall wall insulation efficiency.

GRFC in a modular structure:

Glass fiber reinforced concrete panels are lightweight and easy to install, yet they are also resistant to damage.

The GFRC is strong enough that you can create compact modular buildings without heavy structural frames even in thin-skin construction.

When necessary, GRFC walls can feature thermal insulation, and the absence of metal reinforcement can be helpful in electrical or telecommunications applications.

GRFC’s vast selection of aesthetics, natural finishes, and creative freedom enables possibilities to meet every architectural demand.

Water and Drainage GRFC:

The surfaces of GRFC units will be packed smoothly, reducing resistance to water movement.

Bridge and tunnel GRFC:

Lightweight, long-lasting GFRC components are frequently employed on the earth of bridges and tunnels.

The GRFC parapet panel should provide aesthetically pleasing architectural aspects without imposing excessive weights on the structure.

The GRFC panel will be constructed with slim pieces, implying that the tunnel’s open space will be minimized for encroachment.

Final Words:

Glass fiber-reinforced concrete (GFRC) is very useful to use as architectural concrete. Exterior building façade panels and architectural precast concrete are the primary applications for fiber concerts. If you are a designer, architect, or house owner wanting to specify precast concrete for your next project’s worktops, sinks, wall panels, or floor tile, we can show you how GRFC will benefit and be the best choice for your project.

 

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Thomas P
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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