In this article we'll learn about GFRC; what it is, the science behind it and the fabrication methods used to create concrete products.
Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete is a specialised form of reinforced concrete specifically engineered to outperform traditional concrete and other natural stone materials. Its enhanced strength, durability and reduced weight make it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications and can be produced in a multitude of finishes and in virtually any colour. This innovative and environmentally friendly composite breeds a new realm of possibilities for the architectural and interior design community.
GFRC consists of a mixture of fine sand, cement, polymer, water and alkali-resistant glass fibres. The glass fibres used in GFRC help give this unique compound its strength and act as the principle tensile load carrying member while the polymer and concrete matrix bind the fibres together acting as a load transfer medium between the fibres.
The casting process for GFRC is typically carried out in two key stages, the face coat and the backer mix. Firstly a thin face (without fibers) is sprayed into the molds before the backer mix is packed in by hand. The backer often requires the application of multiple layers in order to achieve the desired thickness. Each of these layers are compacted using specialised rollers in order to orient the fibres into a more two-dimensional configuration. This dramatically boosts the tensile and flexural strength of the concrete. Alkali-resistant glass mesh or scrim, can also be laminated into the concrete matrix for additional strength where necessary.