Despite leading research and studies, fiberglass rebar markets have seen slow growth. Since first being introduced in the USA in mid-nineties, it gained repute in North America when it was codified in the Canadian highway bridge standards. It started a chain reaction with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials or AASHTO creating and developing specifications for the usage of glass-fiber reinforced polymer. Even the U.S. Department of Transportation gave it thumbs up with its own design guidelines. As a consequence, there are more than 400 applications, namely bridges, with fiber rebars.
With civil engineering research and technological advancements, new approaches have led to the possibilities of manufacturing next generation of fiberglass composite rebars.
Originally developed by engineering professors in the USA, hollow fiberglass rebar is a fairly new product which is soon to be commercialized. It is a hollow, as the name suggests, but continuously reinforced rod that has a supporting sleeve which is bond to the bar to give it extra support. The vinyl ester resin pultrudes the inner sleeve giving it unbeatable durability, stability, and longevity. The outer layering of the composition sleeve extends flexibility to it which can be reinforced with carbon, glass or other fibers. The inside layering sheath helps with management of loads. The carrying of huge loads is an essential factor that makes it unique and reliable which is provided to it with the inner continuous-glass sheath. For increased protection of the hollow bar, reinforced BMC sleeve serves well against installation damage, storage accidents, and rough handling while transporting while giving it resistance against microcracks and moisture attacks. Some of the tensile strength is attributed to the above normal and larger diameter range. In addition, hollow fiberglass rebar is increased in an application, the tensile strength expands and increases per unit. Also, the weight of the product has massive benefits being light and easily movable. As a building material, imagine the relief of workers who would be lifting seventy-five percent less burden as compared to steel. Delivery time of project can even be improved with fast mobilization and lesser efforts in installations.
Even speculated to be considered for use in fiber optics, the conduit for wiring or cabling whereby enabling voice and data transmission. Sensors can be housed in the hollow fiberglass rebar in case of monitoring structural integrity and health. Other possible applications can be climate control. Bridge and ship decks can be protected against freezing in severe temperatures by using heating fluids circulating in the inner layer. The world is eyeing more innovative ways to use this highly effective environmentally friendly creation of current engineering efforts and they may be on to something!
Scientists and companies alike are scrambling at the notable trend of developing fiber-reinforced products due to its mega-advantages. Major companies are reportedly in the race to grab a great portion of a market with their products as the world is becoming aware of the practical applications of this lightweight, strong, and durable material. So, to offset FRP rebar, much work is being conducted to come with a number of items with vast practical usage like thermoplastic tapes, windings, and even reinforced thermoplastics. As the modern world opens up to this revolutionary building material, much can be ascertained about the future and what it holds for fiberglass reinforcement and its infrastructural value.