By Konstantin Gorchakov, General Manager, MRG-Composites
In the first article, we described the main and most common technologies for the production of products made of composite materials. The second article proposed a technology and description of an innovative product for construction in East Africa: FRP-Bars as a replacement for traditional steel rebars.
In this article we will talk about wider applications of composite materials in industrial construction.
As we mentioned in earlier articles, structural elements made of composite materials have become firmly established in international construction experience and have shown themselves as a noteworthy product with excellent performance characteristics. In the modern manufacture of products made of composites for construction, the main application is found in the technology of pultrusion, winding, manual forming and pressing (for a description of the technology, see the article in the December 2018-January 2019 issue).
Next, we consider the most popular applications for different areas of construction.
Since composite materials have high strength characteristics along with a low weight and excellent corrosion resistance, even under aggressively strong chemical environments, the following products are most common
One of the important advantages of this kind of products and designs is their high degree of prefabrication. All products are initially designed according to construction plans and are manufactured with engineering precision. All processing and preparation of components takes place at the enterprise. Therefore, assembly on construction sites requires minimal time and virtually eliminates any errors during the process, which significantly saves the customer’s funds.
More complex technically and with specific properties are products for the chemical industry, including extractive. These products can be:
Due to the excellent chemical resistance, composites are widely used in the chemical industry. With the help of composites, you can achieve high durability and relatively low cost of concrete tanks.
Recently, block-modular construction has been increasingly used in the construction of enterprises. Structure elements can be the profiles made of composite material four times lighter than structural steel. The use of composites significantly reduces the stress on foundations, allowing them to be made less massive and expensive.
In the above cases, the composite material is developed strictly on the basis of the conditions of further exploitation. Both reinforcing agents and binders with the necessary level of resistance to aggressive media are selected.
Another of the most promising areas for the use of composites is road infrastructure. These are widely used as protective structures, and prefabricated pedestrian or communication crossings. For road construction, safety, maintainability and resistance to moisture and ultraviolet rays are important. Since composite materials are painted in mass, even if the surface layer is damaged, there is no loss of appearance. Also for these products corrosion is not terrible and external aesthetics last many years.
The following are the most common uses for composite materials:
Dampers and separation structures
An important element of the road device combining information and passive safety of road users.
Fencing and noise protection structures
Often, the major highways pass through closely located settlements. Such constructions serve not only for sound insulation, but also prevent harmful substances from entering the living area when motor fuels are burning.
The system for collecting and draining water from road is dense. Due to their low weight and the tongue and groove system, they are easily mounted without special equipment and connections.
In residential and densely populated areas, fast-built pedestrian crossings play a particularly important role. On the one hand, they increase the safety of pedestrians, on the other, they increase the traffic flow on highways. At the same time, the relative low cost significantly reduces the burden on the budget.
It is known that products that products made out of polymers are subject to aging caused by solar radiation’. Composites are no exception. Even with the addition of special protective components, the resins in composites are subject to degradation or erosion under the influence of ultraviolet radiation. Therefore the service life of such products is limited to 15-20 years with a gradual loss of strength.
It is important to note that the production of modern composite materials has low energy consumption, and with each year increasing environmental safety. The main chemical components released during production processes have low stability and disintegrate into environmentally-friendly substances almost immediately within a few minutes.
Also, the manufacture of products made of composite materials allows the use of specialists of different skill levels, thereby creating an excellent base for employment and professional growth. There are now quite many technical specialists due to the rapid introduction and widespread use of new technologies in the production and processing of products, leading to more overall technical literacy and personnel development.
Thus, the production and use of composite materials in modern construction and economy meets all modern requirements of a civilized economy: environmental friendliness, efficiency, high technology, economical efficiency, and maximum use of the labour of personnel at different technical levels, which is especially important for rapidly developing countries.
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