Glass fiber reinforced concrete, or GFRC, is one of the most commonly-used materials in construction today. It’s versatile, cost-effective, and best of all, endlessly customizable.
B&W Fiberglass works with builders and manufacturers to supply foundational glass fiber for GFRC. Our product applications range from outdoor fire pits to multistory buildings. The possibilities for GFRC are truly unlimited. Here are five things to know about this revolutionary building material.
- GFRC is incredibly strong.
The most sought-after value-add of GFRC is its strength. When embedded into a concrete matrix, glass fibers act as load-carrying members; concrete itself is inherently strong, so the synergistic combination of the two naturally creates a super-sturdy foundational material. This characteristic is why glass fiber reinforced concrete is so weather-resistant and long-lasting.
- Sandwich panels made of GFRC offer super-strength.
Sandwich panels, composites made of three or more layers, are even stronger than stand-alone GFRC. Sandwich panels offer high tensile strength and strength-to-weight ratios and their load-carrying capacity can be improved even further with the addition to steel framing. GFRC sandwich panels have been used in everything from building exteriors to cable-stayed bridges.
- The type of glass fiber used for GFRP matters.
It took decades for materials engineers to realize that the extremely alkaline environment present in concrete was actually breaking down the glass fibers embedded inside. It wasn’t until the 1970s that alkaline-resistant glass fibers were invented; this development changed the course of GFRC use on a commercial level. GFRC made with anti-alkaline glass is now considered one of the longest-lasting construction materials on the planet.
- Compared to traditional concrete, GFRC is lightweight.
Exceptionally lightweight, in fact. Depending on its makeup, glass fiber reinforced concrete can weigh as much as 75% less than traditional concrete. This makes it a versatile material for use in residential applications and also reduces end-cost. Lighter materials are easier to ship, install, and maintain.
- GFRC can be highly decorative.
When most people think of concrete they don’t think of highly-detailed aesthetic applications. But in fact, GFRC is actually a perfect material for creating small-scale decorative finishes. As a surrogate for plaster, stonework, and millwork, glass fiber reinforced concrete is today used in everything from fireplace surrounds to statues to artificial rockwork.
Want to learn more about the properties of glass fiber reinforced concrete? B&W Fiberglass has been innovating GFRC with the help of engineers, construction specialists, and production partners for decades. We’re happy to talk to your team about the myriad benefits GFRC offers your application.