More than 2 million square meters of
GFRC permanent formwork have been used over the years. The most popular application is in bridge construction. Small (1-2m span) GFRC panels are fitted between precast concrete beams before steel reinforcement and concrete are placed. GFRC permanent formwork panels are not only fast to install, they also provide extra corrosion protection to the steel reinforcement. GFRC carbonates very slowly and has low permeability providing a barrier to the ingress of de-icing salts.
Opportunities to take advantage of GFRC’s inherent durability in the utility industries abound. GFRC provides protection against both man-made and natural environmental hazards.
In the railway industries, GFRC ducts run alongside the lines to protect both electrical and communication cables. Railway engineers internationally appreciate the advantages of lightweight, high-strength units that can be installed many times faster than the traditional concrete equivalents.
GFRC not only offers functional solutions in such applications; it also provides designers with the opportunity to enhance the environment. Many producers offer a wide range of finishes from natural texture to imitation stone.
Bridges and Tunnels
Lightweight, durable GFRC elements are frequently used in the world of bridges and tunnels. GFRC parapet panels are used to provide aesthetically pleasing architectural features without burdening the structure with excessive weight.
GFRC tunnel lining panels are normally noted for their contribution to the architecture of the structure. GFRC panels can be manufactured with thin sections, which means that the encroachment into the open space of the tunnel is minimised.
Water and Drainage
GFRC’s high strength enables products with thin sections to be manufactured. These products are considerably lighter in weight than their counterparts made from normal concretes. Advantages, in addition to the inherent durability of GFRC, are that the products are easy to handle and fast to install. Furthermore, GFRC units can be manufactured with dense smooth surfaces that minimise resistance to water flow.
Product weight is a critical health and safety issue in many countries. Limits on the weights that individual workers can carry often mean that the heavier traditional concrete alternatives are not acceptable. GFRC products can be designed to be as little as one-fifth of the weight of a comparable precast concrete product. A 100kg concrete product requires mechanical lifting; a 10kg GFRC product is a one-man lift.
GFRC has found favour with acoustics engineers worldwide as a primary choice for both internal and external acoustic barriers and screens.
GFRC’s high density, smooth surface finish and ability to be easily moulded have been used to advantage in concert halls and other auditoria.
In road and railway construction, GFRC noise barriers, which can either disperse or absorb sound, have provided nearby residents with a better environment.
GFRC not only offers functional solutions in such applications, it also gives designers the opportunity to create interesting features that enhance the aesthetics.