Special Feature - Composite construction and infrastructure applications continue to grow in Asia
The use of composites – especially Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composites – in the construction industry is growing rapidly. Their combined benefits of high strength, low weight, durability and design flexibility are being recognized and utilized to address design limitations and create innovative new constructions.

In addition, composites can support builders seeking to improve the sustainability of their constructions, thanks to the durability, low weight and insulating properties of composites, as well as the potential to incorporate bio-material and recycled content. This trend is driving composite fabricators to respond with more sustainable products that can reduce lifecycle environmental and cost impacts.

 

Construction applications in Asia

The Edotco Group recently successfully installed the first carbon fiber-based tower built in Asia, in Taman Tasik Prima, Malaysia. According to CEO Suresh Sidhu, carbon fiber is particularly suited for rooftop deployment where load is a concern. “Carbon fiber structures provide a solution that addresses the requirements and concerns of the telecommunications eco-system from mobile network operators, governments, regulators, landlords, end-users and communities.”

The company cites a number of reasons for using carbon fiber. It is 70 percent lighter than conventional steel structures, reducing foundation requirements by half while providing high strength to weight ratio. Carbon fiber is also very rigid and has a tensile strength 10 times higher than steel, allowing the tower to offer superior load bearing and better withstand harsher forces of nature, including turbulent wind. In addition to high durability, it is also highly corrosion-resistant, which reduces maintenance costs over the lifespan of the structure. In addition, the company reported that using carbon fiber helped reduce installation time by 40-50 percent.

 

In the new Shanghai Disneyland resort “Tomorrowland”, specialist composites fabricator E-Grow used a unique, patented wax mold process to produce extensive sections of interior and exterior buildings and rides, outdoor dining furniture and exterior cladding on the concourse and surrounding facilities. The parts are constructed from fire retardant (FR) gel-coated FRP composite in several hundred different shapes and sizes. The wax mold process allowed very large custom-shaped FRP parts to be produced with very little waste at highly competitive prices.

 

The Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore is a 200-room hotel in Laguna National Golf and Country Club. Organically shaped, the building is futuristic in appearance, almost resembling a space port. It takes its inspiration from the undulating dunes of a golf course. In doing so, it aims to be less intrusive amidst the beautiful landscape. Its most striking feature is the roof, made of a composite material that allows it to bend in multiple directions. It is designed by Mercurio Design Lab (MDL), an architectural design studio based in Rome and a member of the AMA Group.

 

East Asia Composites (EAC), headquartered in Guangdong, China recently rose to a customer challenge to incorporate a natural fiber into structural composite panels for an architectural roofing project in the Philippines. The team decided to use an organic textile sourced from the Philippines as the solution. When incorporated into composite panels, the fiber produces an impressive organic and textured appearance. The end result was a translucent panel with a natural material appearance that blended in excellently with the lush habitat surrounding the project site. This innovative organic fiber panel system can be used in structural or non-structural applications in internal and external environments. The system has been through a range of tests including UV and strength testing to satisfy building code requirements.

 

In Nomi, Japan, the three-storey workspace, exhibition area and research facility of Japanese fabrics manufacture Komatsu Seiren has been protected with a carbon fiber curtain. The carbon fiber strands are made up of a thermoplastic carbon fiber composite called CABKOMA Strand Rod. The product is considered the lightest seismic reinforcement in the world. The carbon fiber material creates a light and very strong rope-like rod that is said to be ten times stronger than iron. Using computer technology, the position of the carbon rods was calculated to respond to the seismic force and motion generated from north to south, and east to west. This lightweight carbon fiber composite has also been used on the inside of the building, which features white draped fabrics that replicate the exterior. The green roof is topped with a porous spongy ceramic panel made using the waste material generated from carbon fiber production.

 

Written by Denzil Walton

Denzil Walton is a technical copywriter, editor and conference reporter. He has over 30 years’ experience writing on a variety of industrial and high-tech topics.

 

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