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Alkali-resistant glass fibres can be used to produce thin-walled, lightweight and fire-resistant concrete panels while promoting sustainability by increasing the durability of concrete structures.
(Published on September 2008 – JEC Magazine #43)
Mlthough developed and introduced to the market more than 10 years ago, alkaliresistant (AR) Cem-FIL® rovings, from Owens Corning, have recently enabled the Austrian pre-fabricated concrete manufacturer Rieder Smart Elements GmbH to design and manufacture an innovative, game-changing composite material for architectural and marine applications.
Rieder Smart Elements GmbH has been manufacturing pre-fabricated concrete components for almost fifty years and although glass-reinforced concrete (GRC) has existed for over thirty years, the company only began its own research into GRC products in 2002. Three years later, it had developed and added a revolutionary material – fibreC® – to its existing range of products.
The fibreC product is a glass fibrereinforced concrete panel combining the advantages of concrete and Cem- FIL alkali-resistant glass fibres, making it as solid, flexible and durable as concrete. It is also thin-walled, lightweight and exhibits increased fire resistance. This allows the building or renovation of façades with the perfect reproduction of complex details and fine texture, as well as the moulding of elaborate shapes such as those for urban furniture.
Cem-FIL® rovings have a long successful history as highperformance materials that enhance the lifespan of applications in the marine industry and are at the heart of glass-reinforced concrete (GRC) technology. With a 5% addition of alkali-resistant (AR) fibres, it is possible to obtain a very light, extremely thin composite material that can be moulded into any shape.
A superior alternative
AR glass fibres are a unique range of products designed for the reinforcement of concrete and cement. They represent a superior alternative to materials traditionally used such as polypropylene fibres and steel fibres.
With a tensile strength that is 3-4 times higher than that of steel and a modulus that is 10 times higher than that of polypropylene, AR glass fibres provide better physical and mechanical performance, with flexibility that allows for thinner wall sections and thus completely new possibilities for shaping concrete.
AR glass has the same density as cement and therefore it does not float or sink, providing for excellent dispersion in the matrix. Moreover, it does not corrode and is fire resistant, as well as resistant to the acids and alkalis present in concrete. AR glass also resists degradation by UV light and temperature variations, making it suitable for outdoor applications in all environments.