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More with less: the rise of composites in building and infrastructure

In the quest for sustainable solutions in construction, composites are emerging as a frontrunner, offering remarkable functionality with minimal environmental impact. The recent JEC Summit Building and Infrastructure provided a platform to delve into the transformative role of composites in large-scale structures. Stella Job, Grazebrook Innovation, explored the key insights gleaned from the event, here is a summary of the article.

More with less: the rise of composites in building and infrastructure
READING TIME

2 minutes, 40 secondes

More functionality with less impact 

The versatility of composites lies in their ability to deliver more functionality while minimizing environmental footprint. Despite initial regulatory hurdles, the adoption of composites in construction is on the rise. Experts at the summit highlighted the remarkable properties of composites, such as their high strength-to-weight ratio and durability. Case studies, including insights from Steven Hale of the NEOM project, underscored the sustainability benefits and cost-effectiveness of incorporating composites into construction practices. 

Sustainable procurement 

Composites offer a sustainable procurement solution, with their lightweight nature and durability enabling reduced weight in structures and facilitating reuse. Industry experts emphasized the importance of integrating composite expertise into procurement strategies. Tools like the EuCIA EcoCalculator are becoming increasingly vital in assessing the sustainability metrics of composite materials, guiding procurement decisions towards more environmentally friendly options. 

Standards enable progress 

The strategic development of standards, such as the Eurocode and ACI standards, plays a pivotal role in driving progress in the composite industry. These standards standardize safe design procedures for FRP structures, expanding the market for composite materials. Insights from academia and industry leaders shed light on the significance of these documents in setting benchmarks for composite applications in construction. 

Endless possibilities in design 

Composites offer endless possibilities in architectural design and civil engineering, as demonstrated by various case studies. Projects ranging from lightweight balconies in Vancouver to hurricane-resistant infrastructure in North Carolina showcase the innovative applications of composites in diverse settings. The ability of composites to deliver robust, sustainable solutions is increasingly gaining traction among architects, engineers, and developers. 

Strength through the storm 

Resilient infrastructure solutions are imperative in the face of changing climatic conditions. Composites, with their inherent strength and durability, offer viable solutions for building structures that can withstand extreme weather events. Case studies like the Statue of Liberty Museum and the Harkers Island Bridge Project highlight the effectiveness of composites in enhancing structural resilience and longevity, particularly in harsh environments. 

Smart cities 

In the realm of urban development, composites are paving the way for inclusive and sustainable cities. Urban infrastructure applications, such as those proposed by Solutions Composites, aim to reduce corrosion, enable cycleways, and harness solar power. The NEOM project exemplifies this vision, showcasing sustainable construction practices and innovative city planning strategies that prioritize environmental conservation and community well-being. 

Thoughts from the delegates 

Feedback from delegates underscores the enthusiasm and appreciation for the transformative potential of composites in construction. From admiration for visionary projects like NEOM to recognition of the practical demonstrations of composite potential in projects like the Harkers Island Bridge, delegates emphasized the importance of collaboration, top-down engagement, and standardization in driving the adoption of composite materials. 

In conclusion, the JEC Summit Building and Infrastructure provided valuable insights into the growing significance of composites in reshaping the future of construction and infrastructure development. With sustainability at the forefront, composites offer a compelling solution to meet the evolving needs of the built environment, fostering innovation, resilience, and environmental stewardship. 

Stella Job, Grazebrook Innovation

More information www.jeccomposites.tv/events/JEC-Summit-Building-Infrastructure