A bridge built with FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer) rebars made with thermoset resin can function without maintenance costs for 100 years, according to our partners, thanks to its anti corrosion characteristics. Elium® thermoplastic resin can be used in these FRP rebars as well as thermoset resins, but offers a key asset: the thermoplastic nature of this resin allows hot bending of FRP rebars on site at a very competitive cost. A key innovation that experts consider as a milestone in the construction industry. Explanations.
By making it possible to bend composite reinforcements at distributors' or manufactuers' facilities, Elium® resin opens up decisive prospects for the industry.
RESEARCH AREA: construction materials (advanced composites and concrete), structural performance and industrial applications, including their inspection and renewal, with a focus on the sustainability of buildings
and civil infrastructures
"We are at the tipping point for rolling out fiber-reinforced polymer reinforcements for concrete. Construction professionals need a solution to the problem of corrosion in steel reinforcements. The composites industry has the opportunity to contribute its power of innovation and technological design. But to succeed, it needs to demonstrate the performance of these new types of reinforcements and show that their production can be scalable and competitive.
Using thermoplastic composite reinforcements as a viable alternative to steel reinforcements is an obvious choice in aggressive environments such coastal areas or when used with aggregates with high salt content and significant changes in temperature. Weather conditions can speed up the deterioration of concrete. But we need to be able to supply and manufacture this new generation of more resistant, effective and durable reinforcements efficiently for it to stand a chance of being adopted.
My role as a professional and independent researcher at the University of Miami is to help Arkema to identify the opportunities and constraints of these technologies, as well as testing, optimizing and validating its products,and contributing to the development of market standards. I am involved in the technical committees of a number of US and international organizations developing specifications for materials, test protocols, design guidelines and codes. Guidelines and specifications currently concern composite reinforcements using epoxy resin or vinyl ester, but we are thinking about including other materials such as Elium® resin, on the basis of their performance.” ■
I firmly believe that we have managed to present a concept that will overcome any remaining reservations: a technology comprising a bending procedure at a competitive cost and delivering high-performance thermoplastic composite reinforcements.
“From the outset, Arkema has demonstrated considerable interest in the technology developed by our high-tech start-up. In general, we focus on the production of semi- finished products for the construction sector, such as fiber-strengthened thermoplastic rods, tubes and strips. This includes fiberglass thermoplastic composite reinforcements, for which we are developing a bending technology. Our aim is to share our expertise to help companies that want to develop bendable reinforcements or make their reinforcements more flexible.
In this regard, Elium® resin opens up a number of possibilities: its mechanical properties are equivalent to those of epoxy resin, but it is unique in terms of additivation. Its highly fluid nature means that a variety of particles can be added and will be uniformly distributed in the finished product, the properties of which can be changed easily. It can be bent, welded, injected into a mold and melted, among other options. I think that all these advantages counterbalance a potentially higher cost than that of other thermoset resins.
I firmly believe that we have managed to present a concept that will overcome any remaining reservations: a technology comprising a bending procedure at a competitive cost and delivering high-performance thermoplastic composite reinforcements. Arkema is working with us on developing this concept, which we intend to present in July 2021.” ■