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    Carbon Fiber use in Construction

    What is Carbon Fiber?

    Carbon fiber is a thin, strong crystalline carbon filament. Carbon atoms bind the long molecular strings together and then weave them into cloth. It is possible to coat carbon fiber with resin or plastic and lay it over a mold. It is a polymer made of long, thin strands of carbon atoms bonded together in a crystalline shape. As a result, it’s quite popular with manufacturers, who use it to make permanent shapes by twisting the strands together like yarn.

    Fig 1: Carbon fibre mat as carbon fibre in construction
    Courtesy: Element 6 Composites

    The strength of carbon fiber used in construction is unmatched. Carbon fiber parts have characteristics similar to steel and weight similar to plastic. It has far higher strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios than steel or plastic, making it usable for top structural engineering services. In structural design, where added weight can lead to higher lifespan costs or subpar performance, it is common practice in engineering to evaluate a material’s worth in terms of strength to weight and stiffness to weight ratios. The usage of carbon fiber in construction of buildings and structures is on the rise and may soon become a successful alternative to other building materials.

    What are the Benefits of Carbon Fiber Build in Construction?

     Some of the benefits of carbon fiber in construction are:

    In terms of tensile strength, carbon fibers top the list. Because of its high elastic modulus and fatigue strength, carbon fibers in construction sector are ideal for long-term durability and are used for structural engineering designing services.

    • Electrical conductivity is a property of carbon fibre build. Because of its high conductivity, carbon fibre is prone to galvanic corrosion. The carbon fibre used in construction possesses this property and makes the structure resistant to degradation.
    • The shear and flexural capacities of beams and slabs, as well as the confinement within columns, can be improved using FRP laminate bonding. This does not add substantial dead weight to the structure and can be installed in a short amount of time.
    • As an added bonus, the flexural strength of slabs and decks in the negative moment regions can be improved with this technology, which eliminates the need for additional protective covers that could impede the installation of floor finishes.
    • Firefighters’ protective gear can integrate carbon fiber, depending on the assembly process and the predecessor material, which might be highly delicate.
    • Carbon fiber can be used in the construction where fire and other destructive agents are present because it is synthetically extremely inert. A carbon fiber blanket is used as a safety net when welding.

    How are Carbon Fibers used in Construction? 

    Some of the forms that facilitate the use of carbon fibers in construction are:

    • Carbon Fiber Reinforced Concrete 

    CFCC (carbon fiber cement concrete) was created in Japan and bore no resemblance to regular cement. It generally contains between 3% and 15% by volume of chopped and short carbon fiber pieces. CFRC (carbon fiber reinforced concrete) in Japan uses three forms of carbon fiber build: pitch-based, polyacrylonitrile-based, and Mitsui Mining. It can be used to substitute asbestos in fiber-cement without causing any inhalation issues.

    • Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) Rods

    CFRP rods can withstand a tensile strength of 2500 MPa, although it has a density of only 1600 kg/m3, which is only 20.4% of steel’s density. Canadian and American codes have implemented it in design, but to have its use widespread, it needs more research on tensile strength retention, interlaminar shear strength retention, transverse shear strength retention, etc.

    • CFRP Grids

    As a shear grid, carbon fiber used in construction can join wall panels’ inner and outer concrete surfaces, resulting in a structurally complex but thermally efficient unit. The double tee slab is reinforced with a carbon fiber grid instead of the traditional steel mesh. Carbon fiber grids in the slabs protect the wall panels from chemicals while reducing the slab’s overall weight.

    • CFRP Panels 

    Carbon fiber build can be utilized as a mechanical link between the outer and inner parts to replace the steel mesh reinforcement in panel faces. The non-corrosive carbon fiber grid supports the face of the wall panel, reducing the amount of concrete required. Because the less raw material is used, the finished product is lighter. The wall panel will weigh approximately 40% less with a carbon fiber grid reinforcement than a typical precast panel.

    Conclusion

    Repairing and rehabilitating old structures have become a major focus of current construction trends. In most cases, strengthening is required when a structure is subject to change of use or degradation of the design/construction of the structure. In such cases, using carbon fibers in construction has proved fruitful in the long run. Home renovation and improvement service companies are implementing it for the benefits mentioned above, including top structural design companies such as Telcom.

    References

    Netula, Dr. (2017). Carbon Fibre as a Construction Material. “Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research (IJIR).

    • “Carbon Fibres: Production, Properties, and Potential Use – Material Science Research India.” Carbon Fibres: Production, Properties and Potential Use – Material Science Research India, www.materialsciencejournal.org, 25 June 2017, https://www.materialsciencejournal.org/vol14no1/carbon-fibres-production-properties-and-potential-use/.
    • “Carbon Fiber: A Composite Building Material Stronger Than Steel.” Carbon Fiber: A Composite Building Material Stronger Than Steel, redshift.autodesk.com, 10 Dec. 2021, https://redshift.autodesk.com/articles/carbon-fiber-building.
    • “Carbon Fibre.” Carbon Fibre – Designing Buildings, www.designingbuildings.co.uk, https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Carbon_fibre. Accessed 19 June 2022.
    • “Use of Carbon Fiber in Construction Industry | 3MB Co., Ltd.” Use of Carbon Fiber in Construction Industry | 3MB Co., Ltd., www.3mb.asia, http://www.3mb.asia/use-of-carbon-in-construction/. Accessed 19 June 2022.

    Ltd., Tencom. “Making the Case for Using Carbon Fiber In Construction.” Making the Case for Using Carbon Fiber In Construction, www.tencom.com, https://www.tencom.com/blog/making-the-case-for-using-carbon-fiber-in-construction. Accessed 19 June 2022.

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