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The economic use of advanced polymer composites with concrete in structures


Objectives and content

COMPCON's objective is to demonstrate how advanced polymer composite materials (APCs) could be used in combination with concrete to produce economic, efficient and durable components for new construction. The concept is to use a combination of concrete and lightweight, high strength APCs to form a "composite beam", as an example of one possible structural element. Concrete will be used in the compressive zone and APCs in the tensile and neutral zones. In addition, the composite material will be extended into the compression zone of the beam to form permanent formwork for the concrete. In comparison with traditional methods, the weight and durability of a composite beam has great potential in long span applications, such as stadia and bridges, and in coastal/marine structures where corrosion is a common problem. The project partners represent a powerful combination of organisations. They comprise the end user of this technology (the construction industry), an advanced composite manufacturer whose technological developments have made their material practicable for adoption in construction, and a University whose work in this field shows the initial promise of the concept. COMPCON's approach is to overcome the barriers to the transfer of this technology to the construction industry.

This will be achieved through the following technical investigations: specification development and testing of material properties and interface developments, design development, structural testing, fire resistance evaluation, construction methods, economic assessment, quality assurance, and dissemination.

The project will produce two main innovations:
- a technique for developing adequate, long-term bond strength between concrete and polymer composites when casting concrete against cured APCs;
a process for fabricating large, high quality polymer composite sections under construction site conditions. Whilst the risks associated with this project are rated medium-to-high (especially the high cost of composite materials), the potential benefits are great.

These include:
- reduced weight of elements, leading to easier handling and a reduction in foundation requirements;
- greater freedom in the shape of beams, and the ease with which non-standard shapes can be realised;
- lower life cycle costs due to the inherent durability of APCs BE97-4778.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Taylor Woodrow Construction Ltd
345,Taywood House 345 Ruislip Road
UB1 2QX Southall
United Kingdom

Participants (5)

Hollandse Beton Groep NV
3870 CB Hoevelaken
5,Schoenmakerstraat, 97
2628 VK Delft
The Advanced Composites Group Ltd.
United Kingdom
Heanor Gate Industrial Estate
DE75 7SW Heanor - Derbyshire
University of Surrey
United Kingdom

GU2 5XH Guildford