Fibre-Reinforced Polymer Vs. Steel: Which Makes Better Infrastructure?

Material selection is a crucial aspect of construction. The type of resources used will make or break your next project, so ensure you do careful research before purchasing materials.

Lately, you may have encountered Infracore®Inside fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP). FRPs are a powerful composite made by mixing a polymer matrix with fibreglass. This results in a material with high strength, durability, and sustainable properties.

But how does FRP compare against steel? This article will discuss FRP and steel to help you decide which is better for building boardwalks and other structures.

Going Traditional: Steel

For decades, steel has been proven to be a sturdy and versatile material for almost any construction project. The natural strength of steel makes any structure capable of handling heavy loads.

However, steel is vulnerable to several external factors. While the material is known for its sturdiness, steel can easily surrender to harsh environments and impacts.

Perhaps the number one problem with steel is its susceptibility to rust. As with many metals, steel structures can develop rust when exposed to moisture, resulting in lowered integrity. The same goes when steel is met with chemicals and high heat.

Steel can also bend and permanently deform when met with a high-impact force.

Steel also has a lower strength-to-weight ratio, which means that while it is durable, it can be too heavy. This makes transportation and installation difficult, leading to higher construction costs.

Making Upgrades: FRP

There are many good reasons why fibre-reinforced polymers are becoming increasingly popular in construction. These composites possess an incredible combination of lightness, durability, strength, resistance, aesthetic appeal, and sustainability.

FRP combines polymer matrices (usually recycled plastics from other industries) with fibreglass. This results in a highly durable material with little vulnerabilities. They are fire-retardant, corrosion-resistant, and non-conductive, making them ideal for harsh environments.

FRP composites are also popular for their high strength-to-weight ratio. Despite its fortress-like durability and increased load capacity, FRPs are incredibly lightweight. This allows for ease of transportation and installation.

Additionally, FRP materials can be recycled to create more FRPs, fulfilling sustainable goals. They also come in various shapes and colours to give visual appeal.

The Verdict

It is without a doubt that FRP composites come on top when compared against steel. The combined qualities of FRP can help you create fantastic structures with minimal expenses in both the short and long term. If you plan to use FRP in your next project, we recommend sourcing materials from Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (SIS).

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