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Advances in Concrete Reinforcement: Composite Rebars

Internationally-recognized experts provide- civil and composite engineers with workshop on the use of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials in infrastructure.

The University of Miami College of Engineering’s (UMCoE) Center for Integration of Composites into Infrastructure (UM-CICI) in a continued partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC CRSNG), Canada’s federal funding agency for university-based research, to provide an “Advance in Concrete Reinforcement” workshop at the 2nd International Workshop on Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) Bars for Concrete Structures in Orlando.

The workshop defined a path to broadly implement FRP bar for safe, economical and resilient concrete structures. Non-corrosive FRP rebars are an effective alternative to steel reinforced concrete, with a market estimated at $600M in 2017. The use of FRP bars has gained considerable worldwide interest and growing acceptance in the construction industry, as internal reinforcement to concrete structures, particularly in highly aggressive environments where corrosion of traditional steel reinforcing bar is a major problem. The workshop covered recent research and new applications; codes, standards and specifications; use of FRP bars; customizing and design considerations and case studies. Participants from around the world attended and included infrastructure owners, manufactures, installers, distributors, engineers, architects and state officials.

Internationally-renowned leaders on the use of composite materials in construction, UMCoE Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department Chair Antonio Nanni; Steven Nolan, structures design engineering with FDOT; and Brahim Benmokrane, director of University of Sherbrooke (Sherbrooke, Canada) Research Center on FRP Composite Materials kicked off the workshop, explained corrosion resistance was the main motive and attraction for the choice of FRP over steel bars in public infrastructure such as roads, bridges and parking garages. They also addressed concerns about the durability of GFRP bars – including moisture uptake, elevated temperature, stress corrosion, creep, fatigue, fire ratings, adhesive bonding and UV resistance – by sharing the results of accelerated aging tests.

In addition, the workshop included several discussion and brainstorming sessions under the leadership of Francisco De Caso, associate scientist and manager of the UMCoE Structures and Materials Laboratory, and with the participation of numerous staff members and graduate students whom steered the discussions with workshop participants. These sessions provided insightful ideas and are an integral

part to the whitepaper, which will be the outcome of the workshop and will define a path to broadly implement FRP bars for safe, economical and resilient concrete structures.

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