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Last edited 23 Mar 2021
Glass reinforced concrete
Glass reinforced concrete (GRC), or glass-fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC), is a construction material that is commonly used to form exterior cladding panels. It has grown in popularity with architects and engineers because of its ability to be formed into virtually any size, shape or profile (such as the Heydar Aliyev Center pictured above).
GRC is composed from high-strength, alkali-resistant glass fibres embedded in a concrete matrix. The fibres act as the principal load-carrying component, while the surrounding matrix keeps them in position, and transfers load between the fibres. Both fibres and matrix are capable of retaining their physical and chemical identities, while combining their properties to create a high-performance composite.
GRC is typically manufactured in thin sections, by machine-spraying an enriched ordinary Portland cement and aggregate mix with glass fibres dispersed throughout. These fibres serve a similar purpose to steel rebar in reinforced concrete, but are not susceptible to rust.
GRC panels are often used as a lightweight cladding system, and can be made to look almost identical to natural stone. Installation is easier and more cost-effective due to the lower weight of the panels, which is approximately 80% lighter than pre-cast steel reinforced concrete cladding. This enhances the energy efficiency of GRC , and it is capable of achieving a BREEAM A+ material rating.
Panel moulds can be created to replicate complex profiles. The panels are generally take a ribbed or sandwich form, and offer good durability, fire resistance, weather resistance, and sound insulation properties.
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