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Last edited 21 Feb 2021
Natural fibre reinforced polymers (NFRPs) in the construction industry IP 14 14
Natural fibre reinforced polymers (NFRPs) in the construction industry (IP 14/14) was written by Julie Bregulla and published by BRE on 10 November 2014. BRE (Building Research Establishment) is an independent, research-based consultancy, testing and training organisation, operating in the built environment and associated industries.
In FRP composites a polymer resin (a matrix) is reinforced with fibres. The most commonly-used fibres are glass and carbon, the most commonly-used resin is thermoset epoxy or polyester-based. The fibres are combined in the matrix to a homogeneous material, which transfers the stresses in the composition.
Applications include electrical fittings, roofing, flashing, cladding and decking, canopies, windows and doors. FRPs are also used in structural applications such as beams and local reinforcement. Due to their light weight, FRPs can contribute to savings in transportation. They can also be moulded into complex shapes, giving new design possibilities, and they offer a combination of properties not available in traditional materials.
However, increasingly Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymers are being replaced with Natural Fibre Reinforced Polymers (NFRPs), a potential lower impact alternative. Until recently GRPs have been more economically viable than NFRPs; however, with an increasing emphasis on low embodied impacts, natural fibres have become a realistic alternative.
This 8-page information paper reviews the potential for fibre reinforced composites in construction materials, including natural fibres, such as hemp and flax. It discusses their specific benefits and the factors that affect their utilisation.
Its contents are:
- Material selection.
- Further reading.
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