Composite materials are revolutionizing architecture, since they allow the replacement of traditional materials and provide more options allowing higher design freedom to designers. Durability is one of the key factors in the development of composite materials in the construction sector. The use of biocomposites will allow us to improve the indoor air quality of houses and therefore personal health. It will also increase the thermal and acoustic insulation of houses and control the breathability of construction systems.
Composites are revolutionizing architecture
The plastics market, in general, and the composites market, in particular, is on the rise, with good growth prospects in the immediate future, and more importantly, in the long term. The possibilities that composites offer in the field of weight reduction, design, ease of assembly and low maintenance, have resulted in their introduction in all spheres of modern life.
Currently, composite materials are revolutionizing architecture. Their application has allowed the replacement of traditional materials and the provision of more options allowing higher design freedom to designers. Among the advantages that plastic materials and composites offer in different applications of the construction sector, we highlight their weight reduction, design, ease of assembly, low maintenance, as well as their better behavior against corrosion. Up to now, composite materials have been used in secondary structures or as supporting structures as domes, but recently, some architects and engineers have developed complex solutions to satisfy creativity in the design of singular buildings and constructions. These applications are possible thanks to the use of plastics and composite materials and their advantages, such as their light weight and ability to obtain complex designs.
Composites of glass fiber-reinforced polymers can be used in different types of infrastructures, such as pedestrian walkways, bridges, reinforcements for bridges and construction of façades. Different processes can be used to produce composite materials adapted to different raw materials, the required product geometry, the properties, the processing time and the cost. The pultrusion process is a continuous manufacturing process of profiles of composite materials, where continuous fibers are used a main reinforcement. Different resin systems can be used with the aim of obtaining the desired final properties. The design flexibility and the possibility of combining different materials are the main advantages of pultrusion. The properties at the structural level of this kind of materials are almost unlimited. In the pultrusion process, fibers are impregnated with a thermosetting resin and introduced in a heated mold, where the curing process takes place. Different combinations of laminates are possible by using reinforcements as roving, mats and fabrics. The final profiles are cut to the required length at the end of the pultrusion line.
This article appeared in the September–October 2018 issue of Reinforced Plastics.