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Composites in Architecture : Creative Applications For FRP Use

During the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX) held on April 2020, one topic that was presented was ““Composites for Modern Architecture.” It was discussed by Dr. Samir Aljishi, president of BFG Architecture, an architectural firm based in Bahrain whose projects span from the Middle East to Southeast Asia to Europe.


The presentation featured the use of fiber glass reinforced plastic (FRP) for improving building aesthetics. Many of the featured examples were new. One of FRP’s strong points is the mass reduction of materials of at least 70%-75% versus construction steel or steel-reinforced concrete respectively. This means that the downward force on a foundation is significantly reduced. An example can be seen for a 26-meter diameter dome in Bahrain which weighed only 30 tons against 150 tons if the original stone-clad design was used.


Durability is another massly cited advantage of composites, wherein structures in the Middle East have existed for over 30 years without the need for maintenance even in a hot, desert environment with high UV exposure. Lastly, composites offer the ability to replicate the look and feel of traditional materials such as brick, stone wood, concrete, stainless steel, chrome and even gold. This can be seen when composites are used to look like steel in airplanes or cars by just applying a layer of paint. It is an advantage that no other class of materials possess.


As Dale Brosius from the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) explained, one of his clients purchased a UV-resistant polyester bulk molding compound (BMC) for compression molded wall claddings in his molding compound plant in France during the 1990s. These were built to enhance the exterior appearances and energy efficiency of many Eastern European buildings. The project resulted in small, rectangular parts and was different from the exceptionally large-scale components shown by Dr. Aljishi.


Most of the advantages we promote for applications in automotive and aerospace apply equally for architecture. One of FRP’s strong points is the mass reduction of materials of at least 70%-75% versus construction steel or steel-reinforced concrete respectively. This means that the downward force on a foundation is significantly reduced. An example can be seen for a 26-meter diameter dome in Bahrain which weighed only 30 tons against 150 tons if the original stone-clad design was used. Durability is another massly cited advantage of composites, wherein structures in the Middle East have existed for over 30 years without the need for maintenance even in a hot, desert environment with high UV exposure. Lastly, composites offer the ability to replicate the look and feel of traditional materials such as brick, stone wood, concrete, stainless steel, chrome and even gold. This can be seen when composites are used to look like steel in airplanes or cars by just applying a layer of paint. It is an advantage that no other class of materials possess.


Stoneworks Specialist International Corporation have been committed for more than two decades to this craft in order to be able to give its clients the full benefits of composites - Cost, Durability and Ability to replicate other materials. If you are interested to know more on how composites can work best with your project, give us a call at (02) 8664 8370 or email stoneworksspecialist.ic@gmail.com.






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