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Materials News

Standing up to the rigours of time Infrastructure around the world is being given an injection of innovation with fibre-reinforced (FRP) concrete precast panels allowing India to speed up its construction sector; the first modular GFRP bridge in the UK presenting a lightweight alternative and Hobbit-like homes as well as homes made from plastic waste for an eco-friendly living style. India to adopt speed building with prefab panels The precast/prefabricated building and construction market is mostly driven by the upward surge in the demand for new constructions due to rapid urbanisation and industrialisation; and increased investment in infrastructural development in emerging markets. The eco-friendly characteristic of precast/prefabricated construction components and techniques has helped its acceptance and penetration in the global market, with more innovations in designs and technological advancements over the last decade. The global market is projected to reach US$209 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 6.5% between 2015 and 2020, according to research firm Markets & Markets. Meanwhile, one country in dire need of more housing is India, with current demand at nearly 27 million units, according to the Urban Development and Housing Ministry. While precast technology has long been used in parts of Asia, Middle East and Europe, it is in its infant stage in India. Still very much a brick and mortar industry, India’s building sector is heavily dependent on manual labour and on-site construction, which leads to large amount of material wastage, inefficiency and delays. Now, Chennaibased CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Centre (CSIR-SERC), one of the national laboratories under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), has developed textile-reinforced concrete (TRC) panels for the construction of structures. While reinforced concrete is one of the most widely used building materials in the construction One of the first uses for CSIR’s panels will be for toilets



industry globally, a major disadvantage is that its steel reinforcement is prone to corrosion. Using the patented textile-reinforced concrete prototyping technology (TRCPT), an all-in-one precast technology to produce various TRC products, prototype TRC sheets can be produced in various shapes and forms. These can be custom-made by appropriately choosing the cement matrix and textile combinations, allowing for flexibility in applications. TRCPT completely replaces the conventional way of concrete construction that requires moulds and can be used at sites as well as in precast plants. Materials like glass, carbon, aramid, polypropylene, jute and coir can be used as a textile mesh for reinforcement, replacing conventional iron and steel rods. Another significant characteristic of TRC is its enhanced environmental performance, as it requires approximately 60% less concrete than steel-reinforced concrete. An upgraded technology of TRCPT, known as massscale textile-reinforced concrete prototyping (MASSTRCPT), has also been developed at CSIR-SERC for mass scale production of precast TRC products that are ready to use. Using MASS-TRCPT technology, CSIR-SERC has developed precast TRC panels for wall, floor and roofing applications. Eco-friendly Hobbit-like homes A prefabricated modular building system, with fibrereinforced composite (FRC) structures, may be the answer to eco-friendly and energy-efficient homes. US-based Green Magic Homes’s structures are finished off with soil,

Green Magic Homes’s earth-covered homes are made from FRP panels

PRA magazine September 2017 Digital Edition  
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