Award for construction and infrastructure: Bendable thermoplastic composite reinforcements for concrete from Arkema (Colombes, France) and partners National Cooperative Highway Research Program, Sireg and the University of Miami.
Arkema and Sireg (Arcore, Italy) collaborated in the development and manufacture of composite reinforcement bars, or rebars, for concrete as well as cables in pre-stressed concrete applications using Arkema’s Elium thermoplastic resin instead of conventional thermosetting solutions.
Composite rebars and cables do not rust or corrode, are relatively insensitive to snow‐clearance salts and chemicals used for de‐icing, and have a desirable weight-to-strength ratio. These properties make the products an economically viable and more effective alternative to epoxy‐coated steel rebars when life-cycle costs are taken into consideration, according to the companies.
Composite reinforcement also allows the use of seawater instead of fresh water and the deployment of aggregates contaminated with salt in concrete mixing. The implications are significant for coastal or arid areas of the world where fresh water is scarce.
Unlike most thermoplastic resins, Elium can be easily processed through traditional pultrusion using standard equipment, said Arkema.
Elium‐based rebars and cables can be re‐heated and easily shaped or bent, reducing the cost of supplying rebars with custom shapes.
The use of composite materials for concrete pre-stressing is a major innovation, according to the companies, advancing the durability of concrete to a level not seen since its invention in the 1930s by Eugène Freyssinet.