Parametric Design Studies of Mass-Related Global Warming Potential and Construction Costs of FRP-Reinforced Concrete Infrastructure.
Fibre-reinforced polymers (FRPs) are a promising corrosion-resistant alternative to steel reinforcement. FRPs are, however, generally costly and have a high energy demand during production. The question arises whether the high performance of FRPs and possible savings in concrete mass can counterbalance initial costs and environmental impact. In this paper, a parametric design study that considers a broad range of concrete infrastructure, namely a rail platform barrier, a retaining wall and a bridge, is conducted to assess the mass-related global warming potential and material costs. Design equations are parametrised to derive optimum reinforced concrete cross-sectional designs that fulfil the stated requirements for the serviceability limit state and ultimate limit state. Conventional steel reinforcement, glass and carbon FRP reinforcement options are evaluated. It is observed that the cross-sectional design has a significant influence on the environmental impact and cost, with local extrema for both categories determinable when the respective values become a minimum. When comparing the cradle-to-gate impact of the different materials, the fibre-reinforced polymer-reinforced structures are found to provide roughly equivalent or, in some cases, slightly more sustainable solutions than steel-reinforced structures in terms of the global warming potential, but the material costs are higher. In general, the size of the structure determines the cost competitiveness and sustainability of the FRP-reinforced concrete options with the rail platform barrier application showing the greatest potential.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N017668/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P013848/1)