19 January 2024

This is Part 1 of a five-part series.

Borna Hajimiragha, CEO of MSD Rebar, Inc., delivered a presentation at the American Concrete Institute 2023 concrete convention on the topic of the growing prominence of Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) as the material of choice in the construction industry. Focused on the theme ‘Why GFRP is becoming the material of choice: from code to field,’ Hajimiragha highlighted the critical challenges posed by corrosion and the transformative impact of GFRP on addressing these issues.

He underscored the industry’s challenges, identifying lumber and the wood industry as a significant threat (in the US). He emphasised the ongoing debate about concrete’s durability and eco-friendliness, praising ACI’s efforts to confront these issues head-on.

Hajimiragha delved into the financial implications of corrosion, citing estimates of USD52 billion in Canada and approximately a trillion dollars in the US. To drive the point home, he showcased vivid examples of corrosion in everyday structures like parking garages, sidewalks, and exterior walls, emphasising the pervasive impact on taxpayers who bear the burden of repairs.

GFRP as the solution

He argues for GFRP as a revolutionary solution to combat corrosion. Highlighting one project in Ohio, where the switch from epoxy-coated rebar to GFRP resulted in significant cost savings and improved installation efficiency, he presented GFRP as a viable alternative to traditional materials.

Challenging the misconception that concrete itself deteriorates over time, Hajimiragha provided a historical perspective by referencing the enduring Roman bridge constructed in the sixth century. Contrasting this with modern structures facing corrosion issues due to the introduction of steel rebar, he illustrated how GFRP could prevent the onset of this ‘cancer’ within concrete, ensuring its longevity.

The presentation showcased the evolution of industry standards to incorporate and encourage the use of GFRP. Enumerating the benefits, he emphasised corrosion resistance, durability, and ease of installation as key advantages that make GFRP an increasingly preferred choice. GFRP’s effectiveness in various applications underscores the material’s positive impact on reducing the environmental footprint and contributing to greener construction practices.

Hajimiragha encouraged the audience to embrace the change for a corrosion-free future, emphasising the collaborative effort needed to propel the industry towards sustainable and durable construction practices.

Continued in Part 2…

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