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FRP composites Future opportunities
2012-05-16 09:38:30

It is now feasible to construct much larger buildings from FRP, including complete primary structures. The benefits of considerable weight saving are likely to be even more pronounced on large-span structures and the architectural freedom possible with composites will enable dramatic new forms to be built. It is envisaged that very large span roofs could be built economically in FRP, potentially with clear spans of several hundred metres.
FRP will not generally be economic as a simple direct replacement for conventional materials and must be used in new, innovative ways to produce economic solutions. This will include not only geometrically efficient forms but a change in methodology, for example utilising the high thermal insulation achieved with thick sandwich construction in addition to it providing structural integrity and taking full advantage of off-site construction.


The possible shape of things to come according to SMC Alsop Architects, in which FRP materials could have an important role
Figures 1


The reduction in supporting structure with such large spans will give much greater freedom and flexibility to the use of internal space and will help to future-proof buildings for potential change of use during their lives, enabling them to be used more efficiently. Potential applications could include virtually any use such as schools, offices, retail, industrial, exhibition buildings, sports stadiums etc. Olympic stadiums and associated buildings should be an obvious potential application. Figures 1 show  some innovative designs.


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