Think Carbon Fiber is just for lightweight applications reserved for aerospace, auto racing, and small projects? Carbon Fiber is being recognized and used in a different perspective, expanding its use in the concrete repair in the construction industry. Heavy Duty applications with concrete, wall support, bridge pillars, and home foundations have been reinforced or repaired using carbon fiber and epoxy mixtures, changing the way the world thinks about Carbon Fiber and its versatile properties.
The first question many have may be how and why? We’d like to take some time to explain a little about Carbon’s properties and why this application is growing all over the world. We will also dive into some DIY instructions and best practices of applying this method to your next home project.
Carbon Fiber is renowned for its strength characteristics. But CF’s high modulus paired with its strength that sets CF apart from any other material on this earth. Simply, Carbon Fiber is stiff AND strong, making it an ideal material for construction uses where one might not want any bending or movement. Pairing CF with a top performing epoxy resin system makes for a highly rigid material suitable for secondary bonding on construction applications. Carbon Fiber’s applicable advantage over other methods is having a very low profile when layered on top of an existing structure. Basically, it is no burden on a building’s existing design requirements / constraints all while providing reinforcement that is invisible after being worked and painted over. Repairs may be applied as a traditional type layup or with pre-made plates. In addition, CF paired in with an engineered epoxy system formulated to be highly chemical resistant, adding a layer of protection against elements that would otherwise continue to degrade a building’s structure. Using CF Fabrics with epoxy is very easy to work with and is also easy to work with, making it a more viable solution than traditional means of concrete and structural repair.
Cost is (obviously) a major factor in any industry. While slapping Carbon Fiber fabrics on a large structure may not be the cheapest solution on the surface, rebuilding an entire structure isn’t exactly a cheap option either. There are many reasons why a building structure can deteriorate. It is easy to point to design errors, but environmental factors are a leading cause in building structure degradation. Seemingly the earth is always changing and buildings simply age. Often buildings are used differently than they were initially intended when built. For that reason, Carbon Fiber & Epoxy systems offer a cost-effective solution like no other. Its versatility in application is seemingly endless and most of the repairs completed are done in a fraction of the time in which (older) traditional repair methods could be used. This is because the need for large tools or equipment are not needed. Most of these types of repairs can be completed with simple hand tools. Although, some applications may require a scissor lift or other man lifting device for certain applications as means of getting to the repair area.
Are we saying that new construction practices are making complete housing structures from carbon fiber or that we might soon see a CF skyscraper? Probably Not. However, CF and epoxy resin systems have been proven to provide additional strength to construction applications and provide a means to repair structural damage in slabs, wall strengthening, columns, and beams. Uses are not limited to just basements & buildings, it extends into the Oil & Gas industry, water systems & infrastructure, and even into transportation.