What Is Glass Reinforced Concrete? All You Need To Know

If you’re looking for flexibility with your building materials but also a lightweight structure, then glass reinforced concrete is a preferred option for many. While the substance was initially created in the 1940s, it took many decades before the material came into widespread use. Now, you can find this form of concrete in wall cladding, fireplace surrounds and even countertops. So, just what is glass reinforced concrete? Read on for all you need to know. 

Introduction To GRC …

Glass reinforced concrete, abbreviated to GRC, is also known as glass-fibre reinforced concrete or GFRC. It comprises of a concrete matrix that mixes with alkali-resistant strengthened glass fibres. The glass fibres are surrounded by the concrete which keeps them in position, while the fibres themselves work as the load-bearing component. 

With the blend of glass fibres and concrete, the GRC offers the benefit of multiple properties, especially the fact it has both physical and chemical benefits. As a result, the mix is known for its high-performance.

What Is It Used For?

Because of its strength and chemical properties, GRC is a material with a range of uses. It is commonplace in exterior cladding. However, it is not limited to one or two applications because of its flexibility. So much so, it can take the form of almost any shape or size.  

In fact, glass reinforced concrete can be found in architecture such as features, mouldings and landscapes. In buildings, it can be used for modular buildings as well as walls, roofing, foundations and flooring. While in engineering, GRC has uses in bridges, tunnels, water and drainage. 

What Are The Benefits Of Glass Reinforced Concrete?

In comparison to many construction materials, GRC is chosen time and time again because of its unmatched versatility. However, there are many other benefits to its composition, for example, its ability for use in both futuristic and historical applications. Furthermore, it can be painted and coloured. It can also be smooth or have texture or left natural in its white or grey form. 

Another significant benefit is the cost-saving potential. As it can reduce the loading in structures, it is possible to achieve significant savings when it comes to the foundations of a building. What’s more, the glass fibres offer similar benefits to steel reinforced concrete but without the susceptibility to rust. As well as this, GRC is 80% lighter than its steel equivalent, which also improves the energy efficiency rating of the material. 

Other benefits of GRC include;

  • Sound insulation
  • Fire resistance
  • Weather-proof
  • High durability
  • Ability to achieve BREEAM A+ material rating
  • Ideal for reproductions and in renovations. 

Commercial GRC …

Glass reinforced concrete can come in a range of casting options, suitable for a variety of projects. One application is a spray-up option with is a liquid concrete mix which sprays glass fibres. Another option is premix where liquid concrete is poured into moulds. Finally, there is a hybrid cast where a face coat is added to a backer mix. 

If you’d like to find out more about glass reinforced concrete, and whether its right for your project, talk to the team at Maxi.