Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) is a relatively new material however its numerous advantages have made it a very popular one. It’s market penetration as concrete reinforcement is increasing by about 20% per year worldwide. Recently design codes have been released throughout the world and the fiberglass re-bar market is growing rapidly.

One of the first and most notable GFRP projects was completed during the 1950s. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) completed a house design crafted entirely from fiber-reinforced polymer. The carefully designed GFRP house, constructed in 1956, was situated in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in Orange, California. For a full decade Disney’s FRP home of the future welcomed countless visitors and was a very popular attraction. In 1967, it was decided that the House of the Future would be replaced by another attraction. Amazingly, when the wrecking ball hit the futuristic GFRP home, it simply bounced off the structure. The fiberglass House of the Future had to be dismantled by hand. This fully highlighted the astonishing strength of fiber-reinforced polymer and its potential as a building material.

Over the following decades GFRP fiberglass re-bar was identified as a possible solution to the extensive degradation of concrete structures. Many questions needed to be asked and answered prior to it being recommend for use in concrete structures. Over the last 50 years many conferences and studies have been commissioned and completed.

Field tests in Canada and around the world have concluded that GFRP re-bar has unparalleled corrosion and fatigue resistance. Recent tensile tests from 60-year-old fiberglass boats, which are still in service, indicate that no significant degradation in material strength can be detected. While most improvements in steel reinforcements incrementally improved the longevity of concrete structures, GFRP rebar is seen as a breakthrough material which is expected to extend concrete life by a factor of 4 times due to its corrosion resistance. In applications where the concrete is exposed to heavy cyclic loads (i.e. bridge decks, loading docks, railway crossings, driveways) fiberglass reinforced concrete is expected to last 20 times longer than steel reinforced concrete.