Advanced Composite Materials and Structures: Past, Present and Future Challenges
Prof. of Civil Engineering
University of Patras, Greece
In the past few decades, various innovative concepts and techniques have been developed to solve problems associated with the use of steel in construction (e.g. durability, heavy weight), with recent developments along these lines involving the use of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) materials and structural elements. FRP-based solutions are well established in structural engineering and will be reviewed briefly during the presentation. Despite their major advantages over steel, FRP solutions entail a number of drawbacks, which are mainly attributed to the organic binders, hence the relatively recent research efforts to develop novel structural materials and systems comprising advanced fibers, in the form of textiles, and inorganic (e.g. cement-based) matrices. The introduction of textile fiber composites to construction has been accompanied by intensive research efforts, some of which will be reviewed, with a focus on comparing textile-based composites with more traditional solutions. Future research and challenges in advanced composite construction will be discussed, with a view towards multifunctionality and minimal environmental impact.