Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete
One of the reasons that concrete is so prevalent in public spaces is its versatility. Concrete is a strong material on its own but can easily be combined with other aggregates and additives to enhance its natural abilities and even bring out new characteristics that the concrete does not possess on its own. One such example of this is GFRC (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete). GRFC is pretty much what the name implies, alkali-resistant glass fiber is integrated into the concrete matrix which provides a variety of structural and environmental benefits to the precast. The glass fibers provide load-bearing and anti-weathering characteristics, while the concrete provides a load transferring characteristic as such the two materials work synergistically to provide a stronger and longer-lasting product.
The earliest record of GFRC comes from Russia in the 1940s however this mix design had issues with ASR reactions that would cause the concrete matrix to break down over time, which you can read more about in one of our other articles here. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when the Owens-Corning and Nippon Electric Glass companies created an alkali-resistant form of GFRC fibers. After this breakthrough, GFRC became the norm in many utilitarian concrete applications like architectural wall panels. Recently, however, GFRC has become useful in things like concrete countertops and concrete planters.