Many comparisons already discuss the advantages that GFRC has over precast concrete. Although similar in appearance and possibilities, GFRC is lighter weight, more affordable, and offers better performance.
But GFRC will also outperform a range of other materials commonly used in exterior architectural elements, offering many advantages over any materials that require structural metal to provide support as opposed to the glass fibers of GFRC.
GFRC Structural Capabilities Compared to Structures with Metal Components
One of the key areas where any architectural element needs to perform is the strength and ability to bear its own load. For precast, cast stone, and a range of other materials, rebar reinforcement often provides this strength.
With GFRC, the distributed glass fibers in the object are responsible for the internal structure. Metal and fiberglass behave somewhat differently under stress. Rebar will yield while fiberglass is more elastic. Despite these differences, their performances under loads are comparable and both can be relied on to give similar stability. The difference is the GFRC does it without the additional weight, cost, and labor necessary to get a metal structure in place and with all the following benefits:
- Non-Corrosive – Over time, metal, as well as the other materials that metal supports. can rust or experience other forms of corrosion. That will weaken the structure from the interior. Alkali resistant glass fibers will not deteriorate over time.
- Low Coefficient of Thermal Expansion – Every material naturally expands in hotter temperatures as molecular movement increases. However, GFRC has a much lower coefficient of thermal expansion and other materials, resulting in less movement on hot days and subsequently, less shifting of architectural elements that could put strain on the element itself and on any supporting materials.
- High Damping Capacity – The damping capacity is the ability of a material to absorb energy during wave movement, such as seismic activity. Because GFRC has a higher damping capacity, it absorbs more energy during any movement. This means less damage during seismic activity or any event that causes the building structure and corresponding architectural elements to shift.
These features of GFRC make it a longer lasting and more reliable option to consider for both decorative and functional elements of a construction project. GC Products is a top manufacturer of GFRC architectural elements. If you are considering using GFRC architectural elements in place of other materials, contact our team to learn more about glass fiber reinforced concrete and all of the different custom items we can fabricate.