In many parts of the country, designing buildings that can withstand earthquakes and other seismic activity is essential and often required by local building codes. This extends not only to the structure itself but to many of the larger architectural elements that will be placed on properties such as columns, domes, balustrades, wall panels, and door surrounds, that could be at risk during an earthquake.
Glass fiber reinforced concrete, or GFRC, is a leading option for its seismic resistance. The material has a range of features that enable GFRC architectural elements to withstand earthquakes and other seismic activity.
How GFRC Can Withstand Seismic Activity
GFRC is ideal for a range of building products for its customizability, light weight, easy installation, affordable price, and durability. Some of these features are also what makes the material a reliable option for designs with seismic activity in mind:
- Lightweight – GFRC is a lightweight material since fiberglass makes up a significant portion of its composition. It is approximately two-thirds of the weight of precast concrete and significantly lighter than other design materials, such as stone, cast stone, clay, and brick. This reduces the overall seismic weight of a building or structure. Because heavier buildings will naturally sustain more damage during the seismic events, this lighter weight can help protect a structure.
- Uniform Reinforcement – GFRC uses fiberglass mixed in and spread uniformly throughout an architectural element to provide the reinforcement. This means that there are no areas of an architectural element that are unreinforced, weaker than the surrounding sections, and more likely damaged during seismic activity.
- High Flexural Strength – Because of its construction, GFRC has a high flexural strength, or ability to bend without breaking. This enables GFRC architectural elements to move freely with seismic waves without lasting damage.
Although these advantages make GFR C ideal for any areas where seismic engineering is a consideration, they still must be used in conjunction with the correct designs for local building codes, as well as joining and anchoring methods that create a safe, secure attachment while still enabling GFRC to have adequate racking when seismic activity forces elements and their connection points to shift.
GC Products builds glass fiber reinforced concrete architectural elements and has worked with a number of properties to enhance the natural seismic capabilities of these elements to meet the specific specifications necessary for different regions and properties. For any architectural elements necessary in a construction project, our team can work with you to provide custom designs that meet your requirements for both visuals and functionality. Contact us to get an initial quote.