Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer – what is it? And what are its advantages and disadvantages?

13th Sep

Described as the ‘wonder material of the century’, carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) is favoured by concrete repairs and strengthening specialists all over.

The popularity of CFRP rose in 2016 and has been that way since – and we can see why! It is almost four times stronger than aluminium and 75 times lighter than steel, and gets the job done quickly, easily, and often more effectively in comparison with materials that have similar applications. We could talk about the pros all day – but what about the cons?

Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer advantages

  • It is lightweight which means fewer resources and workers needed to deliver and complete the project = a cost-effective option.
  • It has high fatigue resistance and the flexible carbon fibres crack far less frequently than traditional alternatives such as concrete and steel (especially when they’re subject to repeat load-bearing weight). 
  • Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer has a higher ‘compression’ strength than materials like aluminium and steel. This means that carbon fibre handles more pressure than its traditional alternatives.
  • It survives the majority of severe environmental conditions such as humidity, rainfall, radiation, chemical exposure and more. It doesn’t corrode or deteriorate, so any mechanics coated in carbon fibre will work continue to work efficiently.

Interested in booking a FREE site visit to see if your building or structure can benefit from carbon fibre applications? 

Get in touch with CCUK today to discuss availability.

Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer disadvantages

Carbon fibre products are expensive compared with other structural building materials used for the same jobs. But, while products such as aluminium and steel are cheaper initially, they require more manpower due to the weight. CCUK always recommends booking a cost analysis before making a decision – that way you can notice the price difference and whether it’s worth it for you. 

It conducts heat and electricity, so it may not be the best choice for your project if your building or structure works with either of these elements. CCUK always recommends booking a feasibility analysis to see whether carbon fibre-reinforced polymer is the right option, or whether there’s a suitable alternative. 

Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer in action: London South Bank University

Curious about what carbon fibre-reinforced polymer can do? Check out CCUK’s recent London South Bank University project. 

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