The best of both worlds is what the combination of a stainless or galvanized steel surrounded by basalt fiber reinforcements brings. Structural engineers can understand the benefits of both these materials. Many times they are reluctant to specify just an FRP (fiber reinforced polymer) or BFRP (basalt fiber reinforced polymer) because of the shear factor. The breaking loads of length and weight in longer and bigger spans need careful calculations. What engineers will find in examining the benefits of adding fiber reinforcements to the project is a much stronger, more resilient and much longer lasting structure.
We need to change the status quo. Today’s method of building bridges and buildings with steel in Portland cement has a short lifespan. Especially if subjected to harsh environments like freezing or salts. Basalt offers the ideal alternative. It prevents cracking and spalling while being non-conductive, a major reason why steel rusts and reacts with concrete.
BFRP materials are available and can provide a radical improvement in longevity and cost effectiveness. Hybridizing basalt with stainless or galvanized steel will save money on total project costs with less labor and fewer repairs. Recent column repairs on the Skyline bridge in Florida, using basalt mesh and basalt structural elements is an example of forward thinking engineering.
Structural engineers working on bridges, columns, and building structural components of the future would be wise to incorporate a hybridized solution. We would love to hear about your ideas and projects.