GRC is a type of fiber-reinforced concrete. Glass fiber concretes are mainly used in exterior building façade panels and as architectural precast concrete.
Glass fiber-reinforced concrete consists of high-strength glass fiber embedded in a cementitious matrix. In this form, both fibers and matrix retain their physical and chemical identities, while offering a synergism: a combination of properties that cannot be achieved with either of the components acting alone. In general, fibers are the principal load-carrying members, while the surrounding matrix keeps them in the desired locations and orientation, acting as a load transfer medium between the fibers and protecting them from environmental damage. In fact, the fibers provide reinforcement for the matrix and other useful functions in fiber-reinforced composite materials. Glass fibers can be incorporated into a matrix either in continuous or discontinuous (chopped) lengths.
The design of glass-fiber-reinforced concrete panels proceeds from a knowledge of its basic properties under tensile, compressive, bending and shear forces, coupled with estimates of behavior under secondary loading effects such as creep, thermal response and moisture movement.
There are a number of differences between structural metal and fiber-reinforced composites. For example, metals in general exhibit yielding and plastic deformation, whereas most fiber-reinforced composites are elastic in their tensile stress-strain characteristics. However, the dissimilar nature of these materials provides mechanisms for high-energy absorption on a microscopic scale comparable to the yielding process. Depending on the type and severity of external loads, a composite laminate may exhibit gradual deterioration in properties but usually does not fail in a catastrophic manner. Mechanisms of damage development and growth in metal and composite structure are also quite different. Other important characteristics of many fiber-reinforced composites are their non-corroding behavior, high damping capacity and low coefficients of thermal expansion.
Glass-fiber-reinforced concrete architectural panels have the general appearance of pre-cast concrete panels, but differ in several significant ways. For example, the GFRC panels, on average, weigh substantially less than pre-cast concrete panels due to their reduced thickness. Their low weight decreases loads superimposed on the building’s structural components. The building frame becomes more economical.