COMPOSITE FIBRE… What is it and why use it?

Composite fibre is a revolutionary new material being used in many of Australia’s leading sectors including aerospace, marine, mining and transport. Kehoe Myers has been fortunate to not only be involved in composite fibre projects, but to also have one of our Directors on the committee for developing the Australian Standards for using the material in reinforcement.

Composite fibre is made up of 2 or more fibre components sealed together with e-poxy. The components used vary but often include glass, rock and carbon fibres. Composite fibre offers unique opportunities for many industries as it’s stronger and more durable than steel, and weighs much less than steel.

Composite fibre originally started in the United States and is a new technology to Australia. In Australia it was first developed in Toowoomba through the University of Southern Queensland and the Wagner Group. Kehoe Myers works with both Wagners and Buchanan Advanced Composites in adopting composite fibre in construction.

Composite fibre is being used in a range of industries due to its strength and durability. The product is rust resistant which proves advantageous over steel in industries such as marine and bridging. Our team has been involved in a number of projects using composite fibre in bridges. It is also a great product for the repair of old bridges as it can be made to look similar to timber. The product’s versatility means any shape and/or dimension can be created leading to easy replacement of specific elements of a bridge.

Our team also designed composite fibre into a section of the St Andrew’s Hospital. This material was used in an area where MRIs are undertaken. MRIs are very sensitive to metals and require recalibrating when metals are used within the vicinity. Replacing steel with composite fibre eliminated the need and cost to recalibrate the MRI equipment.

The Australian government is in the process of finalising standards for use of composite fibre. Once necessary codes are in place and engineers educated, it is expected we will see composite fibre much more in construction. Preliminary calculations suggest using composite fibre over steel will provide a 1 in 5 cost advantage due to its durability and longevity. Initial reports also suggest composite fibre has a 50% less carbon footprint than steel.

This material is being used in the United States and Canada, and will continue to grow in interest. Its strength and ability to conform to any shape introduces new possibilities in many industries. If you’re interested in how composite fibre can be used in your next project, contact our Composite Fibre expert today:

Bjorn Jachmann, Director
Tel: 07 4632 8100

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