HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Lightweight Construction

Natural fibers make textile-reinforced concrete greener and cheaper

Textile-reinforced concrete – what may sound like a contradiction in terms is what the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research calls “tomorrow’s building material”. Researchers at the institute have now developed an eco-friendly version of the construction material, using natural fibers.

23 Oct. 2018
HMI-ID10-016ds_JSinger
Natural fibers make textile-reinforced concrete greener and cheaper (Photo: Jörg Singer)

Textile-reinforced concrete offers some advantages over reinforced concrete: The material is non-corroding, with a long service life. It is also suitable for lightweight construction, since it is reinforced with carbon or glass-fiber fabrics rather than steel. But that is not all: It can be even more eco-friendly than that, as the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research has now shown. Scientists at the institute replaced these fibers with renewable raw material, namely fibers derived from flax. If required, the scientists can add individual strands of polymer. For protection, the weave is also treated with natural resins. According to the researchers, the natural fiber textile-reinforced concrete leaves a smaller carbon footprint and costs less to make, without comprising the performance of the material. It can be cast to make delicate lightweight structures, whereby the new textile-reinforced concrete is suitable for use for bridges, facades, and ceilings.

German architecture magazine ‘ Deutsche Architektenblatt ’ writes that textile-reinforced concrete is a potentially revolutionary material. Components made from the material have already been successfully in use for a number of years now. However, the further spread of the construction method depends on the general approvals of the building authorities, which have already been granted for TUDALIT and solidian , for example. Approval is still pending for the Fraunhofer Institute’s natural fiber textile-reinforced concrete.