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Carbon Welcome

German textile, Swiss precast interests optimize 3D fiber reinforcement

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SGL Group, billed as “The Carbon Company” and a subsidiary of Weisbaden-based SGL Carbon SC, has teamed with fellow Germany operator, V. Fraas Solutions in Textile GmbH, on a three-dimensional carbon fiber reinforcement grid suited as an alternative to conventional rebar or mesh in architectural precast.

The product has debuted in façade panels Alphabeton AG fabricated for its new Buron, Switzerland, precast operation. After exhibiting required performance in SGL and V. Fraas product testing, the 3D carbon fiber grids were specified for unique curtain wall-style panels of 26-mm (1-in.) thickness—versus the 100-mm (4-in.) thick profile of a comparable precast panel bearing conventional steel reinforcement.

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V. Fraas engineered the grid with SGL Sigrafil C carbon fiber. The premier user of the SGL/V. Fraas carbon fiber grid reinforcement, Switzerland’s Alphabeton AG, specializes in precast elements using high performance and ultra high performance concrete mixes.

The SGL/V. Fraas concrete-reinforcing grid debuts on a new plant for a technology-minded producer specializing in elements designed with high-performance and ultra high performance concrete mixes. “We were looking for a solution that would enable us to produce thin concrete façade panels in large dimensions,”says Hans-Peter Felder, who heads Research & Development for Alphabeton. “The new 3D carbon fiber grids impressed us with their light weight and corrosion resistance, and were easy and convenient to process.”

“In this application, we particularly exploit the corrosion resistance of our carbon fibers,” adds SGL Carbon Fibers & Composite Materials Vice President of Sales & Marketing Peter Weber. “Thanks to this advantageous property, we can dispense with the thick concrete covering obligatory with steel-reinforced concrete and produce thin concrete elements.” SGL Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of carbon-based products and materials, he adds, and the new grid joins a comprehensive portfolio of fiber or composite offerings.

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The ventilated curtail wall comprises 350 precast panels, 865- x 1,620-mm (34- x 64-in.), 26-mm (1-in.) thick. The specialty precast producer engineered the panels with V. Fraas Solutions’ three-dimensional reinforcement: two layers of carbon fiber nets, spaced 12 mm (.5 in.) apart, and connected by compression-resistant pile threads.

V. Fraas Solutions in Textile of Wüstenselbitz Germany, has developed a production line in which the new 3D textile reinforcement based on SGL’s Sigrafil C carbon fibers can, for the first time, be manufactured in large dimensions. Structural reinforcing materials based on carbon fibers are also being used in the repair and renovation sector. As a result of carbon fibers’ special properties, including high strength and stiffness combined with light weight, bridges and buildings can be retrofitted for significantly extended service life, V. Fraas engineers affirm.

SGL Technologies GmbH, Meitingen, Germany; www.sglgroup.com; SGL Carbon LLC, Charlotte, N.C., 704/593-5100; V. Fraas GmbH, Wüstenselbitz, Germany; www.vfraas.com; (subsidiary) V. Fraas Solutions in Textile GmbH, www.solutions-in-textile.com; (North American contact) V. Fraas USA Inc., New York, N.Y., 212/575-0191