Sources: Rieder Smart Elements GmbH, Austria; Owens Corning, Toledo, Ohio; CP staff
The June 11 FIFA World Cup 2010 kickoff occurred at Johannesburg's Soccer City Stadium, potentially the largest glass-fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) installation to date: 2,100 modules, each comprising 16 fibreC panels, cover 323,000 sq. ft. to enclose the venue. A traditional African drinking vessel, the calabash, is suggested by the shape and color of the stadium's outer shell, incorporating 13-mm-thick, 1.2- x 1.8-meter members (nearly 4- x 6-ft.) at about one-tenth the weight of comparable precast concrete units, notes fibreC panel supplier Rieder Smart Elements. The family-owned producer fabricated fiberC components in Germany, then assembled the modules at an on-site plant. Sheltering the facility, which can accommodate up to 97,000 for World Cup 2010 opening events and title match, is a roof of transparent polycarbonate elements.
In addition to fibreC aesthetic and structural properties, glass-fiber manufacturer Owens Corning emphasizes its ecological benefits, i.e., Cem-FIL alkali-resistant (AR) fibers used to reinforce the panels are 100 percent recyclable. After grinding, old panels can be recycled as up to 15 percent regrind is used for new panel fabrication, while 100 percent regrind can be added to concrete mixes. Accordingly, fibreC is listed in the GreenSpec directory as an environmentally friendly product and evaluated for U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED credits. Moreover, Owens Corning officials add, Rieder fibreC panels featuring Cem-FIL AR glass fibers offer significantly higher tensile strength than steel at much lighter weight and lower mass, as well as excellent weatherability, plus resistance to corrosion, fire, UV light and temperature variations.