The Problem with Steel

Steel rebar is the skeleton of all concrete construction. Despite virtually all efforts to prevent it, however (including epoxy coating), steel corrodes, and ultimately, the structure of which it is part loses its integrity (“crumbles”, in
infrastructure-speak) and requires replacement. Annually, over fourteen billion feet per year of rebar are sold in the U.S. alone, of which approximately a quarter is epoxy coated in the hope of reducing corrosion. Rebar corrosion is most pronounced in alkaline environments, such as northern bridges and roads during winter or structures near any seashore, though it can occur anywhere. While rebar represents a fraction of the cost of a concrete construction project (in the order of 3-7%, depending on the structure), the rebar’s failure generally leads to the requirement to completely replace the structure.

Bottom Line Benefits

Historically, FRP rebar has been more expensive than steel rebar, but steel prices have increased and process improvements and higher volume have improved FRP rebar costs. The Composites Growth Initiative, part of the American Composite Manufacturers Association, recently indicated that the cost gap between FRP rebar and epoxy coated rebar (the primary market target for FRP replacement) has virtually closed. The Company forecasts that FRP rebar will be competitive with epoxy coated steel
before any additional savings associated with the transportation of product to construction sites, handling, and installation. The Company feels that savings from lower maintenance and the avoidance of replacement cost dwarf any other cost considerations, and will encourage both public and private consumers (from State or Federal Highway Departments, to private condominium developers) to specify the use of CRT’s FRP rebar for construction projects.