Glass fiber reinforced concrete

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Glass fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC) is a type of fibre-reinforced concrete. The product is also known as glassfibre reinforced concrete or GRC in British English.[1] Glass fibre concretes are mainly used in exterior building façade panels and as architectural precast concrete. Somewhat similar materials are fibre cement siding and cement boards.


GRC (Glass fibre-reinforced concrete) ceramic consists of high-strength, alkali-resistant glass fibre embedded in a concrete & ceramic matrix.[1] In this form, both fibres and matrix retain their physical and chemical identities, while offering a synergistic combination of properties that cannot be achieved with either of the components acting alone. In general, fibres are the principal load-carrying members, while the surrounding matrix keeps them in the desired locations and orientation, acting as a load transfer medium between the fibres and protecting them from environmental damage. The fibres provide reinforcement for the matrix and other useful functions in fibre-reinforced composite materials. Glass fibres can be incorporated into a matrix either in continuous or discontinuous (chopped) lengths.

Durability was poor with the original type of glass fibres since the alkalinity of cement reacts with its silica. In the 1970s alkali-resistant glass fibres were commercialized.[2] Alkali resistance is achieved by adding zirconia to the glass. The higher the zirconia content the better the resistance to alkali attack. AR glass fibres should have a Zirconia content of more than 16% to be in compliance with internationally recognized specifications (EN, ASTM, PCI, GRCA, etc).


A widely used application for fibre-reinforced concrete is structural laminate, obtained by adhering and consolidating thin layers of fibres and matrix into the desired thickness. The fibre orientation in each layer as well as the stacking sequence of various layers can be controlled to generate a wide range of physical and mechanical properties for the composite laminate. GFRC cast without steel framing is commonly used for purely decorative applications such as window trims, decorative columns, exterior friezes, or limestone-like wall panels.


The design of glass-fibre-reinforced concrete panels uses a knowledge of its basic properties under tensile, compressive, bending and shear forces, coupled with estimates of behavior under secondary loading effects such as creep, thermal response and moisture movement.

There are a number of differences between structural metal and fibre-reinforced composites. For example, metals in general exhibit yielding and plastic deformation, whereas most fibre-reinforced composites are elastic in their tensile stress-strain characteristics. However, the dissimilar nature of these materials provides mechanisms for high-energy absorption on a microscopic scale comparable to the yielding process. Depending on the type and severity of external loads, a composite laminate may exhibit gradual deterioration in properties but usually does not fail in a catastrophic manner. Mechanisms of damage development and growth in metal and composite structure are also quite different. Other important characteristics of many fibre-reinforced composites are their non-corroding behavior, high damping capacity and low coefficients of thermal expansion.

Glass-fibre-reinforced concrete architectural panels have the general appearance of pre-cast concrete panels, but differ in several significant ways. For example, the GFRC panels, on average, weigh substantially less than pre-cast concrete panels due to their reduced thickness. Their low weight decreases loads superimposed on the building’s structural components making construction of the building frame more economical.

Sandwich panels[edit]

A sandwich panel is a composite of three or more materials bonded together to form a structural panel. It takes advantage of the shear strength of a low density core material and the high compressive and tensile strengths of the GFRC facing to obtain high strength-to-weight ratios.

GFRC sandwich panels at Public Library Lope de Vega in Tres Cantos, Madrid

The theory of sandwich panels and functions of the individual components may be described by making an analogy to an I-beam. The core in a sandwich panel is comparable to the web of an I-beam, which supports the flanges and allows them to act as a unit. The web of the I-beam and the core of the sandwich panels carry the beam shear stresses. The core in a sandwich panel differs from the web of an I-beam in that it maintains continuous support for the facings, allowing the facings to be worked up to or above their yield strength without crimping or buckling. Obviously, the bonds between the core and facings must be capable of transmitting shear loads between these two components, thus making the entire structure an integral unit.

The load-carrying capacity of a sandwich panel can be increased dramatically by introducing light steel framing. Light steel stud framing is similar to conventional steel stud framing for walls, except that the frame is encased in a concrete product. Here, the sides of the steel frame are covered with two or more layers of GFRC, depending on the type and magnitude of external loads. The strong and rigid GFRC provides full lateral support on both sides of the studs, preventing them from twisting and buckling laterally. The resulting panel is lightweight in comparison with traditionally reinforced concrete, yet is strong and durable and can be easily handled.

Technical Specifications[edit]

GFRC Material Properties

Components Spray Premix
Cement 50 kg 50 kg:
Fine aggregate 50 kg 50 kg
Glass fibre 4.5-5% 2-3.5%
Plasticiser 0.5 kg 0.5 kg
Polymer 5 kg 5 kg 5 kg
Water 13.5 litre 14.5 litre

Typical strength properties of GRC

Components Spray Premix
Ultimate strength (MOR) MPa 20-30 10-14
Elastic limit (LO R) MPa 7-11 5-8
Interlaminar strength MPa 3-5 NA
In-planar strength MPa 8-11 4-7
Compressive strength MPa 50-80 40-60
Impact strength Kj/m2 10-25 10-15
Elastic modulus GPa 10-20 10-10
Strain to failure % 0.6-1.2 0.1-0.2
Dry density t/m3 1.9-2.1 1.8-2.0


GFRC is incredibly versatile and has a large number of use cases due to its strength, weight, and design. The most common place you will see this material is in the construction industry. [citation needed] It's used in very demanding cases such as architectural cladding that's hanging several stories above sidewalks [3] or even more for aesthetics such as interior furniture pieces like GFRC coffee tables, GRC Jali, Elevation screens.[4] The glass fiber reinforced concrete not only reduces the cost of concrete but also enhances its strength.[5]


  1. ^ a b Ferreira, J P J G; Branco, F A B (2007). "The Use of Glass Fiber-Reinforced Concrete as a Structural Material". Experimental Techniques. 31 (May/June 2007): 64–73. doi:10.1111/j.1747-1567.2007.00153.x.
  2. ^ "Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete". The Concrete Network. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Architectural GFRC – THIN CONCRETE PANELS FOR EXTERIOR CLADDING, VENEERS, COLUMNS". Advanced Architectural Stone. 25 March 2015.
  4. ^ "What's Trending in Concrete Furniture". True Form Concrete. 23 January 2023. Retrieved 21 February 2023. Concrete coffee tables are all the rage. Their modern look can be minimalist chic or even sculptural. They may have elegantly carved wood legs or be more solid-looking cubes, or cylinders. They may be classic coffee table shapes or something unusual. They can be customized to any size and shape you like so they're perfect for any size or style living room.
  5. ^ Sandeep Panchal, Dr. Shashikant Sharma, Mohd. Mohsin Khan, Anurag Sharma and Dr. Amrit Kumar Roy, Effect of Glass Reinforcement and Glass Powder on the Characteristics of Concrete. International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology, 8(3), 2017, pp. 637–647.

6. GFRC Screen (GRC Jali) Asian GRC. Revised 12 February 2024. "GFRC Technical Specification, GRC Material Properties, Typical strength properties of GRC and uses".