Mekina Industries is a UK based manufacturer of GRP (Glass Reinforced Polymer) products, specialising in permanent formwork and working on critical infrastructure projects for bridges and raised platforms. The company has published this insight article on its website on the subject of permanent GRP formwork.
Bridges are essential infrastructural elements that connect communities, facilitate commerce, and enhance transportation networks. Constructing these engineering marvels requires precision, innovation, and reliable construction techniques.
As technology continues to advance, so does the construction industry. One significant innovation that has revolutionized bridge building is the use of Leave-in-Place Glass Reinforced Polymer (GRP) Formwork. This method offers numerous advantages over traditional construction techniques, providing engineers and constructors with a more efficient and sustainable approach.
What is Leave-in-Place GRP Formwork?
Leave-in-Place GRP Formwork is a construction technique that utilises glass-reinforced polymer, a composites material known for its high strength-to-weight ratio, as a permanent formwork for reinforced concrete elements in bridges. Unlike traditional formwork that is removed after the concrete has cured, GRP formwork remains in place to ensure that the concrete cures uniformly and gains the required strength to bear the bridge’s structural loads. This contributes to the bridge’s overall stability and longevity.
Advantages of Leave-in-Place GRP Formwork
Reduced Construction Time: The use of GRP formwork streamlines the construction process. Thanks to the lightweight nature of the product many braced steel girder bridges can be installed off-line with all formwork and rebar in place prior to lifting the structure into position before then pouring the concrete. As it remains in place, there is no need to dismantle and remove the formwork, saving valuable construction time. This time-efficient approach accelerates bridge completion, allowing for quicker integration into the transportation network.
Cost-Effectiveness: Although the initial investment in GRP formwork may be higher than other types of formwork such as timber, the panels provide a safe working platform for the installation of deck reinforcement and concrete pour, this gives long-term cost benefits once the GRP panels are in place to outweigh the upfront expense.
Sustainable Solution: GRP formwork is light and highly manoeuvrable, therefore, requires fewer resources for transportation and installation, reducing the overall carbon footprint of the construction process.
Design Flexibility: Leave-in-Place GRP Formwork offers design flexibility, enabling engineers to create innovative and aesthetically pleasing bridge soffits from the smooth underside of the GRP panels. The material’s versatility allows for complex geometries, ensuring that the bridge not only serves its functional purpose but also enhances the landscape.
Leave-in-Place GRP Formwork has revolutionised the way bridges are constructed, providing a durable, cost-effective, and sustainable solution for modern infrastructure. With its numerous advantages, this construction technique is gaining popularity among engineers and constructors worldwide.