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A-Lok looks past steel to basalt fiber reinforced polymer rebar

As composites of fibers embedded in polymeric resins, fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) have emerged as an alternative to steel for concrete reinforcing bars, offering weight savings, strength and corrosion-rooted durability advantages, and longer service life. Manufacturing advances have positioned FRP rebar as competitive with conventional steel reinforcement, and very competitive with higher performance epoxy-coated and stainless steel rebar, according to A-Lok Products.

A well-established source of concrete drainage structure accessories, A-Lok recently added to its product offerings the epoxy resin-bound, basalt fiber GatorBar. Like other steel alternatives, basalt FRP production costs have been higher than steel, owing to typical production rates of 5- to 10-ft./minute. A proprietary process is now yielding GatorBar at 75- to 120-ft./minute rates. Basalt fiber also takes less energy to produce than carbon or glass fiber and steel.

Price parity is not the only benefit of basalt FRP, A-Lok notes. Compared to steel rebar, GatorBar has a 7x weight advantage and double the service life. Higher tensile strength properties enable a #3 GatorBar to compete with a #4 steel rebar. — A-Lok Products, Tullytown, Pa., 800/822-2565, 215/547-3366; www.a-lok.com

GatorBar grids take shape with the Kodi Klip automatic rebar tying tool. At 15 percent the weight of conventional steel rebar, GatorBar affords transportation economies and estimated labor savings equivalent to 1 man-hour per ton placed.