Fibre Reinforced Cement (FRC) is a durable, fire and corrosion resistant material, commonly used within the global construction industry. Coupled with the low cost of Portland cement, these properties make it ideally suited for applications such as roofing tiles and siding panels for buildings. However, the production of cement is associated with a large Carbon Dioxide ‘footprint.’ For each tonne of cement produced, approximately 1 tonne of CO2 is emitted. This has resulted in FRC becoming stigmatised as a ‘dirty, harmful’ material. Additionally, the high density of cement and therefore existing FRC products results in high transport and installation costs.
In order to improve the poor environmental impact of FRC, and improve a variety of product specific properties, the FIBCEM project will seek the development of a cement based, nanotechnology enhanced material. In addition, FIBCEM will seek to revolutionise the FRC production process, creating a low energy, low cost system. FIBCEM will be produced using a low energy, multilayer extrusion process designed specifically for this application. The foam cement core and fibre reinforced skins are simultaneously formed such that no discontinuity is formed between them. This significant advance, along with the incorporation of new lighter weight, alternative materials will ensure that the CO2 footprint of FIBCEM is substantially less than that of existing products available in the market today.
FIBCEM represents a clear advance in current state of the art offerings. The FIBCEM product provides a clear solution to an existing market need which if not addressed, has the potential to continue to cause significant environmental damage, and continuing cost pressures on manufacturers and end users alike.
FIBCEM will consist of a cement based sandwich structure, consisting of a foamed cement core, and fibre reinforced skin. The foam core will result in a lower density product compared to existing FRC offerings, whilst the reinforced skin will ensure that the strength of the material is not compromised. FIBCEM will also provide added functionality to the construction industry in the form of decreased thermal conductivity, and increased sound insulation properties.