Carbonhaus is the world’s first carbon fiber reinforced concrete building


A two-story building on the campus of the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, is the world’s first building made of carbon fiber reinforced concrete.

The world’s first carbon fiber reinforced concrete building, known as the Carbonhaus, is a collaborative effort of engineers, designers and researchers who have for many years advocated the use of advanced materials in place of concrete and traditional steel in construction. The 5 million euro project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The 2,200 square foot building consists of a pre-engineered box and a double curvature roof made possible through the use of lightweight and flexible composite materials. The carbon fiber used in the project is produced from petroleum-based polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and provides the tensile strength of steel at one quarter the weight.

According to Barzin Mobasher, a professor at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment and with nearly 30 years of experience in the field, at least half the concrete in a typical building element is used to protect the steel frame from corrosion. He further explains that because steel and concrete “work in tandem, but not together,” the resulting component continues to be prone to cracking and erosion.

Manfred Curbach, director of the Institute of Concrete Construction at the Technical University of Dresden, another industry veteran and advocate for the use of advanced materials in construction, said composite components are more durable and better for the environment, saving up to 70% greenhouse gases. emissions.

Mr. Curbach added that the cost of carbon fiber reinforced concrete is comparable to that of steel when labor, equipment, fabrication and transportation are taken into account, both costing $13 to $15 per kilogram to produce.

The construction industry has been slow to adopt lighter weight reinforcement materials due to regulations and the historical use of steel and concrete. Mr. Mobasher and Mr. Curbach remain hopeful that carbon fiber reinforced materials could be adopted for greater use in the future. Mr. Mobasher noted that he had seen some interest in using carbon fiber reinforced materials for rapid repair work in damaged infrastructure in the United States, and Mr. Curbach added that it could take 20 years and would require regulatory changes, but companies in China and Israel are already showing interest.


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