This review outlines the nature, culture and trends in the building and construction industry.
Materials used in construction applications must possess critical properties, depending on the exact use. In general the important property requirements are mechanical, weathering, permeability, flammability and thermal conductivity properties. The environmental impact is also important as global concerns are increasing about pollution, depletion of energy sources and re-use or recycling of waste products.
Bulk polymers are used in applications such as pipes and conduit, wire and cable, foundations, fittings, roofing, flooring and insulation, The major use of polymers in the European construction sector is in rigid PVC window profiles. Fibre reinforced plastics have recently been introduced for this application and have the advantage over PVC of not requiring additional reinforcement.
Polymer foams are extensively used for insulation, primarily polystyrene, PVC, phenol-formaldehyde and polyurethane. Structural foams have also been developed from materials such as polyolefins, polycarbonate and ABS.
Fibre reinforced polymeric materials are gaining market share from traditional construction materials due to their low weight combined with high strength. Mechanical properties can be tailor-made by careful selection of fibre and direction of reinforcement. Applications include bridge construction, pipes, column reinforcing wraps and reinforcing bars for concrete. They can also offer better fire resistance than most other materials, for example, phenolics are used in firewalls.
Concrete is a versatile construction material, but could benefit from improved strength, toughness, ductility and durability. One approach is to develop cement based composites. Polymer mortars and concretes are finding increasing use in applications such as protective coatings. Polymer concretes are structural materials capable of withstanding highly corrosive environments. Polymers also offer the chance to increase the ductility of reinforced concrete to prevent cracking under load.
Adhesives and sealants are used extensively in the construction sector and high performance levels are demanded.
This new Rapra Review Report describes the current building and construction market place and the applications and potential for the wide range of polymer materials available today. The review is technical but accessible to readers from a wide range of backgrounds.
This review is accompanied by summaries of papers from the Rapra Polymer Library database (formerly known as Rapra Abstracts). These papers are indexed to allow the reader to search for information on specific topics.
2. The Building and Construction Industry
2.1 Industry Overview
2.1.1 Recent Market Trends
2.1.3 Distinct Technologies
2.1.4 Environment Issues
2.1.5 Outlook in the EU
3. Key Properties
3.1 Mechanical Properties
3.2 Thermal and Insulating Properties
3.6 Environmental Impact
4. Applications of Bulk Polymers
5. Polymer Foams
5.1 Special Foams
5.2 Application of Foams
6. Fibre Reinforced Polymeric Materials (FRPs)
6.1 Materials Used
6.2 Key Properties of FRP Materials
6.2.1 Fire Performance
6.2.2 Vandal Resistance
6.2.4 Chemical Resistance
6.4 Application of FRPs in Construction
7. Polymer Concrete
7.1 Polymer Impregnated Concrete
7.2 Polymer-Cement Concrete
7.3 Polymer Concrete
7.4 Fibre Reinforced Concrete
8. Adhesives and Sealants
8.1.1 Thermoplastic Adhesives
8.1.2 Thermoset Adhesives
8.1.3 Structural Adhesive Bonding
9.1 The Construction Products Directive
9.1.1 Harmonised European Standards
9.1.2 European Technical Approval
9.2 UK Building Regulations