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Adrian Wilson

Editor's Viewpoint

31st May 2017, Chicago, IL

Good timing for JEC event

With carbon-reinforced concrete just one innovation currently attracting considerable attention with its potential to open up many new large-scale areas of application, the latest JEC event, The Future of Composites in Construction, is extremely well timed.

The show takes place from June 20-22 in Chicago and six developments have been selected to receive Innovation Awards, which will be presented at the end of the first day.

Owens Corning

Award winners include Owens Corning for its contribution of the pultruded glass fibre composite sunshade elements to the renovation of an EDAM university building in Valencia, Spain.

© JEC Group/ Owens Corning

The new exterior building design has areas with traditional flat wall panel cladding, but is largely made up of elliptical shaped slats in front of the new expanse of floor to ceiling windows.

The horizontal and vertical composite slating system used in different sections of the new façade gives a ‘shutter like’ appearance, providing both natural daylight and shade, preventing the building from overheating during the very hot summer months.

Owen Corning’s material is highly durable and corrosion resistant and the ease of fabrication, production control and rapid installation of finished components enabled the whole project to be completed within a year.


A highly integrated ductile reinforced carbon composite I-beam has been developed by Sweden’s Biteam, employing a continuous and direct weaving process it calls Add-on Weaving. This offers great freedom in combining different fabric architectures in 3D, such as 0/90 and +/-45 weaves, with full mutual through-thickness interconnection between the webs and flanges.

© JEC Group/ Biteam

This highly integrated fibre architecture at web/flange junctions prevents delamination to promote quasi-ductile structural response to bending. Compared to traditional steel I-beams, the Biteam components are 2-3 times stronger and they absorb 2-3 times more energy at the same weight.

Premier Composite Technologies

A method of employing ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) as a thin finishing layer on composite panels, rather as the structural shell, has been developed by Premier Composite Technologies, based in the United Arab Emirates.

© JEC Group/ Premier Composite Technologies

A structural sandwich panel finished with the UHPC results in extremely lightweight large span panels with an aesthetically pleasing and durable, fire resistant surface, involving minimal finishing work and low maintenance and rapid installation on site.

Optima Projects

The UK’s Optima Projects impressed the judging panel with its development of a composite roof in which virtually all of the supporting steelwork was replaced with a thick foam-cored composite structure.

The cores were produced from PET foam made from recycled water bottles, machined into complex forms and bonded together into very large subassemblies (the main structure is made in 26 pieces and is about 40 metres long). These were then laminated with structural composite skins. In highly loaded areas, the resulting sandwich structure is over 800mm thick and in addition to structural integrity provides very high levels of thermal insulation. The individual parts of the roof were assembled onsite without any mechanical fasteners, to create a continuous shell structure and a seamless visual appearance.

© JEC Group/ Optima Projects

The overall cost and build time was reduced and the lightweight, self-supporting nature of the roof has enabled a significant reduction in the supporting structure, providing a more open interior space.


Turkey’s DowAksa Advanced Composites and Istanbul Technical University have recently conducted a full-scale earthquake simulation to test the efficiency of retrofitted carbon fibre composite repairs.

© JEC Group/ DowAksa

Using the same foundation and materials, two full-scale buildings were constructed using practices that have been common for several decades in Turkish construction, with one of them reinforced with the composites. This remained upright after severe testing, long after the reference building had collapsed.

Armageddon Energy

US company Armageddon Energy will receive an Innovation Award for its development of SolarClover advanced solar panels with DuPont and Econcore.

© JEC Group/ Armageddon Energy

These consist of a thermoplastic honeycomb core and a glass-reinforced thermoplastic skin – a structure weighing 30% less than conventional solar panels, along with puncture resistance, thermal stability, fire and moisture resistance and the ability to be recycled. In addition, their design eliminates the need for the usual aluminium frames and glass front sheets, and allows for in-line production with a significant reduction in energy consumption.

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