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What is Glass Reinforced Concrete

BCM Glass Reinforced Concrete (GRC) is a thin section

concrete that uses Alkali Resistant glass fibres for
reinforcement as opposed to traditional steel. The fact that
the fibres will not rust like steel means that there is no real
requirement for cover and no problems associated with
the lack of it. As such it is possible to make lightweight
elements that have impressive structural qualities yet save
up around 65-75% of the weight of a solid unit. BCM have
been making quality assured GRC since the early 1980s
How Strong Is GRC?
The table on the left gives typical figures for the mechanical
properties of BCM GRC. As can be seen, the compressive
strengths are better than normal concrete, the impact
strengths are good, but the real benefits are gained from
the fact that GRC functions in bending. This enables
designers to make strong hollow lightweight components.

Hand or Machine
Vibration Cast
Premix GRC
Glassfibre Content by Weight of Mix 5% 3%

Ultimate Strength (Modulus of Rupture - MOR) MPa 20-30 10-14
Elastic Limit (Limit of Proportionality - LOP) MPa 7-11 5-8

Ultimate Strength (Ultimate Tensile Strength - UTS) MPa 8-11 4-7
Elastic Limit (Bend Over Point - BOP) MPa 5-7 4-6

Interlaminar Shear Strength MPa 3-5 NA
In-plane Shear Strength MPa 8-11 4-7
Compressive Strength MPa 50-80 40-60
Impact Strength kJ/m2 10-25 10-15
Elastic Modulus GPa 10-20 10-20
Strain to Failure % 0.6-1.2 0.1-0.2
Dry Density Tonne/m3 1.9-2.1 1.8-2.0
But What About Durability?
There are few construction materials that have been studied in such detail as GRC. Accelerated ageing
tests were carried out in the early 1980s when GRC was first introduced and current analysis reports that
real life data supports these initial predictions. Over recent years the cement matrix and fibre
compositions have been further refined to improve the qualities of BCM GRC and the results have been
studied by academics right down to the chemical and nano-technological level. The long term
performance of BCM GRC is now well understood and designers engineer products accordingly. BCM
GRC can be expected to perform equally if not better than pre-cast as it will not suffer from reinforcement
corrosion and subsequent spalling.
How Will GRC Weather?
Where BCM GRC products have a stone faced finish this is
very similar to wet cast concrete and can be expected to
weather much the same. The integral face mix of BCM GRC
products is comparable to that of large pre-cast cladding
although a lot thinner with smaller aggregates. Semi-dry
concretes (used mostly for domestic construction) by

Civil Engineering & Drainage
Water Treatment

comparison, have very low cement contents and open textures
that retain atmospheric pollution and deteriorate very quickly. In
practice, the design of the element and the local environment
has a strong effect on how any cladding stands the test of time.
Evidence from architectural GRC that has been around for 20
or more years suggest that the weathering characterisics are as
good as any pre-cast material and better than semi-dry
products. There are several projects in London that combine
natural stone, wet pre-cast and GRC that demonstrate how well
GRC blends in with more traditional materials.
How Can I Specify GRC?
GRC is normally specified by reference to
the Specification for the manufacture,
curing and testing of GRC products as
produced by the Glass Reinforced
Concrete Association (GRCA). Standard
NBS section H40 contains similar
information as does EN 1169 and EN
1170. Specifiers are encouraged to use
manufacturers that comply with the
Approved Manufactures Scheme
audited independently by the GRCA.
BCM GRC are the most experienced
manufacture of GRC in the UK.

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