Introducing South Korean glass fiber reinforced plastic G-Rebar: DL

강영훈l승인2022.06.22l수정2022.06.22 13:26

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Reinforced concrete is one the commonly used building materials and it boasts excellent durability, fire resistance and sound insulation. The drawback however is that it is vulnerable to corrosion which is the major cause to damage the building. Corroded rebar increases its volume up to 6 times which leads to swelling of the concrete and then to cracks of the walls and pillars. For this reason, some builders started to use GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic) from the 50s in the US. South Korea is still carrying on research on the material for the use of harbor structures that are exposed to the salt water all the time. 

GFRP is lighter and cost effective compared to reinforced concrete but not many companies and organizations are showing interest yet while overseas companies are competitively offering related products. However, not all Koreans are indifferent. A South Korean rebar specialist DL is attracting a great attention with G-Rebar that is twice stronger and 30% cost saving than the traditional rebar. 

Glass fiber weighs less than aluminium, has better corrosion and heat resistance and insulation. DL’s G-Rebar (GFRP) is stronger than steel. The tensile strength is 920~1,200Mpa and it is twice than 400Mpa steel. The bending strength also is 900Mpa while the steel 450Mpa. It is notable that both tensile and bending strengths of G-Rebar are higher than the GFRP products of the US, Canada and Russia. Other notable features of G-Rebar include better bond strength, 1/4 weight of steel and 1/3 weight of carbon fiber. 

Despite the soaring steel price from the war between Ukraine and Russia, the price of G-Rebar keeps around 90 to 95% of the steel price. More specifically, 1 ton of steel is 1.05 million won ($795) while G-Rebar is 950,000 won ($756) as of 2022. Because G-Rebar weighs 1/4 of steel, the logistics cost and amount of the load also are competitive.

“According to my survey on contractors in the field, one contractor covers around 1 ton for 8 hours with steel while one contractor does 3 tons for the same hours with G-Rebar. Calculating this into labor cost, steel costs around 28 million won ($22,282) while G-Rebar just 1/3 of it of 9.5 million won. In other words, changing steel to G-Rebar will save builders a lot of money” says Beongsoo Jeon, CEO of DL.

Corrosion aside, scrap iron and limestone emit carbon as much as fossil fuel. Carbon Neutrality is a global policy to tackle climate change and using G-Rebar in this respect is eco-friendly. G-Rebar is free from rust and corrosion and can be permanent except there is outer impact or damage. If steel and scrap iron require limestone when they are made, GFRP does not need it.

▲ DL / CEO Beongsoo Jeon

“G-Rebar reduces around 40 to 50% carbon than rebar. The lifespan of a building is around 30 to 40 years in South Korea but using G-Rebar increases this lifespan considerably more because it is rust and corrosion-free. What is more? It is insulated and endures earthquake to a certain level.”

While the US and China are leading the market, it was only 2003 that FRP was first introduced in South Korea but the government standard on the material only in 2017 followed by the FRP Reinforcing Bar Concrete Structure Design Guide in 2019. As of the year 2022, only a few companies are manufacturing GFRP which means the market is who comes first, eats first. DL was established in 2019 and started producing G-Rebar from last year. 

“South Korea is a nation full of business restrictions. It makes new business especially hard. Yet, G-Rebar obtained ISO 14000, registered a patent in February this year, listed in the Venture Innovation Procurement in April this year. G-Rebar has been used in many places such as assembly factories, PNT factories, railway system and breakwater.” 

DL obtained the Enterprise Institute Certificate in 2021 and won the Grand Prize at the 2022 Jang Yeong Sil International Science and Culture Awards. <PowerKorea>


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