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Tony Puncher
AJP Associates
+44 (0) 1548 52 1623

Chris von Patzelt
Grace Construction Products
+44 (0) 1753 63 7613


New "Steel Alternative" Improves Toughness of Concrete

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, October, 1999
- Grace Construction Products, a world leader in the construction products industry, has announced the introduction of Grace Structural Fibers® to the European market. Introduced in North America in March 1999, this new "steel alternative" represents the company's newest and most advanced structural reinforcement product. To date, it has been successfully used in a number of applications in the United States and Canada.

Strong Enough to Replace Steel Reinforcement

Grace Structural Fibers eliminates the need for steel reinforcement and welded wire fabric in many applications including shotcrete, flatwork and precast concrete -- even steel re-bar depending on the application. Partial fibrillation upon mixing increases the performance of the structural fibers and improves the toughness, impact and fatigue resistance of the finished concrete. Grace Structural Fibers enables users to control plastic and drying shrinkage cracking, and dramatically reduces handling and installation problems associated with traditional reinforcement applications.

"We are delighted to introduce Grace Structural Fibers to our European customers," noted Michael Macklin, Product Manager, Grace Construction Products. "This product reflects Grace's exceptional R&D efforts, technical expertise and market knowledge. It brings to life a concept once thought to be impossible -- synthetic fibers strong enough to replace steel reinforcement."

Added Macklin, "The success that we have achieved in North America, in just a few short months, reinforces our belief in this product and will clearly demonstrate its possibilities to our European customers."

A Proven Success

Successful product applications throughout North America include:

  • Precast Concrete Septic Tanks
    Grace Structural Fibers are being used by a precast producer in Nova Scotia to replace all of the welded wire mesh in 625- and 1025-gallon precast concrete septic tank applications. The precast producer attributes improved productivity and lower tank fabrication costs to the use of Grace Structural Fibers.
  • Wine Cave Shotcrete Lining
    Grace Structural Fibers now replace steel fibers previously used to line wine caves in California. The shotcrete application stabilizes and adds structural reinforcement to the tunnel surface. The new fibers were chosen over traditional steel due to aesthetics, bonding characteristics, lower wear on equipment, and overall performance.
  • Bridge Pier Repairs
    Grace Structural Fibers was successfully used to repair several bridge piers in Nova Scotia, Canada, following failed attempts at using overlays of steel and polyolefin fibers. Deteriorated 25-year-old concrete sections, between 150 and 200 mm, were removed and replaced with the new concrete/fiber mixture. Grace Structural Fibers was pumped from shore through 40m of 125 mm diameter line. Project officials report a decrease in pump pressures, an improvement in surface finishing, lower costs and an overall improvement in material performance thanks to Grace fibers.
  • Airport Apron Repairs
    Grace Structural Fibers was used in an apron repair project at an international airport in Canada after previous overlays using steel and polyolefin fibers had not given optimal results. The concrete mix incorporated a fiber dosage rate of one percent by volume. The self-fibrillating fibers helped control plastic and drying shrinkage and provided the apron with enhanced flexural toughness and impact, abrasion and fatigue resistance.

For more information on Grace Structural Fibers, customers can contact their local Grace Construction Products salesperson or visit Grace's web site at

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Grace Construction Products, a business unit of W.R. Grace & Co., is a world-leading manufacturer of technically superior concrete admixtures including: high range water reducers/superplasticizers, accelerators, retarders, air entraining agents, corrosion inhibitors, controlled low strength material, pumping aids, silica fume, finishing enhancers and fiber reinforcement that make concrete stronger, longer lasting, crack resistant, stress resistance and cost efficient. The company also manufactures cement processing additives, fire protection, waterproofing and masonry products, and has more than 125 plants and sales offices around the world.

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