Chemical-Resistant Glass Fiber Reinforced Composites Incorporating Bio-Based Ion Exchangers Derived from Agricultural Residues and Starches
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The annual U.S. consumption of steel reinforcement in concrete is close to 7 million tons, representing more than $6 billion of annual sales. Close to 35% of steel reinforcement is used in applications such as parking structures, bridges and waterfront structures which are prone to corrosion. These applications represent the targeted markets for the new class of glass fiber composites modified with bio-based ion exchangers. Ion-exchange is an effective process for removal of deleterious ions from solutions; water purification is a common application of ion exchangers. A new application is proposed for bio-based ion exchangers where the high exchange rate and fineness of this class of ion exchangers are particularly beneficial. This application utilizes bio-based ion exchanger as filler in the polymer matrix of glass fiber composites. Bio-based cation exchangers can be used to neutralize alkaline solutions diffusing through the polymer matrix, which would otherwise cause rapid deterioration of glass fibers. This application of bio-based ion exchangers would contribute towards removal of the major obstacle against introduction of polymer composites to vast markets in concrete-based infrastructure systems where corrosion of steel represents a tremendous economic burden.
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