The process to develop a standard can be slow, especially when it’s on the cutting edge of a technology or introducing new materials and technology to designers, engineers, and specifiers. Such is the life of composites.

In order for a standard to be successful, it takes the commitment—both technical and financial—of many industry stakeholders such as material suppliers, manufacturers and consultants to ensure what is written can be manufactured and produced. The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) Pultrusion Industry Council (PIC) represents such a commitment and foresight that will best position growth for this area of the composites industry.

Pre-Standard to Ballot

In November 2010, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) delivered an important document to the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) and the Pultrusion Industry Council (PIC) that would educate structural and civil engineers in the design of structures using pultruded profiles. This document, Pre-Standard for Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) of Pultruded Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Structures represented three years of dedicated effort from leading manufacturers in the pultrusion industry and leading academics with significant knowledge in testing and design of pultrusions to develop this cutting edge design protocol that will expand existing and open new markets for composite applications.

Then in January of this year, the ASCE assembled the Fiber Composites and Polymers Standards Committee (FCAPS) to start first ballot of the LRFD Pre-Standard commissioned by ACMA. The standards committee, comprised of individuals representing the producer, user, regulatory, and general interest communities, held its first meeting in mid-April after the first ballot was canvassed in March, a process where a formal ballot is issued to members of a committee for a specified period of time that makes the vote valid. The ballot results were a mixed; several chapters within the Pre-Standard received positive votes while others had negative votes. Once all results were in, committees were formed by members of the FCAPS Committee to address issues associated with each chapter that didn’t pass.

The committees are currently working directly with LRFD chapter authors to address the issues brought up by voting members of the FCAPS Committee. In total, four subcommittees were formed to review specific chapters. These issues are of course resolvable but will require hard work on the pultrusion industry’s part.

The FCAPS Committee and chapter authors are scheduled to meet in early summer to address all outstanding issues in preparation for another ballot that is expected to be canvassed before the next face to face meeting also tentatively scheduled for summer.