Besides bridges, what are some additional applications where hollow rebar might be used?
Composite rebar has been developed to address the issue of corrosion, primarily in infrastructure. Most applications have focused on concrete highways and bridge decks, and hollow rebar is an excellent component for those applications, but we believe that we will identify many other applications that will benefit from the use of the hollow bar. We think that in five years a substantial portion of our market might be for applications we have not yet thought of.
As a company offering something very new to the composites industry, what has been your biggest challenge?
Certainly we are the only company that has hollow rebar and the initial challenge is answering the universally asked question, ‘why hollow?’ The fact is that the hollow rebar adds some functionality and characteristics that differentiate it from a standard solid composite rebar. The structure provides a higher tensile strength than a solid bar of an equivalent diameter. Hollow rebar can be used as a connector for cross joints that are normally made from steel which corrodes.
How did you get involved with the hollow rebar product?
I’ve started a number of businesses that are very disparate and I was working on a start-up with some colleagues in Canada, which had nothing to do with composites. But one of my colleagues was working with a company in Oregon that was developing hollow rebar. So I got involved with the company and ultimately took it over, restructuring and raising funds to continue development.
Before getting involved with Composite Rebar Technologies (CRT), I did not work within the composites industry at all. Prior to working with CRT, I had a few different ventures such as a coal mining business, a flower farming business and a consulting business. So I’ve done a lot of different things in my life. But this project intrigued me because the market potential for composite rebar and related products is huge, even if it’s a tiny portion of the rebar business.
What are the next steps for getting hollow rebar on the market?
We are currently performing considerable additional testing on our rebar to validate its performance parameters, as well as working with ACMA’s FRP-Rebar Manufacturers Council to complete the establishment of ASTM specifications for composite rebar. We have introduced our hollow rebar to the marketplace through participation in numerous conferences and conventions in the construction and related industries, as well as demonstrated its potential for great functionality. The general responses have been very enthusiastic. Concurrently, we are developing commercial production capacity as well as a number of demonstration projects for market development.