Carbon fiber as structural reinforcement (La Tercera)

Refuerzo Estructural Losa postensada

Artículo publicado en el Diario La Tercera. Lunes 6 de Octubre 2008

The carbon fiber solution allows to increase of the reinforced structure capacity, through a minimally invasive procedure and adaptable to customer needs.

The use of carbon fiber as structural reinforcement being developed by the company Elementa since 2004, mainly in reinforced concrete elements such as slabs, beams and columns.

Today, exist in the world a lot of studies and tests about the advantages of this element. In Chile, the carbon fiber for structural reinforcements are certified by Sika Chile and Elementa mathematical models, based on individual tests that check the behavior of the fiber to be attached to the concrete with epoxy glues high strength.


For strengthening existing reinforced concrete slabs, is used in a traditional way, the placement of steel plates bolted and bonded to the surface or, alternatively, by placing additional steel beams that reduce light slab and reduction efforts to existing elements. This alternative has the following disadvantages:

  • No guarantees sustainability.
  • High weight of reinforcement.
  • Extensive runtime.
  • High invasiveness.

The solution with carbon fiber, moreover, not only provides the capacity required by the strengthening element, for its high strength in relation to traditional steel, but also the carbon fiber solution presents following advantages over a traditional solution:

  • Ensures sustainability of spaces.
  • The dimensions are not increased.
  • Dead weight negligible.
  • Quick and easy implementation.
  • Minimally invasive solution. Allows execution without impeding the normal functioning of the site.
  • Customizable solution for any type of termination.

Also, this technique of structural carbon fiber reinforcements, enables increased service load on existing structures. And in January 2008, this technique was extended to the post-tensioned slabs. This great innovation is a breakthrough because for the first time in Chile combines the use of prestressed steel with carbon fibers.

At present, the application of carbon fiber as structural reinforcement has been implemented in a wide variety of structures such as bridges, residential buildings, commercial buildings, among others.
That innovation in post-tensioned concrete was applied successfully in the basement of Alameda Square Mall, located at Central Station, in the town of Santiago. For this case, the slabs were designed to withstand 500 kg/m2, but took up to 750 kg/m2 for change of use requirements.

Elementa is an engineering company dedicated to the structural carbon fiber reinforcement, has the ability to propose an appropriate and optimized solution for each particular case, as it has the backing of structural engineers have extensive experience in the market.
Today, it has installed more than 3500 m2 of carbon fiber SikaWrap and 800 ml of Sikacarbodur throughout Chile.

View in PDF.