The cost of construction has been increasing, stemming mostly from increased material costs. One potential method to address this issue is the introduction of novel composites for use in structural applications. Bulk glass may prove to be a superior compositing material due to its low cost and high strength. The introduction of bulk soda-lime glass to structural applications is nontrivial; due to glass’ unique properties, such as its relatively low Young’s modulus (when compared to steel) and brittleness, compositing glass has proven difficult. A novel concept of a glass-reinforced composite column (GRCC) is introduced that works to benefit from glass’ unique properties for structural applications. The results indicate that GRCCs can be designed that have costs that are estimated to be 11% less than typical timber construction members. Additionally, GRCCs are estimated to provide a 50% cost advantage over similarly strong structural steel sections. By interpreting the results of finite element modeling, which was conducted iteratively to form buckling load to cost curves, three regions were identified that occur as the glass percentage is increased. These regions also exist with columns made of other materials (such as steel). Additionally, the finite element modeling (FEM)-determined shear stresses have smaller values than the shear strengths of typical sizing agents. In conclusion, GRCCs provide significant cost advantages (up to 50% cost reduction) over steel, and slight cost advantages when compared to structural timbers, although GRCCs have the added benefit of consisting of non-degrading materials.
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