Vistap M. Karbhari
This report is a review of the use of polymer composites in civil engineering applications in Japan. It covers short fiber reinforced concrete, reinforcing elements for concrete structures (e.g., carbon fiber, aramid fiber, grid type reinforcement elements, etc.), and external fiber tow/fabric reinforcement for rehabilitation and retrofit. The report includes site reports on visits to 22 leading Japanese industry associations, academic institutions, research institutes, and construction projects. The author concludes that research and development activities related to the use of composite reinforcements in civil engineering applications have been growing rapidly in Japan. Advances in this field have not been taking place at the same pace in the United States. Possible causes of this difference include the shortage of skilled labor and the aging workforce in Japan (composite reinforcements are lighter), the predominance of the marine environment in Japan (presenting special corrosion problems for ferrous reinforcements), high level of seismic activity in Japan (requiring lighter weight and vibration-resistant reinforcements), close links between materials suppliers and construction companies in Japan, a different approach in Japan to building codes and regulations, the need to find new markets for Japan's carbon fiber industry, and many others.