Composites for Construction: The Lighter Side of Construction

The Lighter Side of Construction


The transition to composite materials in construction is a natural one. With greater emphasis on durable, environmentally-friendly components, the need for new materials is growing, and the benefits of composites make them an ideal fit.

Known for their light weight and remarkable strength, reinforced plastics are now also being viewed in terms of their elevated design flexibility and customization, enabling unique, advanced designs without sacrificing performance. These benefits are very real and being recognized in construction projects across the globe. Stories such as Apple’s new Campus 2 creating the world’s largest freestanding carbon fiber roof and Shanghai Disneyland’s Tomorrowland utilizing composites to build a unique, futuristic experience offer us examples of the shift towards the innovative and captivating designs made possible by composites.


However, the advantages of composites are not strictly relegated to aesthetic appeal and creative architecture; composite properties directly translate to the needs of contemporary construction. Continuous-fiber reinforced composites are well-suited to weather the demand of modern buildings and provide long-lasting solutions. Benefits include:

  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Environmental resistance – won’t corrode or rust, ideal for outdoor use, near water, etc.
  • Longer fatigue life compared to steel or wood
  • Light weight makes composites easy to transport and move without heavy lifting equipment or machinery
  • Light weight also allows for building in areas with poor load bearing conditions
  • Can create parts with multiple materials to transition from composite to metal
  • Enables high volume factory-built housing or shelters
  • Magnetic transparency and non-conductive elements support modern wireless transmissions such as Wi-Fi
  • Selective reinforcement


Automated Fiber Placement brings out the best in composites. AFP systems offer a high degree of flexibility while also capable of standardizing the manufacturing process for a given part. This is vitalin efforts to expand production and maintain consistency in building components.

Total design control allows for manipulation of individual plies, laying fibers along a pre-determined load path and maximizing performance. Emphasizing strength in a specifically defined area or direction is unmatched with traditional materials and opens the door for more efficient and unique construction elements.

Additionally, processing is completed in-situ. The elimination of post processing steps such as autoclave curing further increases consistency and dramatically reduces time and energy costs of production.

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has over 30 years of experience working with composites and are world leaders in manufacturing with automated fiber placement systems. Contact us today with your construction project!