The Historic Development of Synstone

The World's First and Best Concrete Cladding Panel

The development of Synstone began in 1975 credited to the late George Halliday A.C.I.C. George was a reputable researcher, chemist and founder of RPC Limited- a world leader in fibreglass, resin, filament wound, polymer, and epoxy technologies. His research resulted in many developments, two of which being glass fibre reinforced plastics as well as the means to glass reinforced concrete.

From 1960-1988, RPC Ltd. (now Synstone International) worked extensively with epoxy, polyester, urethane compounds, FRP product design, structural design, machine design, production methods, research and development, and formulating materials and their evaluation. Some other notable activities were:

  • Formulated adhesives, flooring compounds, electrical insulation, anti-corrosive and chemical resistant compounds, bituminous products, hot process, rubber modified asphalt membranes, mastic and low modulus expansion joints effective down to -50 degrees Celsius.
  • Developed pre-fabricated FRP flanged stubs
  • Obtained patent on electronic digital controlled filament winder
  • Obtained patent on a wetting and tensioning device for fibreglass winding
  • Obtained patent on FRP press molded grating
  • Developed dual laminate system using FRP and PVC
  • Developed FRP transitional and permanent dwellings for the department of Indian and Northern Affairs, and National Defence
  • Obtained patent on removable internals for cooling towers
  • Worked closely with the Space Research Institute of McGill University
  • Wrote manuals for Department of Public Works for Glass reinforced Plastic Sandwich Design, Wrote Chemical Resistance guide for BASF Polyester Division
  • Wrote 270 page manual on FRP Sandwich Panels for Territorial Government
  • Consultant to Morrison Fibre Glass U.S.A, Canada's largest FRP fabricators, Public Works and Government of North West Territories
  • Developed fibreConcrete oven boards and BBQ grill stones for residential and commercial applications
  • Developed Heat Shields
  • Developed means to glass reinforced concrete

In 1975, George Halliday introduced a modified version of glass fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC). The new glass fibre reinforced concrete material had several advantages and superior mechanical properties compared with other glass fibre reinforced concrete commercially available.

Early endeavours to reinforce the concrete with glass were met. Despite this, investigators presented an array of problems. The main concern was rapid deterioration of the mechanical properties. The high initial mechanical properties were reduced to that of the matrix when exposed to weather, water, and time.

In early 1983, greater success was achieved using both calcium silicate and aluminate hydraulic cements reinforced with E glass. At the time, no advantage was gained using alkali resistant glass (A.R. glass). RPC Ltd., now recognized as Synstone International Ltd., was not alone in this development. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Dutch State Mines (D.S.M.) announced their efforts as well. The new approach enabled the successful use of E glass as the reinforcement. Initial mechanical properties maintained satisfactory over time and were substantiated by the Portland Cement Association.

In 1985 Halliday developed an improved formulation, out performing the previous composite of 1983. Synstone International Ltd. produced its third proprietary concrete with a means to reduce material cost compared to its previous compositions. Through these modifications, the improbable occurred, high quality, durability and affordable cost. The composite panel was at that time named "fibrecrete".

Dr. Ray Malekpour, P. Eng, joined Synstone International Ltd. in 1987 as Director of Research and Development. Where Halliday and Dr. Ray Malekpour conducted further testing and modifications. A final material was developed with further improved qualities compared to its predecessor "fibrecrete" and subsequently named Synstone. The technology and all products branching from it have performed exceptionally well, with nearly three decades of proven use in the harsh Canadian environment.

Prominent commercial laboratories and other official testing facilities confirmed the outstanding characteristics of the proprietary glass fibre reinforced concrete cladding panels. The National Research Council of Canada provided grants to assist the development of Synstone, while the Ontario Research Foundation, Lafarge Canada, Concrete Institute of USA, and Trow Consultants were all supportive and undertook important testing of the panels.

Synstone panels were first offered for sale in 1987 and were purchased by the Peel Board of Education in Ontario Canada. The panels were specified for use on portable school portions called Kinder Paks. The materials specified had to be lightweight but also high strength, in order to manoeuvre the building portions as desired in the future.

Synstone's lightweight panel allows for easy handling, permitting an economical construction process, while the high impact strength of the panels prevents damage during handling and use. All of the benefits of Synstone allowed the Peel Board of Education to successfully enable lightweight and rapid construction of their Kinder Pak Schools. Twenty Kinder Pak additions were made during the two-month summer break. The Kinder Pak schools are still in operation today, a true testament to the durability, life cycle, and the climatically stable composition of Synstone glass fibre reinforced concrete cladding panels.

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