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Types of Formwork

Formwork is the term given to either temporary or permanent moulds into which concrete or similar materials are poured. In the context of concrete construction, the falsework supports the shuttering moulds.

Types Of Formwork 

Three main types of formwork are,

Timber Formwork
· Traditional timber formwork. The formwork is built on site out of timber and plywood or moisture-resistant particleboard. It is easy to produce but time-consuming for larger structures, and the plywood facing has a relatively short lifespan. It is still used extensively where the labour costs are lower than the costs for procuring re-usable formwork. It is also the most flexible type of formwork, so even where other systems are in use, complicated sections may use it.

Steel Formwork
· Engineered Formwork Systems. This formwork is built out of prefabricated modules with a metal frame (usually steel or aluminuim) and covered on the application (concrete) side with material having the wanted surface structure (steel, aluminuim, timber, etc.). The two major advantages of formwork systems, compared to traditional timber formwork, are speed of construction (modular systems pin, clip, or screw together quickly) and lower life-cycle costs (barring major force, the frame is almost indestructible, while the covering if made of wood; may have to be replaced after a few - or a few dozen - uses, but if the covering is made with steel or aluminium the form can achieve up to two thousand uses depending on care and the applications).

Plastic Formwork
· Re-usable plastic formwork. These interlocking and modular systems are used to build widely variable, but relatively simple, concrete structures. The panels are lightweight and very robust. They are especially suited for low-cost, mass housing schemes.

(i) Permanent Insulated Formwork. This formwork is assembled on site, usually out of insulating concrete forms (ICF). The formwork stays in place after the concrete has cured, and may provide advantages in terms of speed, strength, superior thermal and acoustic insulation, space to run utilities within the EPS layer, and integrated furring strip for cladding finishes.

(ii) Stay-In-Place structural formwork systems. This formwork is assembled on site, usually out of prefabricated fiber-reinforced plastic forms. These are in the shape of hollow tubes, and are usually used for columns and piers. The formwork stays in place after the concrete has cured and acts as axial and shear reinforcement, as well as serving to confine the concrete and prevent against environmental effects, such as corrosion and freeze-thaw cycles. 


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