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IIT Madras is modifying an eco-friendly construction material (GFRG), eliminating use of bricks


Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum is being modified for better structural and thermal advantages by a research team in IIT Madras.

Product or concept

Manufacture of GFRG (Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum) panels from the raw material gypsum, viz., natural gypsum, mineral gypsum, phospho-gypsum or chemical gypsum, with purity more than 90 per cent.

This GFRG is a green material.

Problem being solved

Reduces use of energy intensive construction materials such as bricks, concrete, etc.

Process or technology involved

Formed as an evaporite mineral and as a hydration product of anhydrite, gypsum, Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum (GFRG) is a crucial eco-friendly component used in the construction.

Changes made to existing GFRG:

  • Increased thermal resistance of gypsum, reduces the air conditioning load on the buildings, thus reducing the operational energy need in GFRG buildings.
  • Advancement of the mineral as GFRG panels have made given it a load bearing, water-resistant property, enabling it to be used as structural part (internal and external walls) in building assemblies.

Sustainability benefits

  • Saves fertile agricultural land and energy intensive burnt clay bricks.

  • IIT Madras has extended the use of panels as floor/roof slabs, staircase waist, and landing slabs. A complete building system was thus proposed by IIT Madras, with the use of GFRG panels alone, with minimal use of concrete and steel, and avoiding entirely the use of bricks

  • GFRG have also been approved by the World Bank as being eligible for 'carbon credits' under the Kyoto Protocol.

  • GFRG panels have been approved as a green material by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) under Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

User segments that will benefit

  • Real Estate Developers
  • Civil Engineers
  • Architects

People or organizations involved

Meher Prasad,

Structural Engineering,

IIT Madras

Innovations or USPs

  • Substantial reduction in the structural weight of the building (panels weigh only 44 kg/m2) contributing to savings in foundation and reduction in earthquake design forces, particularly in multi-storeyed construction.
  • No plastering requirement for walls and ceiling.
  • Increased speed of construction with lesser manpower.
  • Saving of 8-10 per cent built-up area for the same carpet area.
  • It is expected that GFRG buildings are more durable than similar conventional buildings, as the concrete and steel are encased by the GFRG shell.

Related engineering, science or business topics

  • Civil Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Material Science

Other interesting highlights

GFRG, which is commercially known as Rapidwall®, are prefabricated hollow panels, introduced in Australia as an alternative building material in 1990.

Institution located at:



Rapid Affordable Mass Housing Using GFRG Wall Panels, Prof. Devadas Menon & Pr, IIT Madras

A six-lakh flat developed by IIT Madras

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Know more about the people behind this

IIT Madras Innovates Eco-Friendly Low-Cost Houses : The article talks about how GFRG houses are cost effective and eco-friendly options in Indian conditions.

Blog: How IIT Madras built a flat for 6.5 lakhs : The article goes into detail on how IIT Madras officials built the house using GFRG.

Make a visit to get a first-hand experience

Dr. A. Meher Prasad : For more information regarding the GFRG (Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum), you can contact Dr. Meher Prasad on LinkedIn.

Dr. A. Meher Prasad : For more information regarding the eco-friendly construction material, you can contact Dr. A. Meher Prasad through the university website.

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Connect with experts

Mr. Meher Prasad : Fore more information regarding the manufacturing of the materials and the additional changes made to the same, you can contact Mr. Meher Prasad through the university website.

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