Sep 08, 2022
Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer (FRP) ─ usually referred to as fiberglass ─ is a composite comprising of a polymer resin matrix reinforced by embedded glass fibers.
The strength of a fiberglass profile is determined primarily by the quantity, type, orientation, and location of the glass fibers within the composite.
Fiberglass also known as glass-reinforced plastic or GRP is used to produce molded products. Fiberglass is combined with resin to form a durable composite with high tensile strength.
Fiberglass can be flattened into a sheet called a strand mat, or woven into a fabric. Fiberglass is strong, lightweight and costs less than carbon fiber composites, and is resistant to corrosion and ultraviolet (UV) damage.
Today, fiberglass profiles are used in a wide range of industry sectors including:
1. Building and Infrastructure: including house building and roofing
2. Home construction: including cold water storage tanks (one piece tanks & sectional cold water storage tanks), bathroom utilities like shower trays and baths
3. Telecommunication: towers, poles
4. Utilities: cross arms, rods, bars, support beams
5. Automotive: vehicle body, parts, and panels
6. Aviation: commonly used for internal structures like luggage racks
7. Marine: boats and surfboard repairs
8. Electronic: circuit boards, mobiles, and audio/visual equipment
9. Leisure: bicycles, athletic shoes, sports, and recreation equipment
How is fiberglass made?
Fiberglass is made in a process called pultrusion. So, what exactly is pultrusion? Pultrusion is a manufacturing method for producing continuous lengths of reinforced polymer structural shapes with a constant cross-section. Raw materials, a liquid resin mixture, and reinforcing glass fibers are pulled through a heated steel forming die using a continuous pulling device and completely saturating the reinforcements.
In this way, FRP structural shapes can be continuously produced in an automated, energy-efficient process. The resin hardens from the heated steel pultrusion mold. The final product is a strong, lightweight product that follows the shape of the mold.
During the manufacturing process, if desired, the rein systems and glass content can be adjusted which will alter the composite matrices to produce pultruded fiberglass tubes. The resulting pultruded profile can have different features and attributes, such as high strength, tolerance to different temperature ranges, as well as flame-retardant, track-resistant, and corrosion-resistant properties.
In addition, pultruded profiles can be customized and branded by adding pigments during the pultrusion process. A UV-resistant treatment can be added to increase the product’s durability for external applications.