Invented in the 1930s, initially developed for military uses in WWII and gaining more widespread use in the 1950s, fiberglass composites have become a staple in the modern world. Naturally, there have been many advances in fiberglass composites over these years and its use has spread to many industries. But what exactly is a fiberglass composite and why would I chose to use it?
Generally speaking, fiberglass (FRP/GRP) composites offer several advantages over more traditional materials, such as wood, steel or concrete. These advantages include:
- Cost effective – especially for complex shapes
- Corrosion resistant
- Good structural strength
- Superior strength-to-weight ratio
- High heat distortion temperature
- Electrically non-conductive
- Ability to be molded to precise tolerances
Many of the traditional materials we are familiar with are monolithic materials. That is, they are composed of only one material, such as wood or unreinforced plastics, or, in the case of metal alloys, the components are so intermixed as to be indistinguishable. A composite material, on the other hand, is composed of distinguishable components. So in the case of fiberglass composites, there are fiberglass fibers providing reinforcement to a surrounding material, typically a thermoset resin. This is called the matrix. The matrix can be a number of different resins and the glass fibers can be either continuous strands or rovings, woven rovings fabrics, which are designed for specific applications or chopped strand mat, which is rovings chopped into short strands. Each of these methods offer different properties and advantages, such as strength, density, and weight, and can be tailored to suit different applications.
Specific benefits vary depending upon the exact type of matrix employed. Because of these advantages, fiberglass composites have found their way into a number of industries, such as oil & gas, offshore drilling, chemical & petrochemical, pulp & paper, mining & minerals, metal processing, waste & wastewater, and food processing to name a few.
In short, fiberglass composites are an extremely versatile family of materials that are highly customizable and offer several advantages over more traditional materials. Enduro’s line of fiberglass composite materials are specifically designed to meet the needs of highly corrosive, high strength, and high temperature environments.
To find out how 60 years of fiberglass fabrication can bring these advantages to your particular application, please contact a sales manager in your area today.