Fiberglass Engineering
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FRP 101

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Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP): A complex non-isotropic material, in which two or more distinct, structurally complementary substances, glass fiber and thermoset polymer resin, combine to produce structural or functional properties not present in the individual component.
    CR FRP: Fiberglass reinforced plastic is used in a wide variety of applications. Some examples are: bathtubs, boats, automobiles, aircraft, radar domes, tanks, pipe, duct, etc. Different laminates are used in these varied applications. Laminates which are designed for corrosive environments are known as CR FRP and are used in chemical storage tanks, power plant chimney liners, ducting, piping, etc. Special corrosion resistant resins and special lamina construction methods are used in CR FRP laminates.
What are the advantages of CR FRP over more traditional materials, such as concrete or steel?
    In most environments, CR FRP is far more corrosion resistant than concrete or steel. While coatings help the corrosion resistance of concrete and steel, the corrosion resistant coating is relatively thin. A pin hole can lead to significant corrosive attack. FRP, by contrast, is corrosion resistant throughout. Components made from FRP are lighter in weight than concrete and steel, which is often a significant advantage. A number of other advantages could be noted. In piping, CR FRP is smoother, reducing pump size and power consumption. In sea water piping, marine growth is much less severe in FRP pipe than concrete or steel pipe.
What are the advantages of CR FRP over stainless steel, Hastelloy and titanium?
    CR FRP is competitive with 304 series stainless steel and is significantly less expensive than 316 series stainless steel, Hastelloy and titanium. For example, the cost savings realized by using FRP rather than Hastelloy C-276 in a power plant chimney liner is typically on the order of millions of dollars.  Another significant advantage of FRP is the ease of molding complex shapes. It is often problematic to fabricate complex shapes out of metals, while it is relatively easy in FRP.
How does one determine the suitability of CR FRP for a particular service?
    Go to the FEMech Resources page and go to one of the resin manufacturer’s corrosion guides. The information provided will cover many situations. For mixtures of chemicals and unusual operating conditions, call one of the Resin Technical Support numbers listed on our resources page.
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Saturday December 9, 2023