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All you need to know about FRP – Fibre Reinforced Polymer

We have been constantly hearing about Sustainability. But, how do you go about achieving this sustainability. Well, the good news is that we have a lot options in order to reach towards sustainability but, the one thing that is gaining popularity is FRP.

So now, let’s understand what is FRP?

FRP known as Fibre Reinforced Polymer are the products that are made of versatile, man-made composite materials. They are rapidly becoming popular around the world, making them a sustainable substitute since it is a composite material made of a polymer matrix strengthened with fibres.

Fiber reinforced plastic is that category wherein the mechanical strength and elasticity of the plastics are enhanced through incorporation of fiber materials.

The matrix, which is the core material devoid of fiber reinforcement, is hard but comparatively weaker, and must be toughened through the addition of powerful reinforcing fibers or filaments.

It is the fiber which is critical in differentiating the parent polymer from the FRP and the common fibres used are Glass, Carbon based fibres and Aramid for their various properties.

Fiber preforms are manufactured through weaving, braiding, stitching, and knitting. Weaving is used in making both two-dimensional and three-dimensional fibers and is suitable for the manufacture of high-value and narrow-width products.

Furthermore, bonding the fiber and the polymer plastic is the second and most critical part of FRP manufacture. It can be achieved through several processes, including compression molding, bladder molding, chopper gun, autoclave and vacuum bag, filament winding, and pultrusion.

Well, the most popular method among all is pultrusion and here is what it means.

The literal meaning of Pultrusion can be defined as a process for making composite materials in which fibers and resin are pulled through a heated die.

Pultrusion is a manufacturing technique for fabricating continuous FRP structural shapes without altering the cross-sections. Pultrusion is an ideal process for the manufacturing of either solid or hollow profile-like flat bars, channels, pipes, tubing, rods, etc.

Now that we know the process of manufacturing FRP, let’s understand the features and the reasons behind why to choose FRP. These composite materials typically exhibit low weight and high strength. 

They are so strong that the automotive industry is increasingly interested in using them to replace some of the metal in cars.  Fiber reinforced plastics can be as strong as some metals but they are much lighter and therefore more fuel efficient.

One important factor that makes these materials a favorite among different industrial sectors is the manufacturing process, which is quite cost-effective. The rate of productivity is medium to high and a ready bonding is exhibited with dissimilar materials.

FRP composites are lightweight, non-corrosive, exhibit high specific strength and stiffness and are easy to construct. Such products also help in cutting expenses on labour and installation. Since FRP based products hardly require much maintenance, they present a longer and yet more efficient service life.

FRP products also reduce environmental impacts. Here is how they do it.

FRP has great potential in maximising the duration of existence as well as new structures that can resist the harsh effects of weathering, degradation, and aging in severe environments. The best part is that FRP can be recycled and so, various recycling techniques can be implemented to develop different components.

The most interesting aspect is the composition. FRP is made of a sandwich structure. Since each component by itself is relatively weak and flexible, when combined in a sandwich panel, they produce a stiff, strong yet light-weight structure which provides a rigid and highly effective structure.

Also, know that FRP products are always easy for installation. This means that they can be fixed in any other composites, making them the ideal choice for any type of aesthetic look that needs to be achieved.

To summarise, here are few quick points as to why to opt FRP:-

  • Corrosion Resistant:

Resistant to harsh, corrosive environments. Suitable to immersion in fresh and salt water.

  • Easy to install:

Easy to fabricate on site using standard tools. No specialist equipment required.

  • RF Transparent:

Transparent to electric magnetic and radio transmissions.

  • Strong:

High strength to weight ratio compared to traditional building materials.

  • Low Maintenance:

Tough and durable, requiring zero or low ongoing maintenance.

Light weight:

FRP structures are light weight and do not generally require specialist lifting gear.

  • Low Conductivity:

Low electrical and thermal conductivity making them a safe alternative to metal.

  • Ease of Design:

Suitable to replace traditional building materials in most applications.

In the end, it is using this FRP composite that various products are being made that we can use on daily basis and are a perfect option in the long run.

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