GRP is used because of its lightweight and strong structure and this material – as its name suggests – is a mixture of plastic woven with very small and thin pieces of glass fibre.
The material is a good insulator and its strength compared to its weight easily outshines many metals. Add to this its favourable cost, it becomes easy to see why this GRP product is used in so many industries.
So how is glass reinforced plastic made?
This glass used in this material is made from gradually heating a mixture including limestone and silica sand, amongst other ingredients. It is very important at the heating stage that it's temperature is managed carefully to ensure a smooth and robust end material which does not have any defects.
According to the Fibre Reinforced Plastic Resource Centre, the thin strands of glass fibre is made from passing the heated material through fine brushing machines while the mixture is cooling. The resulting material can either be made into glass fibre matting or woven cloth.
Once the fibreglass stands have been made, these can then be used to build up the structure of a product, for example, a canoe – usually from a mould – with an outer made of polyester plastic. The fibreglass is secured with resin.
It is the multiple thin layers of fibreglass which give the final strength and durability; especially when laid in multi-directions across the mould.
Most commonly GRP is used for the likes of watercraft including bulkheads and canoes. Its weight allows for easier construction with it being easier to transport and lift. The process of moulding also allows for asymmetric shapes to be manufactured easily and efficiently.
The product is also used for housing, enclosures and storage tanks such as septic tanks, simply because of its durability.
The material is built to last and can withstand high levels of corrosion – perfect for use outdoors where it is exposed to the elements. Even the likes of swimming pool bases and are easily manufactured with this material; making many products far more affordable.
The most important consideration when thinking of GRP and fibreglass is in its production. If at any point the process is not carried out to the highest quality – especially when heating the various materials needed to make the glass stands – the overall durability and strength will without a doubt be lost.
Kingsley Plastics are specialists in GRP product design, manufacture and installation and produce a wide variety of products from fire extinguisher stands and gas meter boxes to gatehouses and office buildings.
For more details visit Kingsley Plastic Limited or call them on 01837 83154.