FRP insights, history and how to use it today.
Fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) is also known as fibre-reinforced polymer. It's composed of polymer, along with fibrous material to reinforce it. When coupled with another strong material like elevator cable or landing grating, it will reinforce the material to last longer, stand stronger and look better than if it were a stand-alone installation. Let's dive into what it's used for, how it's made and what that means for the construction industry of FRP.
Style, function and durability. FRP is your construction solution.
FRP: industry meaning and history
Fibre reinforced polymer has a long history of discovery and implementation. While it may be used widely today, it started off as a patented material used only for the military.
FRP composite consists of flibreglass and carbon fibre. Shapeable plastic is created with polymer, a type of synthetic plastic used for fibre reinforcement.
The FRP product is used to enhance the strength of metals and other materials that would otherwise not be as strong on its own.
History of using FRP
Reinforcing a matrix material with something fibrous has long been a method of strengthening a material used for construction. For example, clay is not as strong on its own as it is when mixed with straw. Clay is the matrix and straw is the fibrous material in this example.
However, FRP composite material was originally used in Bakelite - the first synthetic plastic composite discovered in 1907 by Belgian-American chemist, Leo Baekeland. It wasn't until the 1930s that FRP, as it's known now, was studied for commercial use. The first use of FRP was in the military aircraft industry in the 1940s.
Years later, fibre reinforced plastic was used in industries outside of the military.
During the 20th century, the FRP market boomed while construction businesses searched for solutions to an increase in polymer demand. Companies worked to find a way to make FRP material more economical so it could be used for construction projects.
In the 1970's, the production of fibre-reinforced plastics surpassed that of steel.
Uses of FRP
This diverse and structurally useful material has many commercial and industrial applications. When materials are reinforced to be stronger and last longer, fibre composite is an effective solution for many construction needs. Here are a few examples.
FRP is used as a film over plastic molding to keep it from scratching, getting mold and staining. It makes the trim easy to clean and offers a cheaper alternative to traditional wood.
The automotive industry uses FRP to make its vehicles more efficient. FRP makes vehicles more lightweight and therefore more efficient so that vehicle engines can run for longer. If the vehicle can move more efficiently without needing as much energy, the engine will perform better. Its lightweight material works with the shape of the car to improve the wind resistance as well.
Because of its lightweight, strength and stiffness, FRP is used throughout the manufacturing process for airplanes. Utilising FRP for molding has proved to be especially helpful for increasing efficiency.
Webforge specialises in FRP grating for commercial and industrial use. It's preferred in many applications for its rust and corrosion resistance. Panels are manufactures with several layers or FRP to maximize this resistance.
Webforge uses FRP grating with slip-resistant panels that can be custom-made for specific applications.
Risks of FRP
FRP has many applications and uses that make it an effective support for any project. However, one disadvantage of using FRP is the typically high costs associated with it, especially compared to the cost of wood or low-carbon steel. The costs of FRP usage are associated with the necessary use of specialised drilling equipment and blades.
Fibre-reinforced plastics are known to be more flexible as well. This could hinder a project's strength if used for a large bridge project. The deflection can sometimes outweigh the strength, especially when exposed to high temperatures and carrying heavy sustain loads.
While it may not be particularly suitable for long, highly trafficked bridges, using FRP for grating is a reliable method for ensuring that the metal is supportive, reliable and long-lasting. While other materials are cheaper, the costs of repairs are higher. FRP offers a reliable alternative that lowers costs over time.
Get more out of your commercial grating
From custom jobs to stock paneling, Webforge can ensure your workspace is safe and secure. Our professionals work quickly with superior materials to ensure your projects are completed quickly and efficiently.
A fibre-reinforced plastic grating system could be the answer to more safe, long-lasting stairs, flooring and walkway. There are several patterns available to meet any of your structural or architectural needs. Contact us today for a consultation.