We talk about metal a lot, but when it comes to grating, it's not the only high-quality, high-strength material that can be used. Fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) is also a fantastic grating material and features many properties that make it a good alternative to metal. Here you'll find everything you need to know about FRP.
What is FRP?
FRP is made of composite plastics and reinforced with fibres.
Fibre reinforced plastic is made of composite plastics and reinforced with fibres, in this case, glass. Occasionally other materials (carbon and aramid) are used for reinforcement, but this depends primarily on the application. Fibre reinforced plastic was developed in the 1930s - partly by dedicated research into a strong, mouldable material for aviation, and partly by mistake. Large scale manufacturing began in the 1950s and while the manufacturing process has been tweaked and updated, FRP has become a huge industry and contributed significantly to many others.
How is FRP made?
Composite plastics are produced by combining materials with the desired structural properties. The resulting product is referred to as the matrix (no, not that Matrix), and is typically very hard but not necessarily strong. The strength and elasticity come from adding the reinforcement - glass fibres. These fibres are laid out, and the resin (thermosetting plastic) is added before being shaped by the mould. The FRP is then hardened by heat and pressure, and the result is FRP. Keep in mind, this is a highly simplified account and the process varies greatly depending on base materials and application.
How strong is FRP?
FRP is commonly thought of as one of the most durable materials in the world, particularly when considering its extremely low weight. It also has a considerable lifespan, and once it's installed it requires little maintenance. Webforge produce fibre reinforced plastic in a profile designed to evenly distribute the load, making it an ideal grating material.
What are the other benefits of FRP?
Outside of its superior strength and low weight, FRP has a number of other advantages. Perhaps one of the most useful properties is corrosion resistance. It's the only material that can stand up under prolonged exposure to corrosive chemicals, harsh weather and temperature fluctuations. Generally speaking, the greater the ratio of resin to glass, the greater corrosion resistance. Webforge produce our FRP with a high ratio, making a material that is extremely resistant to corrosion.
The combination of high strength, corrosion-resistance and low cost make FRP the ultimate grating material for flooring or walkways subject to high stress. Get in touch with Webforge to find out more.