Foundation, Concrete and Earthquake Engineering

Glass-Reinforced Plastic (Grp) And Its Usages

Glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), is a composite material or fibre reinforced plastic made of a plastic reinforced by fine fibers made of glass. Like graphite-reinforced plastic, the composite material is commonly referred to by the name of its reinforcing fibers (fiberglass), an example of part-for-whole metonymy.

First usages of GRP

GRP was originally developed in the UK during the Second World War as a replacement for the molded plywood used in aircraft radomes, its first main civilian application was for building of boats, where it gained acceptance in the 1950s, and now plays a dominant role. GRP is a versatile material with many uses.

Telecommunications industry

GRP is used in the telecommunications industry for shrouding the visual appearance of antennas, due to its RF permeability and low signal attenuation properties. It may also be used to shroud the visual appearance of other equipment where no signal permeability is required, such as equipment cabinets and steel support structures, due to the ease with which it can be molded, manufactured and painted to custom designs, to blend in with existing structures or brickwork.

Storage Tanks

Storage tanks can be made of GRP with capacities up to about 300 tonnes. The smaller tanks can be made with chopped strand mat cast over a thermoplastic inner tank which acts as a preform during construction. Much more reliable tanks are made using woven mat or filament wound fibre with the fibre orientation at right angles to the hoop stress imposed in the side wall by the contents. They tend to be used for chemical storage because the plastic liner (often polypropylene) is resistant to a wide range of strong chemicals. GRP tanks are also used for septic tanks.

House building

GRP also used in the house building market for the production of roofing laminate, door surrounds, over-door canopies, window canopies and dormers, chimneys, coping systems, heads with keystones and sills. The use of GRP for these applications provides for a much faster installation and due to the reduced weight manual handling issues are reduced. With the advent of high volume manufacturing processes it is possible to construct GRP brick effect panels which can be used in the construction of composite housing. These panels can be constructed with the appropriate insulation which reduces heat loss.

For Piping

GRP and GRE pipe systems can be used for a variety of applications, above and under the ground.

Firewater systems

Cooling water systems

Drinking water systems

Waste water systems/Sewage systems

Gas systems

Chopped Strand Mat

Chopped strand mat or CSM is a form of reinforcement used in GRP. It consists of glass-fibres laid randomly across each other and held together by a binder. It is typically processed using the hand lay-up technique, where sheets of material are placed in a mold and brushed with resin. Because the binder dissolves in resin, the material easily conforms to different shapes when wetted out. After the resin cures, the hardened product can be taken from the mold and finished. Using chopped strand mat gives a GRP with isotropic in-plane material properties.

GRP is an immensely versatile material which combines lightweight with inherent strength to provide a weather resistant finish, with a variety of surface texture and an unlimited colour range available. 

1 comment:

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