5 Industries that Use FRP Structural Materials

FRP (fiberglass-reinforced polymer) is a composite material, often used in construction. It is strong, corrosion-resistant, and easier to work with than steel, and also far more lightweight. The lightweight nature of FRP is part of what makes it so useful as a structural material. This article will outline some of the key attributes of FRP and the industries that use it.

Main Features of FRP

FRP structural materials have a low weight whilst also being incredibly strong. They also have excellent fatigue, compression, and impact properties. FRP structural materials are also beneficial because they have impressive electrical properties and high environmental resistance.

FRP Structural Materials in the Construction Industry

FRP structural materials are often used in the construction of pedestrian bridges and paths and may be employed to retrofit existing structures. FRP can reinforce structures with slabs, beams, or columns, repairing damage or increasing the load-bearing capacity.

Fitting older constructions with FRP structural materials is much more cost-effective than rebuilding the entire structure. Particularly in situations where the building needs to bear a heavier load than it was originally designed for.

FRP structural materials are often used for signboards, walkways, guardrails, and drainage systems. They are also used for utility pipelines structures for water and sewage and can even be used for prefabricated houses.

Aerospace Use of FRP Structural Materials

Aerospace is another industry that frequently uses FRP structural materials. The fibers in FRP reduce the weight by 25% vs. aluminum sheets, however, FRP is just as strong or stronger in some instances. FRP structural materials provide fantastic tensile strength, tolerate harsh environments and extreme temperatures. They do not expand in the heat and are extremely stiff. Whilst they may have a higher initial cost, they require much less maintenance and repairs.

The lower weight of FRP structural materials also minimizes the fuel consumption of aircraft. FRP structural materials can also offer complex molded part production, this decreases the overall amount of parts by up to 95%. This in turn makes the entire production of the aircrafts much faster and cheaper.

Industrial Catwalks and Walkways

Raised industrial catwalks and walkways are used to solve space-saving issues and increase operating efficiency. Usually, catwalks are made from wood or metal. However, FRP structural materials can be used instead to increase corrosion resistance and minimize maintenance requirements. FRP structural materials are also anti-slip, meaning they can be used in marine environments.

Plant Growth Chambers

FRP structural materials have been used in the agricultural sector as an evolution of greenhouses. FRP can be used for creating plant growth chambers in distressed or remote locations that it is difficult to access with heavy materials. FRP structural materials are used to form a self-contained unit that resembles a functioning, sealed ecosystem.

Read more about how SEED International used FRP structural materials in this case study.

Monitoring Shelters in Electrical Power Companies

In electrical power companies, it is critical that flue glass emissions are tracked. Monitoring shelters are one means of monitoring emissions, however, they must be built on top of existing structures and as such need to be lightweight. FRP structural materials are well-suited to such applications due to their high strength-to-weight ratio.

Read more about Duke Energy’s use of FRP structural materials in this case study.

FRP Structural Materials from Strongwell

Strongwell has a wealth of experience in the applications of FRP structural materials. If you would like to find out more about the many ways they can be used, visit the case studies section on the Strongwell website.