Steel Rusts. Wood Rots. Fiberglass Lasts!
Fiberglass Reinforced Product (FRP) is one of the strongest and most durable materials in the world and is much more sustainable than steel, aluminum or timber. Due to its composition, fiberglass is known for its very low embodied energy ─ the total energy required to produce a product from the raw materials stage through delivery of fiberglass products. Pultruded fiberglass products are made primarily of glass or white sand. Only 25% of the product contains resin and other components that are blended to make the composite. Pultruded fiberglass products are 100% sustainable or Green.
F & F Composite Group manufactures Fiberfence® pultruded FRP fencing products, also known as “composites,” are a combination of:
- Glass Roving
- Additives such as pigments, UV inhibitors, etc.
- Surface veil, which enhances corrosion resistance, UV protection and appearance
These materials work in concert to provide a specific set of strength and performance properties including:
- Light weight with ultimate high strength
- Corrosion free and superior impact resistance
- Dimensional stability
- Electrically non-conductive
- Non-magnetic and non-sparking
- Low thermal conductivity
- Rapid installation with standard tools
- RF transparency
Recyclability and the environment
FRP is designed, tested and built to last for decades. That means there is less waste heading to landfills, as fiberglass products have extremely long life cycles. As sustainable resources, FRP products have become highly sought-after by architects, builders, contractors, designers, commercial property owners and homeowners.
How does FRP stack up when compared to more traditional materials like steel, aluminum, and timber?
- Fabrication and Design – The material allows for considerable flexibility in terms of design. FRP can be field-fabricated using simple carpenter’s tools with carbon or diamond tip blades. No torches or welding are required. The light weight of the material allows for easier transport and installation. In contrast, steel often requires special equipment to erect and install including welding.
- Resilience – Pultruded fiberglass products exit the dies a completed perfect product ready to cut and assemble with a smooth hard surface needing no application or coating
- Cost – FRP is electrically non-conductive, made into various products have a high median price range that is competitive with premium high grade steel products and, FRP, in this instance (Fiberfence®) has a lower installation cost and no maintenance cost, allowing for a lower life cycle cost overall. FRP does not expand or contract, does not hold heat or cold, will not warp or easily bend, is 3 times the tensile strength of steel.
- Steel – In comparison, Steel is electrically conductive, does require ongoing maintenance, will warp and bend and deflect paint as it contracts and expands.
- Wood is perhaps the least expensive of building materials, but is highly unstable and varies by type and processing, is susceptible to oxidation and degradation, harboring insects, conducting electricity when wet, easily damaged, causing high ongoing maintenance costs.
- Stiffness – FRP is up to 3.3 times as rigid as timber and will not permanently deform under working load. The modulus of elasticity is 2.8 x 106 psi.
- Impact Resistance – Fiberglass will not permanently deform or break under impact like traditional building materials. The glass mat in pultruded parts distributes impact load to prevent surface damage, even in subzero temperatures.
- Corrosion, Rot, and Insect Resistance – FRP resists a broad range of chemicals and is unaffected by moisture or immersion in water, making it ideal as a protective covering for surfaces where chemical spillages might occur. It also is impervious to insects. Conversely, steel and aluminum are subject to oxidation and corrosion. They require painting or galvanizing for many applications. Even concrete is subject to water damage. Wood can warp, rot and decay when exposed to moisture, water and chemicals. Wood is also very susceptible to attacks from insects like termites and marine borers.
- Strength – FRP has greater tensile strength than steel and pound-for-pound is stronger than steel and aluminum. See spec sheet performance ratings below, A. (2)
- Weight – FRP is only lighter weight than wood, steel or aluminum. This makes the material much easier to lift for installation or repairs, leading to lower maintenance and installation costs.
- Color – Since FRP pultrusion components are manufactured together in the pultrusion process and heated over 400 degrees in a steel die as it moves forward on the line a finished perfect product with color manufactured throughout the product. Conversely, using wood, steel or aluminum, a combination of paints, stains, and coatings must be used and will require periodic re-applications. With FRP, additionally, you can produce the product in any color.
- Thermal Properties – FRP is a good insulator with low thermal conductivity. Unlike metals like steel and aluminum, which conduct heat, fiberglass products maintain a constant temperature and are always cool to the touch. Thermal conductivity is 4 BTU in./(hr ft2°F) and coefficient of expansion is 7-8 (in./in./°F)10-6. Fiber reinforced plastics resistance to heat and corrosion makes it successful even in humid, swampy conditions. Pultruded FRP is fire resistant.
- Electrical Conductivity – Fiberglass is non-conductive and has a high dielectric capability while metals like steel and aluminum conduct electricity and must be grounded. Even timber can be conductive when wet.
- Fiberglass: Mechanical Properties — Tensile Modulus – ASTM D-638 (PSI) 2.5×106
- ASTMD -790 (PSI) 30,000
- Flexural Modulus – ASTMD-790 (PSI)2.8 x 106
- Compressive Strength – ASTM D-695 (PSI) 30,000
- Compressive Modulus – ASTM D-695 (PSI) 2.5 x 106
- Izod Impact Strength — ft-lbs/in-25
- Barcol hardness — 45
- Coef. Thermal Expansion – ASTM D-696 (in/in/degree F) 4.4 106