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 the 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 create the composite. Pultruded fiberglass products are 100% sustainable and green.
F&F Composite Group’s Fiberfence® pultruded FRP fencing products, also known as composite fencing, are a combination of:
- Glass roving
- Additives, such as pigments and UV inhibitors
- 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:
- Lightweight 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 is required. The light weight of the material allows for easier transport and installation. In contrast, steel often requires specialized equipment to erect and install.
- 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, and is made into various products that have a high media price range that is competitive with premium high-grade steel products. FRP, in this instance, Fiberfence®, has a lower installation cost and no maintenance cost, allowing for a lower life-cycle overall. FRP does not expand or contract, does not hold heat or cold, will not warp or easily bend, and is three times the tensile strength of steel.
- Steel: In comparison, steel is electrically conductive, does require ongoing maintenance, will warp and bend, and will deflect paint as it contracts and expands.
- Wood: Wood is perhaps the least expensive of building materials, but is highly unstable and varies by type and processing. It is also susceptible to oxidation and degradation, harboring insects, conducting electricity when wet and 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 is 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 spillage 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 our spec sheet performance ratings below, A. (2).
- Weight: FRP is lighter in 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 perfect finished product will color is manufactured. Conversely, using wood, steel, or aluminum, a combination of paints, stains, and coatings must be used and will require periodic re-application. With FRP, you can produce the product in any color.
- Thermal Properties: FRP is an excellent insulator with low thermal conductivity. Unlike metals, such as 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 the 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 also fire resistant.
- Electrical Conductivity: Fiberglass is non-conductive and has a high dielectric capability while many 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
- Thermal Expansion: ASTM D-696 (in/in/degree F) 4.4 106