The early part of the 20th century ushered in the manufacturing of fiberglass commercially, however the glass melting and stretching process was a well-known practice in ancient Egypt. In our time, fiberglass yarn has evolved to be the world’s best textile reinforcements, a process that is constantly improving every year. If you want to learn about fiberglass fabrication, read on!
What is Fiberglass?
Fiberglass is really the reinforcement of glass fibers into reinforced plastic. The glass is the same as the ones used in windows and the drinking glasses in your kitchen. The process involves heating the glass until it melts, which is then forced through super-thin holes, thereby creating very thin glass filaments- so thin that only microns is appropriate for measuring them.
The process also involves flattening the glass fiber into a sheet, and weaving into fabric or it is arranged randomly. Different types of glass can be used to produce the glass fibers, but this will depend on the intended use.
Fiberglass is strong, lightweight, and less brittle and can be shaped into different intricate shapes. That is why it is commonly used in roofing, bathtubs, aircrafts, boats, exterior motor vehicle parts, and other applications.
Types of Fiberglass:
The raw materials used and the amount used result in classifying fiberglass into the following types.
A-glass: This glass is also referred to as alkali glass and is chemical resistant. It is almost as the glass used for windows. Some countries across the world use it to construct process equipment.
AE-glass: This glass is resistant to alkali.
C-glass: Known also as chemical glass, the C-glass is highly resistant to chemical impact.
E-glass: Referred to as electrical glass, E-glass is an excellent insulator of electricity.
S- glass: This type is renowned for its mechanical properties. Another name for this type is structural glass.
Fiberglass is available in different forms to match the many different applications. The chief ones are:
Fiberglass Tape: These tapes consist of yarns prepared from glass fiber. They are recognized for their thermal insulation properties. Fiberglass tapes are used for a number of purposes in covering vessels, hot pipelines and more.
Fiberglass Cloth: This is a smooth material, that is available in several different options, such as filament yarns and glass fibers. Fiberglass cloth is used extensively as heat screen, in fire curtains among others.
Fiberglass Rope: Braided from glass fiber yarns, these ropes are used for packing purposes. Read more about fiberglass here.
Properties of Fiberglass
Fiberglass has several characteristics, which have increased its popularity over the years. Here are some of the outstanding advantages that fiberglass offers.
Easy to Mold
Although fiberglass is a type of glass, it can be molded. This molding ability allows manufacturers to design and create a variety of products in whatever shape and size that is necessary. This clearly explains why fiberglass is used extensively in many industries.
Fiberglass is strong and durable and that is why it is used for so many products such as pools and decking. The durability and strength of fiberglass make it a dependable material, which can hold up heavy weights and withstand forceful impact.
Resistant to Moisture
Have you ever wondered why fiberglass is a popular material used in several water- related products? Fiberglass is used to make fish tanks, spas, kayaks and surfboards. Fiberglass is moisture resistant so it will not warp or rust when exposed to water or moisture.
Can Withstand Cold and Hot Weather
Fiberglass has the capability to resist extreme cold temperature during winter and the sun’s heat during summer. Your fiberglass items will be safe if you leave them outdoors regardless of the weather conditions. In addition, UV rays will not affect fiberglass materials even if you leave them out in the sun for long hours.
Fiberglass is a welcome relief for workers who use this material. The reason is it has a very high strength- to- weight ratio. What this means is that fiberglass is as strong as other metal counterparts are, but it has a lower weight. Therefore, workers find it easier to carry fiberglass pieces that need to be installed outdoors.
This lightweight material is well suited for watercraft such as kayaks. The reason is that they are better able to glide through the water easily because they have no heavyweights to contend with. Paddling on kayak made from fiberglass is much easier than other heavyweight materials.
Since fiberglass is very smooth it is the ideal material for decking. In addition, it supports ease in conduit installations because the smoothness allows you to pull cables through the conduits allowing for a speedy installation.
The smoothness causes a kayak to pierce through the water more, making it easier to paddle, which makes you go faster.
Requires Minimal Maintenance
Although fiberglass is an unusual type of material, it still requires specific maintenance procedures. When used for decking, the maintenance procedure required is vacuuming. This will remove the dust and similar debris. You can also get rid of dirt and soil if you use a damp mop. Furthermore, if you want your decking to have a superb shine try detergent and water.
Who wouldn’t be fascinated with any material that is stain resistant? Well, fiberglass is a stain resistant material, because of its non-porous properties. With fiberglass, you won’t have to worry about those pesky burrowing insects.
Today, many manufacturers use fiberglass to produce various types of products including equipment and tools. Fiberglass products are used by different industries across the globe. Fiberglass is used to build windows, pools, tanks, boats, surfboards, and kayaks. Other products constructed from fiberglass include decking, basketball boards, waste materials and conduits for cables.
It is not surprising then, that you will find fiberglass products everywhere. It is durable, easy to use and easy to maintain. If you are a consumer and you are shopping for products, you might want to check out if there is a fiberglass option for the product you want to purchase. If you are a manufacturer, then you should consider if fiberglass is ideally suited for your production purposes.