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FRP Material Properties Put to Use

Viable solutions to complex problems—that’s what we all want in the end, right? For decades civil engineers have been seeking out alternatives to traditional materials of construction such as steel alloys. FRP, a relatively new class of composite material have proven to be economical and efficient with respect to the repair of buildings and structures in a broad range of industries. Fiber Reinforced Polymer composites are defined as a polymer (plastic) matrix, either thermoset or thermoplastic, that is reinforced (combined) with a fiber or other reinforcing material with a sufficient aspect ratio (length to thickness) to provide a discernable reinforcing function in one or more directions.

The high strength-to-weight ratio, also known as the specific strength, is an important material characteristic, this number allows you to compare materials of different mass or applications where resistance against breaking has priority. Typically, when comparing strength of materials of equivalent thicknesses and sizes, FRP will weigh one seventh as much as steel and half as much as aluminum.  Civil engineers have also come to appreciate the responsiveness of FRP materials; that is FRP responds linear-elastically to axial stress and can be custom designed and fabricated to meet engineering and end-user specifications with respect to axial compression, transverse tensile stress, and shear stress—among other things.

FRP material’s portfolio of benefits is diverse and includes important benefits to end-users such as excellent corrosion and abrasion resistance as well as overall durability—where other materials succumb to stringent and environments, FRP thrives.  Corrosion resistance of FRP is a function both of resin content and the specific resin used in the laminate.  Generally speaking, the higher the resin content, the more corrosion resistant the laminate.

FRP has been successfully employed in a multitude of harsh industrial and demanding structural construction scenarios including pulp and paper, oil and gas, desalination, chemical processing, waste water purification, mining and minerals, power generation, structural bridges, defense, aerospace, and marine —the list could go on and on.  Regarding the industrial/commercial side of things, here are a few common corrosion resistant FRP applications; hydrochloric acid, acetic acid, wet chlorine gas, ferric chloride, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide fume, and sodium hypochlorite—this list is not all-inclusive. For a complete list you’ll want to connect with a resin-manufacture or check out a manufacture’s resin guide.

The short of it is this—FRP when designed properly is a cost-effective material that has demonstrated its durability and ability to withstand industrial conditions, but also, importantly long-term environmental exposure—a key distinction that has interested many civil engineers involved in the rehabilitation, retrofitting and complete rebuilding of bridges, other load bearing structures and or architectural elements, such as, pre-stressing tendons, reinforcing bars, and grid-reinforcements and structural columns.  Regardless of what type of project type or project environment you are planning for there are likely supporting case studies available that demonstrate the opportunity, solutions and benefits realized when integrating FRP into project design.


Beetle Plastics to Attend The Chemical Processing Symposium

Beetle PlasticsWe are excited to announce that Beetle Plastics will be exhibiting at booth #117 at The Chemical Processing Symposium at the Galveston Island Convention Center November 6-7 in Galveston, TX.

The Chemical Processing Symposium’s focus is on providing the newest research, case studies, and best practices for the management of chemical corrosion with non-metallics. Beetle Plastics will be sharing information about the corrosion resistant abilities of fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP).

Check out some of our most popular corrosion resistance blog post:

Reducing Material Costs with Corrosion Resistant FRP Solutions

Chemical Handling: Corrosion Resistant Tanks and Vessels

What is an FRP Corrosion Barrier?

Come visit Beetle Plastics at booth #117 November 6-7 at the Galveston Island Convention Center, or contact us to learn more about corrosion resistance and FRP.

Why Isophthalic Polyester Resins are Ideal for Fiberglass Fabrications

Unsaturated type resins, such as polyester resins, are thermoset, capable of being cured under the proper conditions. There are a broad range of polyesters made from different constituents, all having diverse properties—acids, glycols and monomers, for example. Throughout much of the composite or fiberglass industry, in traditional laminating, molding and casting systems two principle types of polyester resins are commonly used, they are orthophthalic polyester resins and isophthalic polyester resins respectively.

As a point of clarification to our audience, this article will address some critical differences between polyester resins which have lead us to select isophthalic polyester resins for the fabrication of fiberglass materials where a polyester type resin has been specified. The scope of this article is limited to polyester resins and will not attempt compare other types of resins in any detail.

Orthophthalic are known throughout the industry as a basic resin; many contend that orthophthalic resins are a lesser product than general-purpose resins. They are typically less expensive than other resin types, such as, isophthalic polyesters, vinyl esters, and epoxies. Their properties portfolio is inferior with respect to strength, chemical resistance and corrosion resistance when compared with other resin types including isophthalic polyesters.

A comparison of polyester resins, reveals that isophthalic have some key advantages over orthophthalic. Isophthalic polyester resins are undoubtedly of a higher-grade and offer substantially higher strength, better flexibility and chemical resistance. To illustrate the important differences further, in laboratory tests, a fiberglass reinforced isophthalic polyester resin panel showed 10% higher flexural and 20% higher tensile properties than a comparable panel using orthophthalic polyester resin.

It is clear that there are substantial differences between isophthalic and orthophthalic polyester resins. At Beetle we recognize those differences and aim to leverage the strengths of isophthalic resins when fabricating fiberglass materials where a polyester type resin has been specified. By leveraging these strengths we are able to optimize the performance of the fiberglass materials and provide you, our customer, with a high-quality, cost-effective materials solution.

FRP Products Meet a Diverse Set of Needs

FRP productsIt seems like every time we look at Twitter or the news we see another story about a new way manufacturers are using FRP. The versatility of FRP is one of the many things that make it a great construction and manufacturing material. We may not make fire hydrants or underwater turbines, but we do create a lot of FRP products like fiberglass pipe, duct, tanks, and vessels.

Fiberglass Pipe and Duct

Fiberglass pipe and ductwork can be used in virtually any application with diameters from 1/2 to 14 feet and the ability to be created with materials tailored to the specific end use.

Chemical Processing Pipe: FRP pipe is excellent for chemical processing because of its corrosion resistant properties.

Cooling Tower Pipe:Recognized as an industry standard, our cooling tower piping can be customized to meet almost any requirement.

Power Plant Pipe: FRP pipe and duct can be found in many power plant applications and processes.

Wastewater & Water Treatment Pipe: FRP waste water pipes can be used in above and below ground applications and offer a number of advantages over traditional materials like lightweight, durability, and strength.

Pulp and Paper Pipe: Ideally suited for the corrosive environments of the pulp and paper industry, FRP pipe can be found in many pulp and paper applications like sodium salts, methanol, and sulfuric acid.

Pipe Fittings: FRP fittings can be custom made to suit almost any need from bushings to reducers to everything in between.

Abrasion Resistant Pipe & Duct: Through careful selection of resin, reinforcements, and armoring modifiers we have created durable, customizable, abrasion resistant pipe.

Fiberglass Tanks and Vessels

Fiberglass tanks and vessels can be designed to custom design requirements to meet the needs of the individual customer. We offer a wide variety of tanks and vessels, including:

Fiberglass Corrosion Resistance and the Mining Industry

Corrosion is an inevitable part of the human experience; presently, approximately 44% of the world’s population lives within 150 kilometers of the coast, more than the entire world’s population in 1950. While corrosion has historically been defined as the destructive oxidation of metallic materials, recent definitions include the degradation of any material and its intended loss of function by exposure to and interaction with its environment.

Corrosion can result from a wide range of conditions and thus can be characterized many different ways. For example, corrosion in the mining industry is often characterized as corrosion enhanced by abrasion—this is especially true for pipe and pumping systems used in many mining/milling processes. It’s also important to note, the wide range of conditions that can cause corrosion, and because mine atmospheres and waters are unique and vary from one location to the next, make each corrosion related problem difficult to plan for. This particular type of challenge makes material selection a critical component of most corrosion management strategies.

Fiber Reinforced Polymers in the Mining Industry

Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP), or fiberglass, is an excellent construction material. Used throughout the world in a wide range of industrial and non-industrial applications, FRP boasts cost-effectiveness, design flexibility, dimensional stability, high strength-to-weight ratio, durability, and low maintenance costs—among other things. FRP products have been employed effectively in a diversity of applications, including pulp and paper, chemical processing, power generation, wastewater management, desalination, aerospace, architectural, food and beverage, and mining and minerals—among much else.

In the mining industry there are many types of corrosion that plague equipment and infrastructure, but in many cases it is characterized as corrosion enhanced by abrasion. FRP continues to gain in popularity as a material solution for pump and piping systems in the mining and mineral industries.

Click the button below to read the whitepaer and learn how fiberglass is perfectly suited for managing corrosive materials used in mining operations.

Beetle Plastics to Attend the ACMA Corrosion, Mining and Infrastructure Conference

Beetle PlasticsMay 15-16, 2013 Denver, Colorado

Beetle Plastics is attending the Corrosion, Mining and Infrastructure (CMI) Conference, on May 15-16, 2013 in Denver, CO at the Denver Marriot Tech Center. The conference is being organized and produced by the American Composites Manufacturing Association with support from the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME).

As an exhibitor, Beetle Plastics’ primary focus is to provide end-users, as well as engineers in mining, corrosion, and infrastructure industries with technical information pertinent to their field. Similarly, Beetle hopes to build upon the central themes and goals of the forum to enhance their long-lasting relationships and to discuss advancements made in composites over recent years.

According to the ACMA, the CMI conference theme, “Digging Down and Building Up with Composites,” describes a program designed to give attendees a competitive edge as they learn about the next generation of composites and how they compete against traditional materials to reduce costs in the construction, corrosion, and mining and infrastructure markets.

Special keynote sessions and panel discussions with industry leaders will be offered along with case studies and technical presentations. This in addition to 30 planned educational sessions should make for an energetic, informative, and stimulating learning environment. Example discussion topics include; “Why Composites?”, “FRP Pipe and Fitting Design,” and “Mineral Processing—Managing Corrosion with Non-Metallic’s.”

Beetle Plastic’s will be located at booth number 314. For more information regarding how you can attend the CMI Conference please visit the ACMA website.

FRP Well Suited for Potash Mining Equipment

It has been demonstrated many times over that modern Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) are extremely durable in a myriad of applications.  Furthermore, FRP have tremendous promise in a wide range of industrial applications, such as potash mining.  Chief among the many benefits of FRP are corrosion resistance and long life cycles in extremely stringent environments—for example, chemical processing, mining and minerals, and pulp and paper.

In contemporary societies, in both industrial and non-industrial applications, we rely on complex systems of infrastructure for safety, prosperity, and economic health. The use of FRP in complex industrial has with time become more widely adopted due to their ability to withstand the harshest environments. According to an educational module released in 2006, prepared by ISIS Canada, a Canadian Network of Centers of Excellence, titled “Durability of FRP Composites for Construction,” a primary motivation for using FRP in civil engineering applications is that FRP are non-corrosive and thus they will not degrade in electrochemical environments.

Potash mining is often conducted in a low pH high chloride environment where variables such as temperature, humidity, exposure to moisture, water, and caustics are important considerations.  FRP are viewed by many as excellent construction materials that will provide protection against caustics, acids, and continuous wet or humid conditions.

In today’s world potash refers usually just refers to potassium chloride.  Potash has a key role production of fertilizer (its one of the three essential nutrients that plants need for healthy growth) and thus in food production, and is one of the crucial ingredients of the world economy. Approximately 75%-85% of the world’s potash production is used for fertilizer.  The rest is used in various chemical processes.

According to a March 19, 2013 web based article published from mining.com, titled “Inventories Up, Prices Down,” demand is up for North American potash on domestic and export markets.  In February worldwide potash exports were up 26% to 812,000 tones from one year previous.  Furthermore, potash producers remain optimistic as crop prices rise, farmers are willing to spend more on fertilizer.

With global population rising and improving diets in developing countries- potash production and other nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are expected to increase.  This is welcome news for FRP producers.  FRP are viewed by many as a great material choice for both conventional shaft mining and solution mining applications of potash because of its inherent properties; corrosion and abrasion resistance, long service life, low maintenance, ease of installation, and cost-effectiveness.  From tanks to pipe, from structural shape to custom components—FRP possess a portfolio of benefits unrealized by other conventional materials.

FRP Corrosion Control: Education Can Improve Opportunities

frp corrosionIf you’ve been paying attention to fiberglass trends you’d know that corrosion, a serious problem that pits and corrodes most metals and metal alloys, has created huge market opportunities for Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) including pipe, duct, and tanks.  Despite the many opportunities FRP manufactures have seized over the years, some major obstacles still persist, chief among them is education—or getting the word out. 

According to a 2012 article published in Composite Technologies, titled “Industrial Corrosion Control: Huge Opportunities,” lack of awareness or understanding of FRP benefits is ubiquitous among engineers.  There are a handful of other agents at work which have hindered FRP gaining traction in some industries.  Among them are a general unfamiliarity with FRP products; engineers are unsure of what resins or glass to select, reluctance to try a new material, thermal performance, the inability to distinguish good manufactures from bad, engineering departments at higher-education institutes, and economic paradigms.

Another commonly sighted impediment to FRP growth is new technological advancements and the uncertainties that they bring.  According to a 2009 study, released by the World Corrosion Organization, one such example is evident when considering carbon sequestration technology. Specifically, regarding large-scale underground storage of carbon dioxide, (generated from power plant exhaust gases), where nearly 40 pilot sites have been proposed, 10 of which are in the U.S. 

The report points out that the integrity of downhole tubing and cementing is strongly endangered by CO2 corrosion due to much more severe environmental conditions than normally encountered in traditional oil and gas production.   FRP are viewed by many as a cost-effective choice in instances like this because of their known abilities to withstand stringent, corrosive environments and demonstrate long life cycles with lower maintenance costs, but it will be up to manufactures and suppliers of FRP materials to make the case for composites and help educate and assist engineers.

More research is currently underway examining the environmental conditions and stresses that the material will be exposed to.  The many unknowns associated with Carbon and Capture Storage (CCS) technologies will need to be reviewed thoroughly—unknown concentrations of impurities such as oxygen, carbon monoxide (CO), and sulfur-containing gases like sulfur dioxide (SO2) or hydrogen sulfide (H2S) that are inevitably present in exhaust gases and are expected to be corrosive.  FRP are seen as a potential material solution in this for piping and other construction materials under such conditions.

Geothermal power production is another example where big opportunities for FRP exist with increased education and outreach.  In the geothermal industry, corrosion of plant equipment and structures within and around geothermal power generation facilities can be a major problem.  Issues with corrosion primarily arise due to the presence of salts, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and silicates in the geothermal water, which cause localized corrosion and scale formation in wells and casings and power generating equipment. 

In both CCS and geothermal, technological advances have created new opportunities for FRP.   Many experts within each of these industries view FRP as a potential material solution for a variety of applications, but to overcome skepticism and uncertainty, education outreach efforts will need to be increased. Economic paradigms have already begun to shift in the past five to seven years, as the price of  metals have steadily rose allowing FRP to compete head to head against stainless steel and other alloys.  The bottom line is that as education regarding FRP continues so will the opportunities. 

For more information on our FRP and its uses, please visit us at http://www.beetlecomposites.com