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General Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer Composition

In this excerpt from our newest eBook Chemical Processing eBook: FRP Applications, Opportunities, and Solutions we share some basic information on the composition of Fiberglass Reinforced Polymers (FRP).

There are four main ingredients that FRP are comprised of: resins, reinforcements, fillers, and additives/modifiers. Each ingredient is equally important and all ingredients play an important role in determining the properties of the finished FRP products. To simplify, think of the resin (polymer) as the glue or the binding agent. The mechanical strength is provided by the reinforcements.

Resins

The primary functions of the resin are to transfer stress between the reinforcing fibers, act as a glue to hold the fibers together, and protect the fibers from mechanical and environmental damage. Resins are divided into two major groups known as thermoset and thermoplastic. Thermoplastic resins become soft when heated, and may be shaped or molded while in a heated semi-fluid state and become rigid when cooled. Thermoset resins, on the other hand, are usually liquids or low melting point solids in their initial form.

Reinforcements: Fibers and Forms

Generally speaking there are four common types of fibers broadly used in the FRP industry: glass, carbon, natural, and arimid. Each has their advantages and applications. Similarly, reinforcements are available in forms to serve a wide range of processes, service and end product requirements. 10

Common materials used as reinforcement include woven roving, milled fiber, chopped strands, continuous chopped, and thermo-formable mat. Reinforcement materials can be designed with unique fiber architectures and be preformed (shaped) depending on the product requirements and manufacturing process.

Fillers

Fillers are used as process or performance aids to impart special properties to the end product. Some examples of inorganic fillers include calcium carbonate, hydrous aluminum silicate, alumina trihydrate, and calcium sulfate. In some circumstances fillers and additives can play a critical role in lowering the cost of compounds by diluting expensive resins and reducing the amount of reinforcements. Furthermore, fillers and additives improve compound rheology, fiber-loading uniformity, enhances mechanical and chemical performance, and reduces shrinkage.

Additives and Modifiers

Additives and modifiers perform critical functions despite their relative low quantity by weight when compared to the other ingredients such as resins, reinforcements and fillers. Some additives used in thermoset and thermoplastic composites include: low shrink/low profile (when smooth surfaces are required), fire resistance, air release, emission control, viscosity control, and electrical conductivity.

An important note is that FRP products can be custom made for their intended use. Understanding the intended function and services of the FRP, will aid the design and manufacturing processes to allow for an optimal finished product (i.e. corrosion resistance). Modifiers can include catalyst, promoters, inhibitors, colorants, release agents and thixotropic agents (i.e. fumed silica and certain clays).

Download our free ebook Chemical Processing eBook: FRP Applications, Opportunities, and Solutions to learn more about FRP.

More Fiberglass Terminology!

We recently shared some of the most common fiberglass terms and the explanations that could be found in our newest eBook Chemical Processing eBook: FRP Applications, Opportunities, and Solutions.

The Chemical Processing eBook is intended to be a supplemental tool to help you interact with the fiberglass industry. As part of the eBook we included a section on common fiberglass terminology, and  a few weeks ago we shared the four most common and useful fiberglass terms to know.

This week we thought we’d share four more common fiberglass terms to help increase your fiberglass literacy.

E-CR Glass- This type of reinforcement glass is similar in nature to E-Glass but does not contain boron or fluorine. Known for performing well in chemically hostile environments, specifically acidic and corrosive applications. E-CR glass is known to have higher temperature resistance, better mechanical properties, higher surface resistance, and better dielectric strength when compared to its predecessor E-glass.

Filament Winding-Filament winding is the process of winding resin-impregnated fiber or tape on a mandrel surface in a precise geometric pattern. This is accomplished by rotating the mandrel while a delivery head precisely positions fibers on the mandrel surface.

Hand Lay-up- One of the basic fiberglass fabricating techniques. The hand lay-up process uses a combination chopped –glass mat and woven continuous glass filament layered together with resin.

Spray-up- This process is similar in nature to hand lay-up and is also included in the general category of contact molding. Simply put, the spray-up process is an automated way of depositing chopped glass onto a structure. The spray-up process is particularly useful when filling a cavity or when glass mat or weave are too stiff for the design specifications.

Download our free ebook Chemical Processing eBook: FRP Applications, Opportunities, and Solutions. to learn more about FRP, fiberglass terminology, and corrosion.

International Corrosion Awareness Day

international corrosion awareness dayApril 24, 2013 marks the date of the fourth annual International Corrosion Awareness Day, started by the World Corrosion Organization; who’s mission is to promote education and best practices in corrosion control for the socio-economic benefit of society, preservation of resources, and protection of the environment.

Founded in 2006 by the Australasian Corrosion Association, the Chinese Society for Corrosion and Protection, the European Federation of Corrosion, and NACE International, the WCO is an international association of societies and organizations involved with corrosion management and control. In July of 2010 the World Corrosion Organization (WCO) was granted Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status by the United Nations Department of Public Information Non-Governmental Organization (DPI/NGO) Section.

According to “Now is the Time,” a paper released by the World Corrosion Organization in the U.S. alone corrosion is a 2.2 trillion dollar problem that isn’t going away.  According to George F. Hays, PE, Director General, the WCO believes that “We are at a unique point, when the tools and resources are all in place to match our needs and help us meet our goals. Now is the time to make government agencies, industry, and the public aware of the high cost of corrosion – to our environment, our resources, and humankind.”

The primary goals of world corrosion awareness day and the WCO are:

  • To raise public awareness of corrosion and corrosion control:  To develop and implement a Corrosion Awareness Day that is recognized worldwide in the way we recognize Earth Day. A worldwide Corrosion Awareness Day will help create public awareness of corrosion and what the public – individuals – can do to control it.
  • To identify world best practices in corrosion management:  To identify what are the best practices; that is, those practices which should always be used by the industrialized world. However, in many parts of the world, countries lack the resources to put in place what the industrialized world agrees are best practices and determine what would be the best practices most suitable for their socio-economic conditions.
  • To facilitate the provision of corrosion control expertise to governments, industries, and communities:  To work with the International Corrosion Council to make this information available particularly in the developing world.
  • To normalize corrosion-related standards worldwide:  To harmonize the standards that are already in use.

Moving forward, it is clear that Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer (FRP) will play a critical role, helping to solve many corrosion related problems.  As a corrosion and abrasion resistant material, FRP is just one piece to the large and very complex corrosion puzzle, but the future is bright.  FRP is growing in popularity, replacing conventional construction materials including many metal alloys and is currently used throughout the world in chemical processing, power generation, pulp and paper, mining and minerals, coal, petrochemical, wastewater, and desalination

Choosing Corrosion Resistant Resin: 11 Things You Should Know

corrosion resistant resinFiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) use has grown tremendously over the past seven decades in oil and gas, chemical processing, pulp and paper, mining and minerals, wastewater treatment, water treatment, desalination, and power generation—to name a few.  One of the primary reasons FRP has gained so much traction is that it has superior corrosion resistance when compared to other construction materials such as stainless steels, carbon steels, titanium, aluminum, and nickel alloys.  That being said, there are a wide range of corrosive environments throughout many industries and as such special requirements must be taken into consideration when designing/formulating FRP to endure optimal performance. 

When requesting corrosion resistant resin recommendations for FRP equipment applications, users or specifiers should be prepared to supply the following data:

  1. All chemicals to which the equipment will be exposed: feedstocks, intermediates, products and by-products, waste materials, and cleaning chemicals
  2. Normal operating concentrations of chemicals, maximum and minimum concentrations (including trace amounts)
  3. pH range of the system
  4. Normal operating temperatures of the equipment, maximum and minimum temperatures
  5. Duration of normal, maximum  and upset operating temperatures
  6. Abrasion resistance and/or agitation requirements
  7. Equipment size
  8. Manufacturing methods
  9. Flame retardance requirements
  10. Thermal insulation requirements
  11. Vacuum Specifications
Source: Ashland Resin Selection Guide

Please contact us today to learn more.

Testing and Measuring Flexural Modulus of FRP

flexural modulus of frpWhat is Flexural Modulus?

There are many important properties of Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) that are determined by international testing methods.  These measurements of properties are particularly useful for quality control and specifications purposes.  Flexural Modulus is an engineering measurement which determines how much a sample will bend when a given load is applied, as compared to Tensile Modulus which determined how much a sample will stretch when a given load is applied and Compressive Modulus which determines how much a sample will compress when a given load is applied.   Because composites are non-isotropic(as opposed to metals for example) these additional material properties are required in order to predict the behavior under load which complicates the design problem for the inexperienced.

ASTM D-790 is one such standard testing method that is used to determine flexural properties of FRP.  According to ASTM D-790, flexural properties may vary with specimen depth, temperature, atmospheric conditions, and the difference in rate of straining.  For example, because the physical properties of many materials (especially thermoplastics) can vary depending on ambient temperature, it is sometimes appropriate to test materials at temperatures that simulate the intended end user environment.

According to ASTM D-790:

“These test methods cover the determination of flexural properties of unreinforced and reinforced plastics, including high-modulus composites and electrical insulating materials in the form of rectangular bars molded directly or cut from sheets, plates, or molded shapes. These test methods are generally applicable to both rigid and semirigid materials. However, flexural strength cannot be determined for those materials that do not break or that do not fail in the outer surface of the test specimen within the 5.0 % strain limit of these test methods. These test methods utilize a three-point loading system applied to a simply supported beam. A four-point loading system method can be found in Test Method D6272.”

Another common standard for testing flexural behavior is ISO 178.  Similarly, this standard specifies a method for determining the flexural properties of rigid and semi-rigid plastics under defined conditions. A standard test specimen is defined, but parameters are included for alternative specimen sizes for use where appropriate. 

It is important to note the differences between ASTM D-790 and ISO 178 standards.  According to one well established leader in plastics testing, most commonly the specimen lies on a support span and the load is applied to the center by the loading nose producing three point bending at a specified rate. These parameters are based on the test specimen thickness and are defined differently by ASTM and ISO. For ASTM D790, the test is stopped when the specimen reaches 5% deflection or the specimen breaks before 5%. For ISO 178, the test is stopped when the specimen breaks. Of the specimen does not break, the test is continued as far as possible and the stress at 3.5% (conventional deflection) is reported.

This article was aimed at providing a snapshot portrait of the standard testing methods used for determining flexural properties of FRP

Note:

ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards.


Building Waste Water Treatment Systems—No Problem

waste water treatment systemsEvery year there are technological advancements.  New materials are available today that once were just an idea or considered novel.  In wastewater treatment, chemical processing, desalination, or other corrosive services, Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) are becoming common place, replacing conventional materials, and have the advantage of light weight (1/6 the weight of steel), cavitation resistance, low coefficient of friction, and corrosion resistance. 

Our series 5000 FRP pipe has been specially designed for severely corrosive industrial services, over a wide temperature range from sub-zero to 180⁰f and is suitable for earth burial at all depths with selection of wall thickness, ribs, and filament wind angle . 

Series 5000 is a filament wound fiberglass reinforced premium vinyl ester epoxy composite pipe with UV inhibition. It’s recommended for a wide range of applications including brine and brackish water, potable water, chlorine, oxidizing chemicals and acids, alkalies, and non-oxidizing acids—to name a few. 

This FRP pipe is ideal for salt or seawater handling and will also withstand chemicals that are commonplace in wastewater treatment and water purification, such as, chlorine dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sodium hypochlorite.

Our FRP pipe can be designed, formulated, and manufactured per your specifications, industry requirements and is meets ASTM D-2996 Classification Type 1, Grade 2, and Class E standards.  Similarly, the resins used in Series 5000 pipe meet the requirements of F.D.A. Regulations 21-CFR-175.105 and 21-CFR-177.2420, respectively.  Diameters, ranging from 1/2″ Ø up to 168″ Ø; wide range of lengths available.

As a custom manufacturer of pipe and fittings, we can design and build pipe to handle burial conditions ranging from live loads due to highway and rail traffic – to earth loads of 100 feet or greater. We even have experience with underwater installations. Our engineers will welcome the opportunity to work with you on a pipe design, backfill selection and installation methods to meet your specific requirements.

Specifications:

  • ASTM D2996
  • Classification Type 1, Grade , and Class E
  • FDA Regulations 21-CFR-175.105
  • FDA 21-CFR-177.2420

Composition:

  • Nominal 40 to 50 mil Glass Veil and/or Nexus Reinforced Corrosion Liner
  • Filament Wound Structural Overlap
  • A premium grade vinyl ester resin,
  • pigmented dark grey for UV inhibition
  • Custom formulations available

FRP has proven its worth in a wide range of applications. With longer life cycles, lower installation costs, design flexibility, and superior corrosion and abrasion resistance it’s quickly becoming the go-to material throughout many markets the world over.

Using CNC Manufacturing to Create Custom FRP Products

CNC Pultruded TubingCNC stands for Computer Numeric Control. CNC Machining is a process used in the manufacturing sector that involves the use of computers to control machine tools. Tools that can be controlled in this manner include lathes, mills, routers and grinders.

CNC Dome LidThe CNC process is relatively straightforward.  First, a CAD drawing is created (either 2D or 3D), second, a code is created that the CNC machine will understand. The program is loaded and finally an operator runs a test of the program to ensure there are no problems. This trial run is referred to as “cutting air” and it is an important step because any mistake with speed and tool position could result in a scraped part or a damaged machine.

CNC Mold1The upfront cost of CNC machines can be steep, but the long-term advantages of employing CNC technology for the manufacturing of precision FRP products, far outweighs the initial cost. 

Many end users of FRP products look for someone who can guide them to the most efficient production approach, one that saves time, money, and resources—CNC manufacturing is one piece to that puzzle. Here are some of the advantages of using CNC manufacturing to create custom FRP products.

  1. Precision—Once the design is programmed into the CNC machine it can be repeated hundreds or even thousands of times with a high degree of accuracy.  A CNC machine will produce replications that are an exact match and there will be no variation from component to component—thus eliminating human error and fatigue.
  2. Adaptability—Not only are CNC machines capable of handling a wide range of designs and materials from wood, metal, plastic, pultruded composites, and FRP—just to name a few.  In addition, CNC machines are capable of creating complex 3D shapes that would be extremely difficult if not impossible to achieve by a skilled machinist. 
  3. Programmability—CNC machines can be programmed by advanced design software, enabling the manufacture of products that cannot be made by manual machines, even those used by skilled designers / engineers.
  4. CNC Man Way LidSaves Time and Money—Modern design software allows the designer to simulate the manufacture of his/her idea. There is no need to make a prototype or a model. This saves time and money.  One person can supervise many CNC machines as once they are programmed they can usually be left to work by themselves.
  5. Low Maintenance—CNC machines can be used continuously 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and only need to be switched off for occasional maintenance. Their reliability, precision, ease of operation and adaptability ensure that the end user gets a cost-effective approach to their design.

At Beetle, our comprehensive capabilities include CNC manufacturing, open molding (hand lay-up and spray-up), precision molding and tooling, filament winding, vacuum infusion, equipment rebuilding, on-site modifications and custom manufacturing/fabrication.  We have over 50 years experience in fiberglass—in that time we’ve developed unmatched dedicated design and field services that enable us to guide you to the most efficient production approach.

What Makes a Superior FRP Fracking Tank?

fracking tankThere are many FRP tank options available out there on the market, so how can you be sure you’re getting a high quality product that performs?  When designing your fracking tank there are many criteria to consider, for example, corrosion barrier thickness, chemicals to be handled, and aesthetics—to name a few. You’ll want to make sure that the product you are ordering has been specially designed to withstand the challenges of corrosive and stringent environments, such as chemical media, high temperature, vacuum, and high pressure.

In addition you’ll also want to be sure the fabricator has the experience and commitment to industry standards to execute the finished product you have in mind.  Here is a short list of some basic characteristics of what we believe makes a superior fracking tank.

1. Corrosion resistance

Work with a dedicated and experienced design/manufacturing team that has the capabilities to deliver superior corrosion resistant tanks that will withstand hydrochloric acid, corrosive solutions, and other fracking fluids.

2. Aesthetics

Find a company that has the right technology, capabilities, and know-how to meet your industry requirements.  Find a manufacturer that has high standards, good quality control, will pay attention to details, aesthetics, and has a proven history in FRP.

3. Design Flexibility and Custom Components

Work with a company that has the engineering experience to offer design flexibility; build new, repair, or upgrade.  Be sure to select a manufacture that possesses the know-how to offer add-on FRP components, such as manways, hose troughs, roll over protection, tank saddles, well lines (dip tubes), drains, fitting, ports, and fixtures and interface with your fleet.

4. Custom Laminate Scheduling and Custom Paint

Find a manufacturer that understands your industry needs and can deliver custom laminate scheduling and paint—ensure you tank performs and looks good.   Be sure the manufacture knows how to select the proper resin for your specifications (i.e. corrosion barrier/liner) and offers custom formulations that can enhance your tanks service life and look.

5. Execute and Deliver

If you’re in the gas exploration industry be sure the manufacturer of your FRP tank and products understands that maintaining supply, hauling hydrochloric acid, corrosive solutions, and meeting deadlines are critical to a successful operation. Be sure they can work efficiently and schedule effectively to meet your demands.

Lastly,  cheap ain’t good and good ani’t cheap, that’s an expression that’s been correct 100% of the time, at least in my experience—in this world you pay for what you get, so be sure to keep that in mind when selecting your FRP products.

Implementing FRP Pollution and Odor Control for Wastewater Treatment

frp pollution controlFiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) components boast design flexibility and durability.  They are used in some capacity in most odor and air pollution control applications at wastewater treatment facilities. They have demonstrated usefulness in both biological odor control systems, as well as, industrial and municipal systems that utilize chlorine dioxide.  Furthermore, their corrosion resistant properties make them an ideal material to handle noxious and corrosive gases, such as hydrogen sulfide—a common byproduct of many wastewater treatment systems.

FRP has been employed in a wide range of waste water treatment applications, for example it is used to make scrubber vessels, pipe, ductwork, fans, stacks, and chemical feed systems.  In addition to direct use as odor control devices, FRP products are often used in wastewater applications for structures, such as grating and decking, or equipment that may be exposed to odorous and potentially corrosive environments.  One of the critical differences that truly separate FRP from metals and metal alloys is that it can be formulated to be corrosion and abrasion resistant in the harshest environments—this helps FRP achieve long service life in many applications from chemical processing, pulp and paper to petrochemical, water treatment, and mining and minerals.

According to a 2006 case study, titled, “Performance Validation of Shell-Media Biological Odor Control System,” published by the Water Environment Federation, a not- for profit technical and educational originization that represents water quality professionals around the world, FRP demonstrated it can play a key role in both structure and equipment demands. 

The pilot project was conducted by Orange County Utilities, Florida.  The test pilot used a shell-media based biological odor control system at the Stillwater Crossing Pump Station. The shell media has the desirable qualities of availability, low cost, long life, and high sustainability.  According to the study, the purpose of the pilot testing was to verify that the system could provide acceptable H2S and odor removal. A skid-mounted, modular pilot unit consisted of a bolted FRP paneled housing, seashell media, control panel, two FRP irrigation sumps, two water recirculation pumps, and a fan with unit-to-fan ductwork and a vertical exhaust stack.  A sampling program at the test site for duration of 8 months yielded good results in airflow and also demonstrated good odor removal efficiencies. 

Many questions still exist about what role FRP will play in this industry, but they have demonstrated their worth beyond this example as superior construction materials. Similarly, FRP have demonstrated their usefulness in plants that use chlorine dioxide, a powerful oxidant used for controlling noxious, irritating, or pungent odors.   FRP have many benefits that have made them ideal materials in the wastewater treatment industry.  For example, FRP have a high strength-to-weight ratio, offer impact resistance, UV resistance, are smoke and flame retardant, possess good dimensional stability, will not take on moisture, and are electrically and thermally non-conductive.

 

Five Unique Characteristics of FRP

characteristics of frpFiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) are unique composite materials in many respects.  For starters, they can be formulated to be corrosion, abrasion, and UV resistant, as well as, smoke and fire retardant.  FRP are often a cost-effective choice in many industrial applications; they have long life cycles and have demonstrated durability in stringent environments with reduced maintenance costs.  Here are five reasons FRP stand out when compared to metals and metal alloys.

  1. High Strength-to-Weight Ratio FRP are lightweight and strong; they posses a vast range of mechanical properties, including tensile, flexural, impact and compressive strengths.  When compared to most other metals they can deliver more strength per unit of weight then most metals.  Their light weight also lends itself well to logistics—it’s easier to ship and install.
  2. Customizable- Every industry has unique problems to solve. With FRP engineers have the ability to tailor or modify the design of their FRP to meet their specific requirements.  For example, consider the benefits of altering resin, glass content to optimize your corrosion and or abrasion resistance—you can’t do this with metal. 
  3. Anisotropic- Engineers can maximize the performance and efficiency of the structure when they take advantage of the inherent anisotropic properties of FRP.  Because the maximum strength is in the direction of the fiber reinforcements engineers can optimize the design to optimize the materials and the overall performance of the structure.
  4. High Tensile Strength with Low Modulus of Elasticity-FRP have high tensile strength due to its composite properties.  Engineers can specify unique resin, fiber-reinforcement compositions when working with FRP manufactures.  The design control inherent to FRP will enhance performance and can only be realized when working with composites, not metals.
  5. Ability to Form Complex Shapes- Engineers can harness ultimate design flexibility when using FRP—an advantage over traditional materials such as metal, concrete, and wood.  When you integrate FRP design into your project into your project also consider the added benefits of part consolidation, noise reduction and streamlined design.

There are many other reasons one should consider using FRP.  For example, they offer high dialectical strength, thermal cycling, dimensional stability, impact resistance, low coefficient of friction, and do not require cathodic protection—just to name a few.

The real gem of FRP is that they are customizable and can be designed and modified to meet almost any chemical/physical requirement.  This is primarily why FRP have been chosen by so many industries as the material for corrosion resistance applications—where other materials fail, FRP thrives.  With so many benefits, it’s no wonder that FRP are viewed by so many as a cost-effective alternative to conventional materials.