Fiberglass Resins 101

fiberglass resinsThere are many fiberglass resins available and each has unique characteristics.  You’ll want to discuss specific applications and operating conditions with a resin supplier and or the engineer and design services team you’ve selected to work with on your FRP project.  This will help to ensure that your resin selection is appropriate and in concert with your service needs and specifications.  Similarly, the engineers you work with may want to view detailed chemical resistance resin data when making critical design considerations.  You can typically find this data in a resin manufactures selection guide.

The most commonly used thermosetting resin families are vinyl ester, bisphenol-A fumarate polyester, teraphthalic polyester and isophthalic polyester.  Similarly, each family or resin has its own unique usefulness depending on the application and operating conditions (i.e. temperature, pressure etc.)

Four Common Resin Families

  • Vinyl ester
  • Bisphenol-A fumarate polyester
  • Teraphthalic polyester
  • Isophthalic polyester

Provided below is some basic information that pertains to common resins used when designing FRP products for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications.

Polyester Resins are thermoset polyesters. They are versatile, offer good dimensional stability and have good mechanical, chemical-resistance and electrical properties.

Vinyl Ester Resins are flexible (double bonded vinyl group) in nature and are useful when creating products that are designed to withstand flexing, impacts or compression. 

Epoxy Resins have an extended range of properties when compared to polyester and vinyl ester resins.  They demonstrate extremely low shrinkage, good dimensional stability, high temperature resistance, as well as good fatigue and adherence to reinforcements.  In addition, they have excellent resistance to basic (alkali) environments/solutions.  Generally speaking, epoxies require heat curing to develop higher heat distortion temperatures.

Polyurethane Resins are known throughout the fiberglass industry for their durability and robustness.  They are flexible in nature and can be used in a wide variety of applications.

Phenolic Resins posses many desirable attributes in the fiberglass world.  They offer formability to complex contours, as well as flexibility. They are heat and chemical resistant and demonstrate flame retardance. They are ideal for high temperature applications where parts/components must meet fire safety, smoke emission, and combustion and toxicity requirements.  In addition, they also have electrical non-conductivity characteristics.

Hybrid Resins are unique in that they are a customized blend of various resins and fillers to create superior properties that allow you to optimize your design and product.

For fiberglass products to perform right in the field, it takes more than just quality manufacturing and resin selection. It takes a high level of engineering and design skills with project related expertise – the kind that comes from years of experience. Beetle Plastic’s engineers have the experience, skills and the knowledge, to help you with virtually any project related to fiberglass and FRP applications.

Contact Us to learn more.

Pipe Support Systems

In general terms, industrial piping systems refer to a series of pipes used to transport materials from one location to another and also encompass pipe support systems.  A pipe support is a device or component designed to carry the weight of the pipe, any in-line equipment and the material in the pipe over a defined span.

In specific terms, the four main functions of a pipe support system is to guide, anchor, absorb shock, and support a specified load.  In addition, depending on the operating conditions (i.e. high or low temperatures) pipe support systems may contain insulation materials.

Four Main Functions of Pipe Support Systems

  • Guide
  • Anchor
  • Absorb Shock
  • Support a Specified Load

Types of Pipe Supports

  • Pipe Guide—directs and controls the motion of a defined span of pipe
  • Pipe Anchor—rigid support that restricts movement
  • Shock Absorber—absorbs or dissipates energy from the piping system

*Pipe supports can be designed for vertical, axial and/or lateral loading combinations.

Pipe System Design

The overall design configurations of a pipe support system will be determined by many factors such as loading, temperature, vacuum and other operating conditions. Although there are some basic guidelines used when designing FRP systems it is critical to note that each system is unique and must be treated as such. Thus, a detailed custom design is a crucial step when building a precision FRP pipe support system.

There are many considerations when designing a pipe systems and pipe support system; design temperature, design stresses (i.e. tension), design pressure, material densities,  thermal expansion, pressure expansion, modulus of elasticity, and thermal conductivity—just to name a few.

Pipe System Materials

Pipe support systems are generally made of FRP, structural steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, or ductile iron. FRP pipe supports have many unique  advantages over metal alloys.  For example, FRP can be formulated to be corrosion and abrasion resistant.

Other key FRP benefits include high strength-to-weight ratio, ease of installation, and dimensional stability (non-isotropic). Furthermore, FRP are well known for their long life cycles, reduced maintenance and their ability to withstand and perform exceptionally in extreme conditions. Moreover, FRP pipe supports have been utilized around the world in heavy industrial applications from pulp and paper and chemical processing to power generation—FRP are cost-effective construction materials.

We have over 50 years of fiberglass experience.  Leverage our key strengths; expert design intelligence, capacity, unmatched precision capabilities and exceptional field services.  We design, engineer and manufacture a wide range of custom FRP products including pipe supports.

Pultruded Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer for Power Generation Plant

pultruded fiberglassWhen a customer came to us with an existing metal and wood scaffolding maintenance platform that needed to be replaced with a permanent material solution, we said no problem!

When designing fiberglass stairs, railings, platforms, and other structural products the unique properties of FRP make it a perfect solution. Some of the key properties to consider when designing structural products are:

  • Strong, lightweight, durable, will not rot or decay
  • Corrosion resistant, slip resistant, ultraviolet resistant, and non conductive
  • Molded in color reduces maintenance costs such as painting and coating
  • Can be customized in accordance with OSHA design specifications
  • Long-term maintenance costs are reduced

To see  how we used custom pultruded FRP to solve our customers maintenance platform problem, download the full case study here or by following the link below.

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.

Unique FRP Design Offers Solution To Flash Freezing

frp designFiber Reinforced Polymers (FPR), 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 has gotten a lot of positive attention lately for other benefits; FRP is corrosion and abrasion resistant and smoke and flame retardant.  An often glossed over advantage of FRP is its versatility; it can be made into nearly any shape—which comes in handy when designing for solutions that require a complex design, one that includes electronics, for example.

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.  In large part this is because FRP pipe can be formulated to resist abrasion and many types of corrosion; FRP will resist pitting, crevice, intergranular, galvanic, and cavitation types of corrosion, for example.

Equally important are the non-corrosive problems that exist in mining and plant operation.  One such well-documented problem exists when conveying coal from stockpile to boiler or around the mine site during frigid winter months.  Known throughout the industry as “flash freezing,” the problem begins anytime coal being transported or stored, picks up moisture, via snow or rain and comes into contact with metal that is at sub-freezing temperatures for extended periods of time.  When wet or frozen coal comes into contact with steel or other alloys at sub-freezing temperatures an instantaneous bond is formed. 

Flash freezing is a mining and plant operation problem that has been known to shut down production due to blocked conveyors, chutes and hoppers; a costly problem that in some cases requires pneumatic drilling to resolve.  One company has designed what they call a “Freeze Protection System” which consists of FRP heating panels.  The unique design incorporates a flat foil heating system, sewn into high quality woven glass and is encapsulated in a ¼” think lamination of FRP.  Units (panels) are placed around the chute, hopper, or silo and provide heat and insulation—alleviating flash freezing.

This is just one example of how FRP design intelligence and ingenuity is helping to solve industrial problems.  This example illustrates what is possible with FRP.  There is no question that FRP technology is increasing, but the question remains—how will it be employed in the future and what capacity?  In the case of “flash freezing” in the mining industry, what other ways can FRP be utilized to increase production?  Could FRP products replace steel transport cars?  Similarly, with a low coefficient of friction and good insulation properties could an FRP liner be used inside steel cars or dump tucks?

One thing is for certain; FRP is cost-effective material that continues to be used where other materials fall short.  FRP is a juggernaut; it has the ability to withstand the harshest most extreme environments and has long unmatched life cycles. While some problems may be less pervasive than others, or beckon a more niche solution, there is no denying that there are real opportunities for FRP manufactures. 

From mining and minerals, power generation, and chemical processing to pulp and paper, wastewater treatment and architectural—fiberglass is a durable construction material that has proven it’s worth, time and time again.

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.

Selecting an FRP Manufacturer: Key Considerations

There are many considerations to keep in mind when searching for a company to design and manufacture custom Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) products.  Selecting the right FRP manufacturer can make a huge difference; in many instances it dictates the success of the project–a decision not to be taken lightly.

Provided below is a non-inclusive short list of some critical services you’ll want to be sure the company you decide work with provides.  Keep in mind these consideration covers just the basics.

Key Considerations When Selecting an FRP Manufacturer

Does the Company Provide the following:

  • Design and Engineering Services
  • Custom Precision Manufacturing and Fabrication
  • Resin and Product Specification
  • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
  • Computer Numeric Control (CNC)
  • Diversity of Precision Capabilities
  • Custom Tooling and Molding
  • Product Quality Control Inspection
  • On-Site Modifications and Maintenance Inspection
  • Project Management
  • Equipment Rebuilding
  • Design that will meet your exact specifications and industry standards

There are many FRP manufacturers out there, but you’ll want to be sure that the outfit you hire has the capabilities, capacity and know-how to get the job done properly–the first time.  In addition, to this simple list you’ll want to be sure that the equipment and products are engineered as an entire system for the defined design and operational conditions–among many other things.

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

Corrosion in Soils: FRP is a Cost-Effective Alternative

Have you ever stopped to think about what is happening just below your feet under the soil?  The soil is teeming with life, literally.  Each tablespoon of soil contains billions of microorganisms—bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms.

Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) refers to corrosion that is influenced by the presence and activities of microorganisms and/or their metabolites (the byproducts of their metabolism).  Below the soil, bacteria, fungi and other organisms can play a major role in soil corrosion—for example, some anaerobic bacteria produce highly corrosive species as a part of their metabolism.  Similarly, aerobic bacteria produce corrosive mineral acids and fungi organic acids.

MIC is a serious concern for many industries.  According to the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE International) based in Houston, TX spectacularly rapid corrosion failures have been observed in soil due to microbial action and it is becoming increasingly apparent that most metallic alloys are susceptible to some form of MIC.

You may be asking yourself what is soil corrosion?  Soil corrosion is a complex phenomenon, with a wide range of variables at play—soil pH, soil type, soil resistivity, microorganism species composition and diversity, dissolved salts,  hydrology, redox potential, chlorate levels, sulfate levels, and mineral composition of the soil—to list some.  Like other forms of corrosion, it is a process that deteriorates substances, typically metal, or its properties because of its reaction with its environment.

The soil corrosion phenomenon is not fully understood largely due to the number of chemical reactions and ecosystem processes that occur in the soil involving the many existing variables.  Parallel to these ongoing chemical reactions are the dynamic changes of soil properties making this specific type of corrosion both elusive and detrimental to buried structures that are susceptible to corrosion. Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) products such as pipe, duct, tank, and vessel can be formulated to be abrasion and corrosion resistant.  This is a huge advantage over metals and metal alloys that can be compromised and damaged by corrosion.

While corrosion as a naturally occurring phenomenon, and the science of corrosion prevention and control may be very complex, there are certain general rules or guidelines that have been formulated to help assist with determining possible outcomes for different types of corrosion. For example, all forms of corrosion with the exception of high-temperature corrosion occur through the action of the electrochemical cell.  To take it one step further, soils with high moisture content, high electrical conductivity, high acidity and high concentrations of dissolved salts will be most corrosive—generally speaking.  While these rules are helpful to decision makers and engineers, they do not solve the problem of corrosion below ground.

Soil corrosion is relevant to many industries.  Anytime you bury an object such as pipe, cable, vessels, or tank you are beginning a grand experiment with many different possible outcomes.  For example, the response of carbon steel to soil corrosion will depend on soil properties and other environmental factors; this will lead to different rates of deterioration or attack.  In some severe cases buried alloy vessels have been known to deteriorate in under one year while in arid desert regions metal objects may remain relatively unharmed.

While there are many questions that remain unanswered about soil corrosion, one thing remains clear—FRP is a material that has provided viable solutions to common corrosion problems.  FRP products have served a multitude of industries, the world over with a cost- effective durable alternative to conventional construction materials, such as metal alloys.

FRP products will withstand the harshest environments from wastewater management, chemical processing, and oil and gas.  Furthermore, FRP has performed exceptionally well below ground in a wide range of applications.  In design you really have two options: you can select a material that will lead you down the path of corrosion control management or you can choose an FRP product that is corrosion resistant and designed to meet you specific industry requirements and standards.

FRP Mining Solutions Solve Corrosion Problems

frp miningMany industries report major problems with corrosion each year. It’s a serious problem that can impact production and safety.  According to the World Corrosion Organization, the estimated cost of corrosion damage worldwide is 2.2 trillion dollars which is roughly 3%-4% of GDP of industrialized nations. 

The mining, mineral processing and extractive metallurgy industries posses the ingredients for an extremely corrosive environment—water, grinding media, dissimilar materials, oxygen, wide pH ranges, and the presence of many microorganisms that promote conditions for corrosion.  According to one corrosion study released by CC Technologies Laboratories, Inc., (Dublin, OH), it was estimated that an average of $93 million dollars was spent annually (1998 estimate) on maintenance painting of metal surfaces, to control corrosion in the coal mining industry.

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.

According to that same study released by CC Technologies Laboratories Inc., which interviewed many engineers and mining professionals, material selection is the most important general form of corrosion prevention. It has been demonstrated many times over that choosing the correct material based on the environment decreases the amount of corrosion and lengthens the life span of the equipment

FRP abrasion and corrosion resistant pipe provide a cost effective material alternative to traditional metal alloys. FRP will not succumb to particulate abrasion or erosion and are often selected for their long life cycles and low maintenance costs.   Conversely, with traditional metal piping and pump systems the particulate erodes and removes the protective film of the metal and exposes the reactive alloy to high flow velocity, thus accelerating the corrosion mechanisms.

One corrosion related issue in the mining industry is that it limits the life span of the processing equipment. Specific areas of major concern due to personal safety and continuation of production include: wire rope, roof bolts, pump and piping systems, mining electronics, and acid mine drainage.  Similarly, acid mine drainage can cause corrosion problems with pipes, well screens, damns, bridges, water intakes and pumps.

Although protective coatings, corrosion inhibitors, and electrochemical techniques such as cathodic protection are valuable and useful ways to deal with corrosion—they are a short term fix.  For example, a 2-coat alkyd/no blasting (4 mil) coating on a metal surface may need touch-up yearly and replacement every two years.  Similarly, a 3-coat epoxy/with blasting (10 mil) will need touch-ups every 4 years and replacement after 8 years.  On the other hand, FRP have a well documented service life of 35+ years (in some cases more) in harsh corrosive environments throughout the world in mining and minerals, chemical processing, power generation, wastewater, desalination, and pulp and paper.

While FRP does not solve every material problem for every industry, it cannot be denied that it is a cost-effective material that performs exceptionally well in extremely harsh environments, including mining sites.  FRP offers design flexibility with constructability.

FRP can be formulated to be abrasion and corrosion resistant. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio, dimensional stability, and offers superior durability—among much else.  Whether you are searching for a new design, material upgrade, or custom components that will interface with existing infrastructure or layout—FRP offer a multitude of benefits for many applications.