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5 Things You Should Know About Corrosives and FRP

corrosion resistanceIn our last post we talked about the need for education about FRP, and now we’re putting our money where our mouth is. Here are the 5 things you need to know about FRP and corrosives.

  1. When acids and bases attack and corrode metals; dangerous gases can often be given off.  For example, common bases such as sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide in concentration have been known to attack aluminum, zinc, galvanized metal and tin and give of hydrogen gas. 

FRP can be formulated to be corrosion resistant and have demonstrated long life cycles in extreme industrial environments.  For example, FRP gas scrubbing systems, at a phosphate fertilizer plant, exposed to aggressive flu gases consisting of hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, and phosphate dust at 60˚ C had a service life of 50 years—stainless steel could not withstand the highly corrosive mixture.  There are many more examples.

  1. Hydrogen gas is flammable and will burn or explode if an ignition source is present. 

Because FRP will not corrode there is no risk of releasing flammable gases such as hydrogen.  Hydrogen gas forms explosive mixtures with air if it is 4–74% concentrated and with chlorine if it is 5–95% concentrated. H2 mixtures can spontaneously explode by spark, heat or sunlight if proper conditions are present. H2 reacts with every oxidizing element. Hydrogen can react spontaneously and violently at room temperature with chlorine and fluorine.  Why take a chance?

  1. Contact with corrosives can damage containers, equipment, installations, and building components made from unsuitable materials.

FRP will not corrode; it will thrive and endure in stringent conditions where other materials fall short or fail.  FRP has been used successfully in a wide variety of applications in chemical processing, mining and minerals, nuclear, desalination, waste water treatment, nuclear, pulp and paper, and petrochemical. 

  1. Some corrosives are flammable, combustible, and can easily catch fire, burn, or explode.

FRP offer versatility, durability, design flexibility and superior containment.  FRP can be formulated to be corrosion and abrasion resistant, as well as, smoke and fire retardant.  FRP are not combustible.  FRP will not spark and will enhance the safety of your project.

  1. Corrosives can be incompatible with other chemicals.  They may undergo dangerous chemical reactions that yield or give off toxic fumes.

Why take a chance with toxic fumes, dangerous chemical reactions, and explosions? Use the proper material to protect your equipment, installations…and your future.  Protect your investments, enhance safety and employ FRP—the cost-effective choice that will solve many of your corrosion problems. 


FRP for Structural Repairs – The Advantages of Structural FRP

frp repairRecently featured by Energy-Tech Magazine, “ASME: Repair of pressure boundary and structural components with composites,” by John Charest is a great overview of the advantages of FRP when used for structural repairs.

“Deterioration of components and structures at power generating facilities has caused unscheduled plant outages, personnel safety concerns and significant impact on operating budgets. However, a new technology is available that can increase the usable life of components and structures, while significantly reducing the economic burden normally associated with repair or replacement options.” The new technology? Fiberglass reinforced polymers (FRP) of course.

FRP repairs offer a number of advantages over other material choices. FRPs tend to be light weight but strong and, “are comprised of high strength fibers in an epoxy matrix… These long fibers tend to have fewer defects, which leads to stiffer, stronger properties.” While strength is undoubtedly a huge advantage, one of the biggest advantages is the ease with which FRP repairs can be performed. “The work is performed quickly and can often be completed during regularly scheduled shutdown times.” The ability to perform repairs without plant downtime is a huge boon. The exact repair procedure is determined by the type of repair needed and the surface material the FRP will be applied over.

According to Charest, “Many of the FRP installations currently in-service at power generation facilities have been utilized to repair piping. Primarily, these installations have been made by applying the FRP on the inside of the piping. These applications have successfully provided pressure boundary and structural integrity.” FRP can also be used as, “a structurally acceptable method to rehabilitate aging plant equipment, piping and structures,” says Charest.

High strength-to-weight ratio, dimensional stability, long service life, and reduced maintenance cost combined with ease of installation make FRP an ideal repair material.

To read the full article, click here.

FRP Sustainability, Green Construction and LEED

frp sustainabilitySustainability is big word these days.  It can mean a lot of different things, depending on the context—it can also be overused or misunderstood.  In recent years the demand for more green construction or sustainable construction has been driven largely by consumers in the construction sector.

In this context, sustainable construction aims at reducing the environmental impact of a building of its entire lifetime, while optimizing its economic viability.  The benefits of green construction are many; lower operating costs, increased asset value, reduced waste sent to landfills, conservation of energy and water, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, for example. 

That’s all fine and well—but have you ever stopped to think how Fiber Reinforced Polymers fit into this equation?   Currently, Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) products are a cost-effective material choice in many green construction circumstances. Furthermore, as their international recognition and reputation as an ecologically sustainable product continues to grow, so do the uses and applications.  For FRP manufactures this is good news.

The LEED Program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to provide a framework for implementing practical and measurable green building solutions. The LEED green building rating system is the internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Voluntary participation in the program by builders demonstrates initiative to develop high performance sustainable buildings with energy savings, lower carbon footprints, and environmental responsibility. 

FRP products are gaining more attention as a LEED recognized, or certifiable environmentally sustainable building material. For example FRP products can now qualify for many credits under the LEED building rating system such as Energy Performance, Regional Materials, and Heat Island Effect—to name a few.

When composites are compared to other traditional materials such as concrete, wood or terra cotta, the total life-cycle assessment of fiberglass contributes to its viability as a green building product. When consideration is taken for the energy consumed in production, installation and environmental sustainability, fiberglass products generate a much smaller impact than other traditional materials and can be used in ways that are less energy or carbon intensive.

Energy Performance

One of the key attributes of composites, which makes it a LEED recognized green material, is its thermal integrity—minimizes heat loss during winter and heat gain during summer. 

Key Green Building Considerations

  • Light Weight- reduces transportation costs, less need for heavy lifting on-site
  • Less Dead Weight-less structural material is required, reduces resource consumption
  • Long Lifespan-durability, resists environmental degradation
  • Resistance- corrosion, rot, mildew, mold, insects; reduces replacement costs and the use of toxic chemicals used in maintenance
  • Maximizes Energy Performance
  • Environmentally Responsible Material Choice- LEED recognized

FRP architectural components are highly desirable for their design flexibility, high strength-to weight ratio, cost-effectiveness, flame retardance, and overall durability.  Added to the list now is the potential for internationally recognized LEED credits.  For example, as a builder you can achieve credits (on path to certification) for using locally or regionally sourced materials, innovative design, and moisture management components (e.g. our fiberglass products are impervious to water, and will not rot or swell) —among much else. 

There are many categories, classifications, credentials, prerequisites, and credits to understand for the voluntary LEED Certification and the onus is always on the builder.  With single-source design-build capabilities we can help you.  We offer a wide variety of custom composite products/components for a wide range of architectural applications and green construction projects.  Contact us.

LEED: http://new.usgbc.org/leed


Soaring to New Heights with Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer

fiberglass reinforced polymerIn the September-October 2012 issue of Composites Manufacturing we found an awesome rundown of some of the most impressive buildings the world over that are using  fiberglass reinforced polymer, FRP, to achieve their staggering height. “FRP Reaches Record Heights,” (pages 6-7) showcases six fabulous buildings incorporating, or planning to incorporate, FRP composite reinforcement to add the strength necessary to not just break height records, but also to repair damage and withstand earthquakes.

First on their list is the Tokyo Skytree, the second tallest structure in the world. This 2,080 foot tall tower is a telecommunications tower and observation deck that makes use of FRP for its earthquake withstanding strength. The tallest structure, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, uses FRP in its concrete system to reach its 2,712 feet. The Makkah Royal Hotel Clock Tower in Saudi Arabia is the largest clock tower in the world, and the fourth largest structure, includes, “over 40,000 square-meters of FRP panels and cladding” in its exterior structure.

The article also lays out three future projects that are planning on relying on FRP, one of which is Jeddah’s Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia which is slated to be the new tallest building in the world when it completes construction in 2017. “Although the specifics of the project have not been announced, it is anticipated that the building will use similar advanced reinforced concrete and tools to those used in the making of the Burji Khalifa.” One World Trade Center and Wood Innovation Design Center in British Colombia are two more future building projects planning on using FRP to reach farther and stand stronger.