Tag Archive for: fiberglass reinforced plastic

Corrosion Resistance: FRP for Copper Recovery Systems

corrosion resistance and copper recovery systemsThere are many advantages to using Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP); high strength-to-weight ratio, dimensional stability, long service life, and reduced maintenance cost—to name a few.  FRP can also be formulated with enhanced properties such as corrosion and abrasion resistance and smoke and flame retardance.  In many stringent industrial applications, including copper recovery, where other materials fall short FRP has the ability to endure, thrive, and perform. 

FRP is commonly used as a cost-effective material solution because it can be formulated to withstand strong acids, bases, and organic compounds.   Moreover, FRP is recognized as having superior corrosion resistance, when compared to specialty alloy metals, in aggressive hydrometallurgical and chemical process environments.

Copper Recovery

The copper recovery process is dynamic and has been simplified over time with the development of chemical processes and other technological advances.  In copper recovery systems many of the chemicals/compounds that are used are hazardous and highly corrosive.  For this reason, careful planning and thought must go into what building materials are selected for facilities.  FRP has evolved in concert with the ever-changing metal and extraction industry and is now poised to fill many material niches.

In the copper recovery industry FRP is currently filling a niche as a cost-effective, corrosion resistant material, which can be utilized for many processes and applications including:

  • Leaching
  • Stripping
  • Solvent extraction
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Copper sulfate electrolytes 

In the copper recovery process copper is leached from ore with sulphuric acid and is easily recovered in a pure metallic form by the well known process of solvent extraction. At the center of the process is the copper recovery reagent that is used to selectively extract copper from the aqueous leach solution.  In general terms, the copper recovery process can be broken down into three basic steps: leaching (sulfuric acid), solvent extraction, and stripping (high acidity coppers sulfate electrolytes).  Beyond these three steps, the process of copper recovery has many areas where FRP products can be used; for example, transportation, storage, and general infrastructure needs. 


FRP offers design flexibility; in metal extraction and refining industries it can be used for pipes, ductwork, tanks, solvent extraction vessels absorption towers, basins, floor coverings, grating, and electrowinning tankhouses— just to name a few.   Case in point, FRP grating has been successfully used as a walkway/platform material in copper recovery systems around vats in the electrowinning process.

Whether you’re handling corrosive compounds such as sulfuric acid or high acidity extractants and stripping agents, FRP will withstand the harshest environments and is a corrosion resistant, cost-effective choice.  In the metal and extractions industry FRP has a distinct advantage over metal alloys, including titanium, and rubber-lined steel with lower installation costs, reduced maintenance, and long service life proven with over 20 yrs of successful operating experience at many plants/facilities around the world.

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

Is FRP Combustible?

is frp combustibleFiber Reinforced Polymers (FRP) and Combustion

Combustion/fire is a serious concern regardless of the industry.  Fire resistant composites are essential for numerous applications including construction materials, structural heat resistant barriers, fire proofing, and generally speaking, improved thermal stability.

Heat Resistant Phenol Resins

One remarkable advantage of using custom Fiberglass Reinforced Polymers (FRP) is that they can be designed, formulated and manufactured per your requirements.  When discussing combustion, heat, or fire resistance, in terms of FRP, it is important to consider composition of laminates, resins, and enhancements such as fillers, additives, and modifiers.

Enhancement of Phenol Resin Matrices

In some cases, resins matrices may be enhanced with the addition of fillers, additives and modifiers to demonstrate improved heat resistance. There are specially filled resins which exhibit fire retardance features to insulate and protect structures from jet fires or extreme temperatures from nitro combustion (burning of film materials).

The advantages of FRP laminates in case of combustion or heat:

  • No auto-propagation of flame
  • Very low smoke development
  • Very low toxic fume emission
  • Low heat release
  • No release of flammable vapors
  • Very low loss of strength at high operating temperatures up to 200 ºC
  • Low thermal conductivity

Fillers, Additives, and Modifiers

Many of the enhanced qualities, such as heat resistance, are the result unique material formulations, for example, using fillers, additives and modifiers in the manufacturing process.  Similarly, it has been demonstrated that stabilizers can help to mitigate the effects of prolonged exposure to heat, and are an essential ingredient when creating durable heat resistant FRP.

Hydration Fillers

Included in this category are materials containing ATH (alumina trihydrate), bromine, chlorine, borate, and phosphorus.  The filler alumina tri-hydrate is frequently used in this application because it gives off water when exposed to high temperatures thereby reducing flame spread and development of smoke.  Another common hydration filler used for fire resistance throughout the fiberglass industry is calcium sulfate.


Simply put, heat stabilizers are additives that protect or reduce the effects of heat or radiation on plastics or polymers.  In some cases, heat stabilizers are used in thermoplastic systems to inhibit polymer degradation that results from exposure to heat.  The effectiveness of the stabilizers against weathering (heat degradation, UV radiation etc.) depends on solubility, ability to stabilize in different polymer matrices, the distribution in matrices, and evaporation loss during processing and use.

Heat stabilizers are mainly used for construction products made of polyvinyl chloride, for instance window profiles, pipes and cable ducts.  However, it is also important in the manufacturing of FRP and the uses/applications are potentially limitless.

Composite Expertise

With our composite expertise and precision manufacturing capabilities, we are prepared to help you with your high-temperature composite needs. 

Corrosion Resistance Makes FRP Ideal for Handling Sodium Hypochlorite

handling sodium hypochlorite

There are many compounds used in industrial processes that require special considerations and materials when handling them.  Sodium Hypochlorite (NaClO) is not an exception.  NaClO is an unstable compound that is used in water purification, typically on a large-scale for surface purification, bleaching, odor removal, and water disinfection. Sodium hypochlorite is poisonous for water organisms- hence its use in water purification and water treatment.

Developed in France, in the late 1700’s, it has been used both domestically and industrially (originally to whiten cotton), for its stain removal and bleaching/whitening abilities. Sodium hypochlorite is a clear, slightly yellowish solution with a characteristic odor.  As a bleaching agent for home use it usually contains 5% sodium hypochlorite with a pH of around 11.

In an industrial application, it most likely contains concentrations of approximately10-15% sodium hypochlorite (with a pH of around 13, it burns and is corrosive). Because this compound is unstable and corrosive special regulations and specifications must be met when processing or handling it. Fiberglass Reinforced Polymers (FRP), provide a perfect answer to handling this and other chemical compounds.

FRP custom products are unique in many ways, but one attribute has gotten a lot of attention recently- corrosion resistance.  FRP products can be formulated with special resins and advanced laminate scheduling techniques to provide a corrosive or abrasive barrier. This is particularly useful in FRP products such as pipe, ductwork, tanks, basins, and vessels. 

How does Sodium Hypochlorite React with Water?

Understanding the connection or chemical reaction that takes place between water and sodium hypochlorite can help to illustrate the inherent attributes that make FRP so valuable.  The reaction that takes place my interest you.

Some basic information; when sodium hypochlorite is dissolved into water two things transpire.  First, the pH of the water is increased. Secondly, two things form as a result of the chemical reaction: hypochlorous acid and the more inert hypochlorite ion. 

How are Sodium Hypochlorite and Hydrochloric Acid Connected?

In some circumstances when sodium hypochlorite or any compound is used in a process, another reagent must be used to counteract it effects.  In this case, the chemical reagents typically used to lower the pH of the water (during treatment) after it has increased, are hydrochloric acid (HCl), sulfuric acid (H2SO4), or acetic acid (CH3CO2H).  FRP is an excellent material choice for handling corrosive, unstable, and acidic compounds.

FRP Has a Key Role in This Process

Because FRP products are so versatile and have many desirable attributes (i.e. corrosion resistance) they are the ideal choice for storage, processing, and hauling of chemicals.  Another often overlooked benefit of FRP is that it is a non-reactive surface, which is critical when dealing with many chemical compounds such as sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid. FRP products can also be customized to meet industry regulations, specifications, and codes. 

FRP Solves Hydrochloric Acid Storage and Transportation Problems

hydrochloric acid storage tanksHydrochloric Acid (HCL) also known as Muriatic Acid is a corrosive, stable mineral acid that is clear to slightly yellowish in color.  Its versatility lends itself well to many industrial uses including hydraulic fracturing, pulp and paper, steel-making, PVC manufacturing, and chemical processing.  Similarly, it’s also used in the production of high-fructose corn syrups. HCL, while being versatile and widely used is also highly corrosive which makes maintaining supply and hauling a challenge.  

The History

HLC wasn’t always as widely used as it is today. Fuming Hydrochloric Acid’s  history can be traced back to the Middle Ages when common salt was mixed with “Oil of Vitriol” (Sulphuric Acid) to produce Hydrochloric Acid.  The word ‘Muriatic’ literally means ‘pertaining to salt or brine’.  Fast forward a few hundred years and HCL made its recorded debut in the 17th century.  However, it was not until market forces during Industrial Revolution, and an increased demand for alkaline products, that large-scale production of Fuming Hydrochloric Acid took place. Along with the large-scale production of HLC came large-scale needs for corrosion resistant vessels and piping for production, chemical storage, and transportation.

How corrosive is HLC?

In concentrations above 25%, HCL is considered highly corrosive and must be handled with extreme care and caution.  In concentrations of approximately 35% and higher, HCL is referred to as fuming HCL or fuming Muriatic Acid. 

Special requirements for handling, transporting, and storing HLC

When handling, transporting or storing HCL it is essential that is kept cool, dry and well ventilated. Industry specific drainage, venting, and corrosion resistant flooring can also present barriers to safe HCL storage. When storing or transporting HCL in large quantities, you must have a non-reactive, corrosion resistant chemical storage tank, pipe, vessel, or basin. 

The Solution

Fiber Resistant Polymers (FRP) provide a high quality, durable, strong, corrosion resistant solution to this problem. At Beetle all of our FRP pipe, tanks, vessels, and containers for corrosive fluid services have a corrosion barrier or liner. The type and thickness of this corrosion barrier/liner depends upon the specific service environment.

FRP is an ideal solution not just because of its corrosion resistance, but also because of its versatility. FRP custom tanks, pipes, or vessels can come in a wide variety of sizes from ½” to 14’ in diameter. Also, custom FRP corrosion resistant piping is lightweight when compared to other materials and can be fine-tuned to fit tanker trucks and detailed to meet specific esthetic requirements.  The high quality, durability, strength, corrosion resistance, and customization all make FRP an ideal solution for the challenges associated with HLC.

Chlorine Storage and Handling Using Fiberglass Tanks and Pipe

chlorine storage tanksThe corrosion and abrasion resistance of fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP) make FRP ideal for handling caustic and abrasive manufacturing processes. The manufacturing of chlorine is one application where the benefits of FRP can make a large impact on the level of maintenance a facility will need and the overall efficiency of the process. To understand the impact FRP can have on chlorine manufacturing it is helpful to have an understanding of the process by which chlorine is produced.  

Manufacturing Chlorine

Chlorine can be manufactured by the electrolysis of a sodium chloride solution or a potassium chloride solution.  In the former, caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) and hydrogen gas are two co-products created as a result.  In the latter, caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) and hydrogen gas are two co-products created.

Because hydrogen is by-product of the electrolysis process, cost-effective considerations must be given to how it is properly and cost-effectively handled.  There are some common industrial approaches to this: hydrogen produced may be vented unprocessed directly to the atmosphere or cooled, compressed and dried for use in other processes on site or sold to a customer via pipeline, cylinders or trucks. Furthermore, some possible uses include the manufacture of hydrochloric acid or hydrogen peroxide, as well as desulphurization of petroleum oils, or use as a fuel in boilers or fuel cells.

Because the hydrogen gas must be cooled, condensation and moisture are always issues in this industry.  Cooling is imperative, as it improves the efficiency of both the compression and the liquefaction stage that follows. Chlorine exiting is ideally between 18°C and 25°C. After cooling the gas stream passes through a series of towers with counter flowing sulfuric acid. These towers progressively remove any remaining moisture from the chlorine gas. After exiting the drying towers the chlorine is filtered to remove any remaining sulfuric acid.

The Role of FRP

Chlorine gas exiting the cell line must be cooled and dried since the exit gas can be over 80°C and contains moisture that allows chlorine gas to be corrosive to iron piping.  FRP pipe, ductwork, tanks and other custom products can be created to be corrosion and abrasion resistant, making it ideal for handling the gas.   

Chlorine gas must also be compressed and liquefied during the manufacturing of chlorine.  Methods of compression include liquid ring, reciprocating, or centrifugal.  After compression, chlorine gas flows to the liquefiers, where it is cooled enough to liquefy. Non condensable gases and remaining chlorine gas are vented off as part of the pressure control of the liquefaction systems. These gases are routed to a gas scrubber. These vented off gases can cause corrosion and decrease plant efficiency. FRP chlorine gas scrubbers, towers stacks/shroud, fan casing, and inlet bell can also be utilized in plant design to leverage FRP’s corrosion and abrasion resistance to successfully increase plant efficiency and reduce maintenance.

FRP products are ideal for cooling and storage applications during the compression and liquefaction stages of chlorine gas production. Custom FRP components such as walkways, decking, bridges, stairs, and railings can further enhance structure, functionality and over-all durability of the plant.

FRP Pipe Testing using a Vacuum

Have you ever wondered what would happen to a 26″ diameter pipe in a vacuum? Well, we have and because we’re always looking for ways to make our products better, we found out.

We performed vacuum testing on a 26″ diameter pipe to study the effects of fiberglass pipe when subjected to a vacuum condition. The test performed was in accordance with ASTM D2924 and allowed us to determine the vacuum required to cause failure as well as the ultimate failure for analysis. With some outside of the box thinking our engineering was able to set up the test so that the inside of the pipe could be seen throughout the test. What was going on inside the pipe when exposed to a vacuum condition was one of those interesting things that we could not visualize, so we found a way to watch it. The results of the testing provided us important data about our product that can be utilized by our engineering and design personnel and contribute to the continuous product improvement at Beetle Plastics.

The ASTM Test D2924 was conducted on a 26” Diameter Pipe to determine the vacuum required to cause failure mode, and ultimate failure for analysis. The results of the test showed the failure mode was cracking along the lateral line of the inside of the pipe, however the outer wall of the pipe had no visible damage.

FRP – Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic for Corrosion Resistance

Fiber-Glass-Reinforced plastics (FRP) are used for many varied applications; from boats and bathtubs to missiles.  Examples of industrial and chemical equipment currently fabricated out of fiberglass-reinforced plastics include tanks and vessels, pipe, ducting, hoods, fans, scrubbers, stacks, grating, and specialty fabrications. One of the fastest growing areas is the use of FRP for pollution-control equipment.

What is FRP?

The term FRP, which is common throughout the industry, refers to plastic that has been reinforced with glass fibers. Many reinforcements can be used for plastic materials-including polyester fibers, carbon fibers and, of course, glass fibers. For corrosion-resistant equipment, most of the applications normally involve the use of glass fibers.

Glass fibers can be added to virtually all of the thermosplastic and thermoset resins. For corrosion resistant equipment, the resins used are primarily those of the thermosetting type. These are resins that, once they have “hardened,” remain in their cured configuration when subjected to heat-up to their distortion temperature or the temperature at which they will degrade. Examples of thermoset resins include the epoxies, polyesters, and  vinyl-esters. There are other thermosetting materials, but these four are used in the vast majority of applications for fiber-glass reinforced plastics. The term “polyester” is a generic one that refers to a wide range of materials. It can include everything from a general-purpose resin used in boats and bathtubs to the most exotic, high-temperature corrosion resins. For corrosion-resistant equipment, specialized corrosion-resistant-grade resins are available.

How is FRP fabricated? What are the advantages of FRP? What design considerations must be considered in using equipment made of FRP? And finally, what are the considerations in buying corrosion-resistant equipment? To find out, click the button below to download our updated brochure.

What Are the Advantages of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic?

fiberglass reinforced plasticNow that we have covered what fiberglass reinforced plastic is and how fiberglass reinforced plastic is fabricated, we’ve come to one of the questions we most often get asked, “What are the advantages of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic?”

Corrosion Resistance

Perhaps the prime reason for using fiber-glass-reinforced plastics (FRP) is because of their inherent corrosion resistance. In many cases, they are the only materials that will handle a given service environment; and in other cases, their corrosion resistance is combined with their economy to make them the most economical acceptable solution. Corrosion resistance of FRP is a function of both the resin content and the specific resin used in the laminate. Generally speaking, the higher the resin content, the more corrosion resistant the laminate.

Weight Advantages

Another very distinct advantage of FRP is its low weight-to-strength ratio. As a rule of thumb, for the same strength, FRP will weigh approximately one seventh as much as steel, and half as much as aluminum.

Lightweight properties are important when considering the cost and ease of installation, especially for pipe and tanks. FRP’s inherent lightweight is an advantage when equipment must be mounted on existing structures, such as scrubbers on mezzanines or rooftops, and for specialty applications such as FRP tank trailers.

High Strength

While not as important for corrosion-resistant equipment, high strength does play a major role in the design of FRP equipment for such applications as missiles, pultruded shapes, etc. For filament wound pipe and duct, the high strength gives the lightweight features discussed earlier.


Often, a major advantage of FRP is its lower cost. When comparing materials for corrosion service, rubber lining, titanium, Monel, Hastelloy, Carpenter 20, and the exotic stainless materials are very frequently alternatives to FRP. In these cases, FRP may offer both a satisfactory solution to corrosion problems and the lowest cost. There is no rule of thumb for comparing costs of FRP with other materials. These costs depend upon the application, the design considerations, the pressures (or vacuums) involved, the product configurations, and raw material cost and availability.


Too many people overlook the versatility of FRP. It is best for many applications because you can do things with it that cannot be done economically with other materials. You can mold almost any configuration, or piece of equipment, for which you can build a temporary or permanent mold. For ductwork, for example, you can make all types of elbows, rectangular to circular transitions, Tee inlets, and flanges all in a wide proliferation of round and rectangular sizes and shapes at minimal tooling cost. It is also possible to use FRP to line existing structures

What Should I Know About Designing or Purchasing FRP Products/Equipment?

To learn more about designing for fiberglass reinforced plastic or buying FRP, please download our free whitepaper, “Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics for Corrosion Resistance.”


How is Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Fabricated?

fiberglass reinforced plasticsIn this post, the second of our FRP blog post series, we’re going to cover three of the most common fabrication methods for fiberglass reinforced plastic. The first of which is the most basic:

Hand Lay-Up

This is the most basic of fabrication techniques for fiber-glass-reinforced plastics. Sometimes, it is also referred to as “contact molding.” A simple mold, whether male or female, is used. It is first coated with an appropriate release agent and the layup fabrication is started. The first material applied is normally a 10-mil layer of resin and special corrosion resistant glass called “C-glass”. This reinforcing glass is in the form of a very thin veil or surfacing mat, similar in appearance to the “angel hair” used for Christmas decorations. This first 10-mil layer gives a high-resin, low glass content corrosion barrier.

In the hand-lay-up process, this 10 mil layer is followed by a minimum of two layers of fiberglass in a mat form. This mat consists of chopped glass fibers, randomly oriented, with a binder that holds them into a coarse cloth like form that can be cut, handled and applied. Resin, catalyzed to cure at a predetermined rate, is applied by means of brush or spray gun. The resin is worked into the chopped-glass mat by means of rollers, similar to paint rollers.

When the wall thicknesses are ¼ inch or more, (typically, when past the first two layers of chopped mat), a stronger glass reinforcement is used. This reinforcement is known in the trade as “woven roven,” and consists of continuous glass filament woven in a pattern similar to a coarse cloth. The woven roving reinforcement and chopped mat are put in alternate layers, with the final layer being chopped mat.

Spray Up

This is very similar to hand lay-up, and is also included in the general category of “contact molded” fabrication. Spray up is simply an automated way of depositing the chopped glass. Fabrication still starts with the 10 mils of surfacing vein glass in a continuous fiber form, similar to a thin rope. It is pulled through a gun head that chops it into short lengths and sprays it toward the mold. At the same time, catalyst and resin are sprayed through the gun head. Thus, the catalyst, resin and glass are all deposited at one time. The resulting spray lay-up is rolled to obtain good wet-out of the glass and to remove any entrained or entrapped air. Savings come from a reduction of labor and the use of a lower cost form of glass reinforcement. For heavier laminates, woven roving is still used between alternate layers of chopped glass laminate.

Filament Winding

In this fabrication method, which is primarily applicable to round or cylindrical parts continuous glass fiber, again in the form of a very thin rope, are pulled through a bath of catalyzed resin. In the bath, the glass fibers are thoroughly wetted and the excess resin removed. The resin-impregnated fibers are then wrapped around a rotating mandrel. Typically, this is mounted in a winding machine resembling a lathe. The glass fibers traverse the length of the rotating mandrel, laying the fibers in a predetermined pattern. Typical products that are produced by filament winding include frp pipe of various sizes and large diameter tanks. Depending upon the application, fabrication of the part will start with a number of layers of high-resin-content “C-glass” surfacing mat (usually 20 to 60 mils total), followed by approximately 100 mils of the randomly dispersed chopped fibers, and then followed by the filament winding.

Are There Other Fabrication Options?

Yes, in addition to hand lay-up, spray up, and filament winding there are three other fabrication options; pultrusion, press molding, and centrifugal casting. To learn more about these fiberglass reinforced plastic fabrication techniques, please download our free brochure, “Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics for Corrosion Resistance.”