Advantages of FRP Composites
Environmental Advantages of FRP Composites
Modern-day FRP or fibreglass reinforced polymers are viewed as superior new aged material due to the highly advantageous properties they carry. Some of the notable features of these composites include excellent thermo-mechanical properties, high strength-to-weight ratio, and extensive corrosion resistant characteristics. The benefits of FRP composites can be realised from these physical characteristics and their potential in developing structural systems with service lives exceeding traditional materials.
Beneficial Features of FRP1:
- FRP is light in weight. This feature enables one to save with reduced construction, installation and maintenance costs. This feature enables the workers to complete construction of products at a fraction of conventional time spent and reduce environmental impact.
- The FRP composite materials are high in strength and possess stiff characteristics to attain similar performance as the traditional materials thus allowing minimised use of resources as well as waste production.
- Fibreglass also has huge potential for increasing the longevity of the prevailing structures. FRP can be used to develop new structures which are resistant to the harsh effects of degradation, aging as well as weathering.
- Composite materials can prevent corrosion and rot. FRP products present a longer and more economical service life and require less frequent energy-intensive maintenance and replacement. These fundamental advantages accrue to the remarkable overall sustainability characteristic of our FRP products.
Recycling Advantage of FRP Products
Despite the rapid developments in the composite field, it is currently economically impossible to recycle this revolutionary material on a large scale. In order to be viable, energy spent on potential applications from components generated from recycled fibres must be justifiable.
As one can imagine, there are many different recycling techniques to develop many different components, paving the way for many different recycling avenues. Products can be produced using recyclate material generated on grinding the composite, prepregnated waste from cut offs when manufacturing components to specific dimensions. Other components such as fibres and fillers from thermal or chemical removal can be recycled back into components.2 .
Based on research conducted on applications, we see that the production of FRP components consumes less energy and produces less greenhouse effect verses recycling steel and aluminum. In 2003, a study in Rotterdam3 compared energetic values of various material options in the construction of a pedestrian bridge and yielded the results below. Without a doubt, composites present lower energy consumption.
1 Lee, L.S. & Jain, 2009, The role of FRP composites in a sustainable world
2 School of Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham. 2010. The Reuse and Recycling of Glass Fibre Waste. Available at: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/1342/1/Wait11MRes_A1b.pdf, viewed November 2016
3 Daniel, Ryszard A., Environmental Considerations to Structural Material Selection for a Bridge. European Bridge Engineering Conference, Rotterdam, March 2003.