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Glass fiber

Fiberglass is an attractive, lightweight (when compared to non composite products), durable material. When fiberglass is impregnated with epoxy resin, the resulting composite has high tensile strength and is stronger than steel on an equal weight basis. This high strength for its relatively low weight is the primary reason why fiberglass composites became so popular, and are widely used for many decades now. Glass fiber can be combined with other fiber material such as Kevlar/Aramid creating a hybrid fabric. This way the properties of the composing fibers are enhanced by synergy.
Fiberglass is made of natural minerals and some manufactured chemicals. The basic raw materials are silica sand, limestone and soda ash. Fiberglass is often made of recycled glass as well. The raw materials are mixed together, after being carefully weighted in the exact quantities, in a process that is called batching, and then melt into glass. Following thereafter, the molten glass is transferred to the forming equipment, passes through superfine holes, where very thin filaments are created. Fiberglass is the material of choice for making relatively inexpensive shaped shell structures, like large covers with round corners or complex shapes, as it offers flexibility in design. Manufacturing with fiberglass is cost-effective and affordable not only because it saves maintenance costs due to its durability, but also because the final product is lightweight, which results in less storage and shipping costs.
Fiberglass reinforcements are classified according to their properties. There are six major types of glass used to make fibers:
  1. E-glass is the most common type used for fiberglass production today (more than 50% of the fibers made are from E-glass.) ‘E’ implies that it is an electrical insulator. It is inexpensive and appropriate for general purposes.
  2. S-glass, S2-glass, (‘S’ comes from Strength,) is (15%-25%) stronger than E-glass, has higher modulus, improved mechanical properties, higher melt temperature and is considerably more expensive.
  3. C-glass or T-glass is very resistant to chemicals and corrosion.
  4. A-glass is a high-alkali glass. It offers good chemical resistance, but has lower electrical properties.
  5. D-glass has a low dielectric constant and is used in circuit boards.
  6. AR-glass is resistant to alkali environment.
Fiberglass’ main properties are:
  • Dimensional stability
  • Moisture resistance
  • High strength
  • Fire and heat resistance
  • Chemical resistance
  • Electrical insulation
  • Freedom of design
  • Good acoustic and vibration insulation
  • Good fatigue resistance
  • Very good resin adhesion
Fiberglass is widely used in applications such as:
  • Automotive: Body parts for trucks and buses, roofs, air fairings, side fairings, doors.
  • Aerospace: Interior panels, wall, separators, toilet compartments and furniture.
  • Marine: Boat hulls, decks, internal and external components.
  • Windmill blades.
  • Military – defense: Protective equipment e.g. armor, helmets, clothing, vehicles, radomes.
  • Construction: Structural reinforcement, roofing laminate, canopies, swimming pools and spas, hot tubs.
  • Electrical and telecommunications industry: printed circuit board, insulation components.
  • Sports: Surfboards, kayaks, beach rackets, bicycles, masts.
  • Tubes, pipes and other profiles.
  • Machinery and equipment enclosures.
  • Storage tanks.
The Fibermax variety of fiberglass products (different yarn sizes, weaving styles, weight values etc,) allows customers to choose the most appropriate material for the job. Customers should pay attention to the application’s specific needs, and performance versus cost before ordering. Fibermax fiberglass products are available in:
  • Plain weave
  • Twill weave
  • Veil
  • Biaxial
  • Satin
  • 3D
Plain weave is less drapable compared to satin and twill weaving styles, but easy to cut because it doesn’t fray easily. Satin and twill styles on the other side are more drapable and fray more. Areal weight of Fibermax fiberglass fabrics ranges from 25 gr/sq.m to 1830 gr/sq.m. The lighter the weight of the fabric the easier it will be to drape to contoured surfaces. In addition a heavier fabric is less flexible and needs more resin to wet out.