What is FRP?
FRP (fibreglass-reinforced plastic) is a thermosetting composite material with a fibreglass additive, giving it unmatched mechanical properties. It is an alternative to steel when designing structures, as it can be adapted to harsh and highly demanding environments.
FRP is an ideal solution for the production of structures, walkways, and a multitude of other structural accessories. In this article, we will discuss why FRP structures stand out from their steel counterparts.
Advantages of FRP
One of the most important advantages of an FRP structure lies in its ability to withstand corrosion. Known for its resistance to rust and chemical agents, FRP is an ideal material for environments that are prone to degradation. These include applications where humidity levels are very high or those that come in direct contact with water or highly corrosive chemicals.
This material does not need to be painted or polished and can be easily cleaned. Because of its superior chemical resistance compared to that of steel, FRP can tolerate frequent and aggressive cleaning. FRP gratings therefore have a longer life span than steel ones, while requiring less maintenance and upkeep. Since FRP is coloured by adding pigment to the material during manufacturing, it never needs to be repainted. Simply clean it to restore its original colour and appearance. Finally, FRP gratings are easy to install and do not require any welding, unlike steel structures.
For structural applications, choosing a lighter material allows for easier installation, mounting, and assembly. Such is the case with FRP gratings, which are up to 70% lighter than their steel counterparts while having excellent mechanical properties. They do not require the use of cranes or other large and expensive lifting equipment. They also offer better ergonomics during maintenance, which reduces the risk of work-related injuries.
Extended life span
Since FRP gratings do not rust, they outlast steel structures, especially in environments where mechanical and chemical conditions lead to premature degradation.
FRP grating is prized for its adaptability to both indoor and outdoor applications. Since it comes with a non-slip finish, it is ideal for slippery or dusty indoor environments. It can also be exposed to the sun, the elements, and salt water while maintaining its original properties.
The sectors of activity where FRP stands out
Natural resources and mining sector
The natural resources and the mining sector are extremely demanding sectors for structures since they combine important mechanical, chemical and environmental constraints. This is the case with mines, where structures are exposed to bad weather, high levels of humidity, and corrosive chemicals. These factors promote the development of rust on metal structures, reducing their service life. With its impressive corrosion resistance, FRP grating is ideal for this type of environment. It is also easy to install, minimizing the impact on production.
The food production and processing industries demand the highest standards of hygiene and sanitation in production facilities. Available in rust-resistant food grade, FRP is a perfect solution for these types of applications that require frequent cleaning with aggressive products.
To learn more about FRP and its applications in the food industry, check out our article, FRP in the Food Sector.
When corrosive chemicals are present and in direct contact with steel structures, they increase the occurrence of rust. It is therefore essential to evaluate all environmental constraints when choosing materials for structures, ladders, walkways, and railings. Because of its excellent chemical resistance, FRP is highly suitable to the chemical sector. Structures can therefore come into direct contact with corrosive products with no effect on their properties.
Wastewater treatment plants are subject to a number of constraints that shorten the life of steel structures, which become corroded by high levels of moisture. They also come into direct contact with water, accelerating the corrosion process. Popular with these types of industries, FRP allows structures to remain durable and safe in environments that are prone to rust.
See our case study on FRP for this sector: FRP for Water Treatment Plants.