When should you consider an FRP structure rather than a steel structure?
We have identified a series of challenges that can be overcome by using structures made from FRP instead of steel. We have divided the list into 3 sections. Choosing the right structural material requires an assessment of environmental conditions, installation logistics and limitations, and types of applications.
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- Existing structures are affected by rust
- Structures are exposed to corrosive chemicals
- Humidity level is very high
- Direct contact with water
- Contact with salt water
- Exposure to the elements
- Heavy equipment accessibility issues
- Heavy structures
- Structure that must be installed and operational within a very short time
- Maintenance minimization
- Structure replacement without stopping production
- Structure must be durable with minimum maintenance
- Structure must be cleaned with corrosive products
- Structure or structural components used in a food environment
- Structure requires a non-slip finish to reduce the risk of accidents
- Structure must be non-conductive due to risks of electrocution
- Structure must not interfere with radio waves or electrical signals
An alternative to stainless-steel structures
For specific needs or environments with more demanding constraints, it is important to choose the appropriate material. This ensures that the structures last over time while remaining functional and safe.
FRP structures offer significant advantages over stainless-steel structures. Because of its resistance to corrosion, FRP is especially popular for rust-prone environments, such as those with
- very high humidity levels
- direct contact with water
- direct contact with salt water
- contact with chemical agents.
Industries that use FRP
This industry requires high chemical resistance to ensure that structures are not affected by corrosive chemicals. Reinforced plastic has a much higher chemical resistance than steel. It can therefore be in direct contact with corrosive agents without losing its basic properties.
Approved by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, FRP gratings are also available in food grade (FF Grade) specially designed for food handling environments. Thanks to its excellent chemical resistance, it can be cleaned with a wide variety of cleaning products.
Natural resources sector
FRP is also used extensively in mines and other environments that combine several constraints that reduce the service life of steel structures, such as moisture, corrosive chemicals and constant exposure to the elements.
Industries with high-voltage power sources
Fibreglass-reinforced plastic is a non-conductive material, which is why it is favoured when designing platforms, ladders and walkways for high-voltage environments. Its non-conductive properties allow it to significantly reduce electrocution risks without interfering with radio waves or electrical signals.
Thanks to its excellent resistance to corrosion, FRP can come into direct contact with water without rusting. It is therefore the ideal solution for wastewater treatment plants, as it is much more durable than steel.