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What is Fibre Glass and Some of Its Uses

10/1/2013 11:55:18 AM | by Anonymous

Fibre Glass Materials

Fibre glass materials have many uses. The invention of this material was fueled by the need for a strong, robust and light weight material. Fibre glass is a polymer that is reinforced by fibre and it is made out of a plastic matrix. Fine fibres of glass are applied to reinforce the structure. Although fibre glass materials are not as strong as carbon fibre, it is less brittle and also less costly to implement. The plastic matrix used can be a thermoplastic or an epoxy.

Fibre glass is made out of glass similar to those on windows and drinking glasses. However, instead of making sheets of glass, the glass is heated until a molten state and they are forced through extremely tiny holes. This causes the glass to come in a form of threads. These threads are then applied to a surface with the resin to harden the fibre glass. The good thing about fibre glass is that it is able to accommodate a wide range of shapes and sizes. Some items that may use fibre glass materials are surfboards, boat hulls, doors, sporting equipment and many automobile parts. In more delicate applications such as circuit boards, fibre glass is also useful as it is light and durable at the same time.

Depending on its applications, fibre glass can either be custom made for a certain purpose or it could also be mass produced in sheets. Fibre glass materials should not be confused with glass reinforced plastic as they are not the same. Glass reinforced plastic have plastic embedded into the fibre glass materials to add extra strength.

Uses of fibre glass

Fibre glass materials were first used in world war two when the polyester was invented. It was first used to protect radar equipment, the fuselage skin and also in the main airframe construction process. In modern times however, fibre glass has many more applications. Some reasons why fibre glass is used besides its low cost are: high flexing tolerance, high strength to weigh ratio, high impact and corrosion resistance, low technology required for fabrication and its durability.

In the aerospace and aviation industry, fibre glass materials are used extensively. Some of the applications of fibre glass materials in the aerospace and aviation industry are: engine cowls, instrument enclosures, ducting, antenna enclosures, luggage racks, bulkheads and storage bins. Fibre glass materials may also be used for ground handling equipment.

Fibre glass materials are also used in the automotive industry. The first car to have a fibre glass body was the 1953 Chevrolet Corvette. In the automotive industry, fibre glass materials are used more for making replacement parts or custom parts. Unlike the metal production process, which requires a metal pressing machine and costs much more, fibre glass materials are an easier and cheaper method.

In the boats and maritime industry, the uses of fiberglass are the most effective. The properties that fibre glass materials possess are ideal for the production of boats. Without fibre glass, boats would not be as efficient as it is today as other methods are too costly to meet the demands of the production and unlike other industries automation is also not an option. In fact, the first application of fibre glass was built for a boat in 1942.

Due to its lightweight and durable structure, fibre glass materials are also used in the electronics industry, particularly in the manufacturing of circuit boards. These include computers, tevelsions, radios and cell phones. They literally hold the world of electronics together.

Fibre glass materials can also be found in our homes. Some of the applications of fibre glass materials in our households are shower heads, bathtubs, sinks and also spa tubs.

In the medical industry, fibre glass has also become quite important. One example would be x-ray beds, as metal cannot be used fibre glass provides a good alternative due to its good X-ray transparency.

Lastly, fibre glass can also be used by the average person. There are many DIY fibre glass kits that are available to the public. Furthermore, fibre glass is easy to apply and do not pose any serious threats to the user’s safety, which is hardly the case when working with other materials such as metal.

Thus, fibre glass is has become an extremely important material in our world today. Its unique features and properties will continue to develop and serve our needs for many years to come.

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