Fibre reinforced polymers are such highly sought after materials, and a growing day by day. Their applications are endless due to their wide range of advantages and benefits. When we consider regular plastics or polymers, before the fibres have been added, they are weaker materials not suitable for high strength and high value applications. When fibres are added to plastic polymers, these systems become much more valuable and are able to be implemented in high strength applications and can be applied to industrial or infrastructure requirements.

FRP is such a great material due to a wide range of advantages and benefits

·        Lightweight FRP is a very lightweight material, at a fraction of the weight of steel or aluminium. Even though it is so lightweight this material is strong enough to withstand the same applied forces and loads due to its amazing strength to weight ratio. As this means that the system will be just as strong and reliable, using a lightweight material will give a plethora of advantages. The system will be much easier to install, often in cases not requiring lifting apparatus. It is sager and simpler to deliver and move and hence will reduce the amount of time spent in installation phase, reducing overall costs dramatically.

·        Easy to manufacture due to the manufacturing processes that are available for Fibre reinforced polymers, almost any shape or configuration is available and hence a wide variety of systems can be manufactured. This means that it has a large sharping versatility and altered with different resins or fibres for various applications. Hence unlike steal or other metal products, it is simple to make complex systems our of FRP and hence the simplicity of manufacturing process allows for a reduction in overall costs for FRP making them the more suitable option for almost all applications. Our Protector systems are easily manufactured into many shapes, using isotensoidal domes for higher strength in underground installations and internal pressure situations, as well as complex interior shapes and manways. For exampple, our Stormprotector and Hydraprotectorsystems, our underground oil separator systems have complex dome shapes that are simply made using moulds and complex interior shapes in our ECOPROTECTOR andXTREAMPROTECTOR systems, making what would be difficult manufacture into a simple and speedy process. Furthermore, as their compositions are easily changed additives are simply added to change properties like flame resistant resin additives or temperature additives. This makes these materials easier to design and create for any application, as almost all properties are possible and almost any complex shape is able to be made making it the smart material choice.

·        High strength fibre reinforced polymers have greater flexural strength than timber and gram for gram is a stronger material than steel and aluminium when the fibres are aligned in the force load direction. The fibre additives are able to drastically improve the strength of the material both in tension and in compression making it very applicable to high load situations such as underground installations. Protectors Chop hoop filament winding process ensures that our systems have maximum circumferential and axial strength to allow installation under high loads.

·        Corrosion resistance FRP has a resistance to a wide range of chemical and effluent and is unaffected by moisture of immersion into water making it perfect for applications in marine or chemical circumstances. At protector, we ensure that all of our systems are both corrosion resistant and waterproof. We coat all of our systems with an interior smooth moulded resin rich corrosion barrier as well as an external resin rich water penetration barrier. Unlike steel and aluminium, which are susceptible to oxidation and corrosion, FRP is able to withstand these chemicals and makes it the perfect applications in situations of water storage or treatment.

·        High stiffness FRP is up to 3.3 times as rigid as timber and will not permanently deform under workling loads

·        Impact Resistance Another advantage of Fibre reinforced polymers is that it has high impact resistance, which is that they will never permanently deform or break under impact like traditional building materials. The glass material in the FRP system distributes impact load to prevent surface damage, even in low temperatures.

·        Colour Since fibre reinforced polymer components are moulded, colour can be added evenly straight through the part.  For more traditional materials, a combination of paints, stains, and coatings must be used and will require periodic re-applications.  A wide range of colours are available at Protector, to ensure that the system will aesthetically suit your site.

·        Thermal properties FRP is a great insulator and hence has a low thermal conductivity, unlike metals such as aluminium and steel. Hence this means that fibreglass products maintain a constant temperature and cool to the touch and hence make it a material that is applicable to almost all applications, continuing to operate efficiently at high heat or sub zero temperatures.

·        Non-conductive FRP is a nonconductive material and has a high dielectric capability whilst metals like steel and aluminium conduct electricity readily and must be grounded. This has led to its use in nanotechnology

·        Durability and Long term performance  Fibre reinforced plasticsare considered highly durable and long life products. These FRP products have a longer design life as they are no susceptible to corrosion, degradation, decay or permanent deformation. Hence these systems are often considered to be extremely long life products and hence can be a very reliable product in the long term. FRP products that are manufactured with PROTECTORhave a 75 year lifetime warranty and a predicted 150 year lifetime over the use of the system. This ensures that your overall costs over the entire life of the system are drastically reduced when compared to generic construction materials used today.

·        It is considered an Sustainable Product  Sustainable productsare products that, through every phase of its life be it construction, manufacture, installation and usage, its energy usage and environmental effect do not go on at a rate that would compromise the natural environment, or that it would not affect the environment negatively over its lifespan. We at Protector put our environments sustainability at the forefront of everything we do. We believe that sustainable energy is the vital to our natural livelihood for future generations.  Its manufacturing processes are effective and efficient, minimal wastage in construction, usually does not require more energy that would compromise the natural aspects of its existence and has no environmental harm through the lifespan of its use.

·        Cost and Pricing One of the most important thing when we consider which material to choose is pricingWhen we compare these two, steel has a lower initial material cost, this is true. But when we consider a wider range of expenses over the life of the system, FRP becomes much more affordable and economically efficient when compared to steel. It has lower installation costs due to its weight, much less maintenance require and a much longer life span all contributing to a cheaper overall cost over time.

Written by Nathan D. Raco, in partnership with Protector Stormwater management Solutions

http://www.protector.com.au