FRP, known as Fibre Reinforced Polymers or Fibre reinforced Plastics, is a composite material made up of two parts the polymer matrix which is then reinforced with fibres. These fibres are usually glass, carbon fibres, aramid or basalt each system having their own strengths and advantages. The common polymers, or matrix, usually an epoxy, vinyl ester or thermosetting plastic. The main reason in which Fibre reinforced polymers are such a useful material as it is considered a composite material, which are materials that are the result of from bonding two or more homogenous materials to derive a final material with specific required physical, mechanical and chemical properties. Currently, they have a high potential to replace conventional materials such as steel and concrete in these infrastructure systems due to their amazing high strength and stiffness, greater fatigue strength and energy absorption capacity and corrosion resistance amoung other advantages.

Usually the matrix system, or the binding agent, is the plastic material. The matrix is a strong but relatively weak system that has undesirable mechanical properties when considered in an application that requires long life, high strength and corrosion resistance. These systems are brittle, with low durability, deform easily under load and have a lower strength when compared to reinforced plastics. Once the matrix is reinforced with the fibres, the strength properties and elasticity are drastically altered. The overall system becomes high strength under tensile and compressive loads, more suitable for high stress, higher stiffness and will not permanently deform under working load and most importantly resists a broad range of chemicals and is unaffected by moisture making it ideal for application for water immersion systems. Fibre reinforced polymers also have a long life, which may hinder their ability to be recycled, make them great in applications that involve long life systems.

At Protector, majority of our system is constructed using Fibre reinforced polymers, using a distinct ratio of epoxy to fibre that is critical to our systems strength, low weight, durability, long life and corrosion resistance. Several layers are used during construction, included a smooth moulded resin rich corrosion barrier inner layer and an external resin rich layer for water penetration resistance.

Specification of orientation of the reinforcing fibres can also increase the strength and resistance to deformation of the polymers. When the fibres are parallel to the direction of force, this is when the fibre reinforced plastic material is at its strongest. This is where the highest strength, stiffness and long life qualities of the system are excelled. However this process can also hinder the material in cases where there is a misalignment of fibres causing shear failure, tensile forces that stretch the matrix more than the fibres can also cause shear failure, in cases where the fibre separates from the matrix causing weaknesses and in cases of extremely high load the fibres themselves can shear. It is hence paramount that during the construction of any FRP system, the engineering and manufacturing processes are up to the highest standards allowing maximum strength.

At PROTECTOR, our fibre reinforced polymer systems are made using a chop hoop filament winding process. Our systems and manufacturing processes ensure that every system has the highest strength and exemplified benefits so that our systems are quality assured and of maximum strength. Protector products are constructed using the advanced chop hoop filament winding process which ensures circumferential as well as longitudinal strength. Every Protector product has a smooth moulded resin rich corrosion barrier inner layer and an external resin rich water penetration barrier. Being manufactured in FRP (fibre reinforced plastics) Protector products are light, easy to handle and easy to install. The smooth internal moulded finish provides excellent protection against scum build up, exhibit excellent corrosion resistance and are not susceptible to rust.

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

http://www.protector.com.au