TAP Article: Uses of Fiberglass Fabrics

When it comes to composite construction or boat building, many people turn to fiberglass fabrics to get the job done right. Whether used for reinforcement, coating or laminating, professionals and DIY enthusiasts all over the world are quickly recognizing the benefits of this versatile composite. If you are new to composite materials or considering using fiberglass for a project, you came to the perfect place. In this guide, we will explore the properties and uses of fiberglass fabrics to help you better understand this convenient and cost-effective material.

[[image1,left/right]]Fundamentals of Fiberglass Fabric
With so many composites to choose from, understanding what each textile is and means for your project can be difficult or even daunting. Fortunately, the composite experts are here to help. Fiberglass cloth consists of bulk, chopped fibers or continuous strands of different kinds of glass. Whether in bulk form or a continuous strand, the combined physical strength of those glass fibers exceeds the properties that each of them has individually. This fiber-reinforced composite is typically flattened into sheets or randomly arranged and woven into fabrics for use in all sorts of applications. Fiberglass fabric is lightweight, strong, and less brittle than other composite materials. One of the most prized properties of fiberglass is its ability to be molded into various complicated shapes.

Applications and Uses of Fiberglass Fabrics
Across a wide range of industries, professionals look for materials with high-temperature insulation to ensure an effective thermal barrier for industrial gaskets. Because fiberglass offers high thermal insulation, it has become a prized and preferred material for protecting machinery. In our research, we discovered all sorts of ways this material is used!

Aerospace: Manufacturing parts for military and civilian aerospace ducting, enclosures, and test equipment wouldn’t be possible without fiberglass. Due to its lightweight and eco-friendly nature, fiberglass is widely implemented as a composite in jet engines and aircraft interiors as well as a solution for reducing aircraft weight.

Automotive: Between manufacturing and the transportation sector, fiberglass is widely used throughout the automotive industry. While aluminum and steel are still the primary choices for mechanical components and chassis, fiberglass is often used to reduce the weight of door panels, supporting beams, and driveshafts without compromising physical integrity. This incredible composite has also been used for rust resistance and color contrast in the auto detailing industry.

Beverage: Grating made of fiberglass is often used for bottling lines in beverage and condiment factories or brew houses. These highly industrial environments require sturdy grating which can withstand heavy traffic while offering safe and easy access to conveyor lines. Fiberglass also offers distinct advantages over other materials when it comes to the production of high purity products, such as wine.

Chemical: Anti-slip safety features are paramount in the chemical industry. Fiberglass grating is often used to reinforce platforms, handrail systems, and walkways and help protect workers from hazards.

Food Processing: Blood can be very corrosive, making it easy to understand why chicken, beef, and other meat processing plants use fiberglass grating that can handle blood and reduce the risk of slipping.

[[image2,left/right]]Marine: One reason why fiberglass cloth is so commonly used throughout the boating industry is that it’s highly resistant to rust and corrosion. Docks and marinas use fiberglass because it can stand up to the salty sea water. Fiberglass is also used in the molding and manufacture of boat hulls, decks, liners, and large parts, such as consoles.

Manufacturing: As you already know, fiberglass offers excellent slip resistance in industrial environments. The embedded grit surface of fiberglass fabric will protect the professional workforce in areas that are wet and hazardous.

Power: All those scrubbers, tank farms, and other areas of the power generation industry prefer using fiberglass for its non-conductive properties. Since the 1970s, fiber-reinforced plastics have been used in piping systems as well as absorber vessels, cable trays, coal conveyor covers, cooling towers, grating, pumps, storage tanks, and vacuum filters. Today, fiberglass is still predominantly used for ductwork, stack liners, absorber vessel shells, and internal components.

Paper: Following WWII, the pulp bleaching industry began using fiber-reinforced plastic based on the polyester resin to replace more expensive or less chemically resistant materials, such as metal alloys and wood.

[[image3,left/right]]You will also find that fiberglass is used to make a variety of everyday items, such as doors, swimming pools, surfboards, sporting equipment, and automobile bumpers, to name a few. What’s more, fiberglass and glass fibers are often combined with carbon, aramid, and other fibers to make specialty laminates or moldable fabrics for canoes, kayaks, and other high-strength, lightweight applications. The light yet durable nature of fiberglass also makes it ideal for more delicate applications, such as circuit boards. Plus, the excellent cost-performance relationship of these textiles makes them a natural choice for a wide range of applications.

Now that you know more about the uses of fiberglass fabrics, it’s time to test this textile on your own! At TAP Plastics, we offer a wide variety of different fiberglass cloths and fabrics that can be worked into bespoke, robust shapes and easily installed on-site. You will find plenty of deck cloth, modified twill, and woven roving cloth as well as lightweight, midweight, standard weight, and heavyweight cloth in our E-Glass collection. When it comes to projects that require greater strength and rigidity than E-Glass can provide, we have you covered in our selection of S-2 Glass. We also carry fiberglass tape, standard glass mat, and surfacing veil mat to suit your particular needs. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about this article or our product selection.