GFRP or Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic

GFRP is like CFRP, the material of choice for engineers looking for opportunities to improve their design or process. Alformet applies UD-tape made from a thermoplastic matrix reinforced with glass fibers,  that offer high strength and moderate stiffness while reducing weight of the component. The durability of the material through its resistance against corrosion and chemicals, allows you to reduce maintenance and increase life cycle time. Combined with 100% recyclability, GFRP based on thermoplastic resin offers the best of two worlds: metals and plastics.

 

Find out why engineers across the globe are improving products and processes with GFRP based on thermoplastic resin, saving costs while achieving sustainability targets!

What properties does GFRP based on thermoplastic resin have?

Alformet processes UD-tape from thermoplastics reinforced with glass fibers. The most valuable properties are:

  • Lightweight (4 times lower than steel and 30% lower than aluminium)
  • High strength and moderate stiffness; if you require high stiffnes than carbon fibers should be considered (see CFRP)
  • Corrosion and chemical resistant (reduced maintenance)
  • Excellent damping characteristics
  • High fatigue resistance
  • 100 % recyclability

What are the different variations of GFRP based on thermoplastic resin?

Virtually any combination of thermoplastic resin with glass fibers can be processed at Alformet. The most used combinations of glass fiber and thermoplastic resin are:

  • PP-GF (polypropylene with glass fiber)
  • PA6-GF (polyamid6 with glass fiber)
  • PC-GF (polycarbonate with glass fiber)
  • PEEK-GF (polyetheretherketone with glass fiber)

Why is GFRP better than steel and aluminium in engineering applications?

The high strength and high stiffness of our material in combination with low weight gives you a head start when you look for process and product improvement opportunities. Certainly when you become aware that GFRP does not require surface treatment to protect your product against the impact of corrosion or even aggressive environments like sea water or chemicals. It has much better fatigue resistance than metals and also higher damping properties required for reduction of vibrations and better comfort; you have all you need with GFRP material.

Are GFRP tubes based on thermoplastic resin helping with sustainability goals?

The tubes that Alformet produces from thermoplastic based GFRP material are sustainable. The need to treat our natural resources with respect is met with these tubes produced by Alformet. The products and material fit in the 3R model: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. And the applied production process in Alformet operates with renewable energy!

How do we manufacture thermoplastic based GFRP tubes for industrial purposes?

Alformet processes UD-tape made from a thermoplastic resin and reinforced with glass fibers, applying laser winding. The fast and efficient process produces layers of the tape delivering a tube with customer specific length, wall thickness and reinforcement direction in the material of choice. Watch the video of the process here!

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Frequently asked questions

General

FRP material is a versatile material with high performance characteristics. It possesses valuable engineering properties, like high strength/stiffness combined with a low density. Additionally the durability, like for instance corrosion and chemical resistance, is another characteristic that favors the application of FRT in engineering challenges.

FRP is also called CFRP when the reinforcement is carbon fiber material and GFRP when glass fibers are used.

The ‘P’ in ‘FRP’ stands for Polymer or Plastic. Alformet uses only Thermoplastic material reinforced with fibers. Thermoplastic material has the advantage of being 100% recyclable and contributes to the transition to a circular economy.

The word plastic is the common name for synthetic polymer, so there is no difference if you refer to synthetic material.  There are three types of polymers: thermoset, thermoplastic and elastomer.

  • Thermoset is obtained by irreversibly hardening ("curing") a soft solid or viscous liquid prepolymer (resin)

  • Thermoplastic, or thermosoftening plastic, is a plastic polymer material that becomes pliable or moldable at a certain elevated temperature and solidifies upon cooling.

  • An elastomer is a polymer with viscoelasticity (i.e., both viscosity and elasticity) and with weak intermolecular forces, generally low Young's modulus and high failure strain compared with other materials.

Fiber Reinforced Polymer/Plastic is a polymer/plastic with reinforcement from fibers. This type of material is an engineering material and substitutes metal in many applications, due to the favorable characteristics.

Alformet processes only thermoplastic material with fiber reinforcement. These are commonly called Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics (FRTP) or Thermoplastic Composites and are 100% recyclable.

Both terms refer normally to the same: Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics is more often used as it specifically indicates that fibers are used to reinforce the thermoplastics. Examples are PP-GF (polypropylene with glass fibers) or PEEK-CF (polyetheretherketone with carbon fibers).

Thermoplastic Composite literally means that the composite (combination of two materials) consists of thermoplastic and another (reinforcing) element. Any other element that improves the characteristics can therefore be used (of which fibers is one option). For instance a sandwich panel of aluminium sheets with thermoplastic material in between is also called a (thermoplastic) composite.

Alformet processes only fiber reinforced thermoplastics with its laser winding technology. Thermoplastics are 100% recyclable.

The continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastics contain fibers that are endless or continuous. These continuous fibers offer optimal strength and stiffness as they support the full structure in contradiction to the short or long fibers, which can only bear partial loads. The highest mechanical properties of a structure can be obtained by applying continuous fibers.