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Benefits of Composites

"The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas, as in escaping old ones" John Maynard keynes

 

Profiles made of composite - Glass Fibre Reinforced Polyester (GFRP) - today provide an alternative to conventional structural materials such as concrete, steel, aluminium and wood. Used for structural purposes, composites have the advantage of combining a number of properties not usually found together in a single material. Whilst the use of composites will be a clear choice in many instances, material selection in others will depend on factors such as working lifetime requirements, number of items to be produced (Run length), complexity of product shape, possible savings in assembly costs and on the experience and skills of the designer in tapping into the optimum potential of composites. In some instances, best results may be achieved through the use of composites in conjunction with traditional materials. 

Composites in particular combines high strength and low weight, whilst at the same time it is non-corrosive and has thermal and electrical insulation properties. It can also be machined like wood using diamond tool equipment. Let's have a brief look at the benefits of composites.

Lightweight

Composites are light in weight compared to most metals and woods. This allows for easy delivery, assembly and installation. Reduced mechanical handling risks and no requirement for RRV's (Road Rail Vehicles), reducing costs, rail movements and potential possession over-runs. In some cases GRP can be up to 80% lighter than steel. 

Safety

GFRP is safer than more conventional materials. The non-conductivity of the material results in no risk of electric shock and removes the requirement for earth-bonding materials and designs. 

High Corrosion Resistant

Composites resist damage from the weather and from harsh chemicals than can eat away at other materials. Composites are good choices where chemicals are handled or stored. Outside, they stand up to severe weather and wide changes in temperature. 

Maintenance Free

Excellent durability ensures a long service life with only minimal maintenance needs. UV protected through a surface veil. With a 50+ year life span, the use of GFRP will significantly reduce or eliminate life cycle costs. 

Thermal Insulation

Composites are good insulators - they do no easily conduct heat or cold. A heat transfer coefficient significantly lower than steel and aluminium contributes to an energy efficient end product. 

EN13706 - The European Structural FRP Standard

iLECSYS Rail utilise Fiberlines Structural profiles. These are all certified according to EN13706 ensuring that all products meet or exceed the certified minimum criteria. Like steel types are graded by their yield strength (ie. S235) in the European structural steel standard (EN 10025), the grade designation system in EN13706 is based on the elasticity (ie. E23) and specifies everything from testing and tolerance to surface quality and mechanical properties. 

Environmental Sustainability

The combination of corporate dedication, constant process optimisation and an energy efficient material make Fiberline structural profiles a very environmentally friendly choice, leaving less than half the carbon footprint compared to conventional construction materials.

How Fibreglass is Recycled

The production of cement is dependant on large quantities of sand. Sand is also the main constituent of glass, and thus also of fibreglass. Fibreglass additionally contains polyester which can be used as an energy source in cement production, thereby replacing the use of fossil fuels. 

The Recycling Process

  1. Fiberline sends the fibreglass to Zajons in Germany
  2. Zajons consolidates the fibreglass in a giant crusher and adjusts the calorific value by adding other types of recycled materials
  3. The waste is sent to the cement manufacturer
  4. Holcim feeds the waste to the huge kilns that produce the finished cement.

Recycling 1000 tonnes of Fiberline profiles in cement manufacture saves up to 450 tonnes of coal, 200 tonnes of chalk, 200 tonnes of sand and 150 tonnes of aluminium oxide (Source: Holcim, 2010). And the recycling process produces no dust, ash or other residues. 

Co2 UK

                         

Click here to view the full Recycling of Fibreglass article. 

  • Benefits of Composites at a Glance

  • Reduced Build Times
  • Reduced Maintenance
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Whole Life Costs
  • Reduced Vehicle Movements
  • Thermally Insulated
  • No Earth Bonding

Benefits of Composites

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