FIBERGLASS AS A SUPERIOR BUILDING MATERIAL? PART I
We all know that fiberglass has been used extensively for over 50 years to manufacture long lasting, easy to care for, fiberglass pools and spas. And that for most of that time it has been done by American Fiberglass Pools, 41 years. Not yet convinced that fiberglass is the best building material to use? We let’s take a few minutes to look into the use of fiberglass to manufacture items requiring both flexural and tensile strength.
Fiberglass first became a viable alternative to protected steel, stainless steel, and exotic materials in 1950. That year centrifugal cast fiberglass piping was first used in the crude oil production industry as a solution to corrosion problems. Later on, in the mid 1950’s, developments in manufacturing with fiberglass products resulted in the application of fiberglass tanks and piping in the chemical industry. By the mid 1960’s fiberglass was accepted for the storage and handling of underground flammable and combustible liquids and industrial municipal water and sewage as well as pulp and paper processing applications. As of today, standards have been developed for many military applications such as helicopter rotor blades, commercial aviation for use on jet liners, and bullet proof jackets, etc.
Let us go back to resistance to aggressive environments. Resistance to corrosion in aggressive environments is one of the primary reasons for specifying fiberglass tanks or pipes. Corrosion does not affect fiberglass. This includes galvanic, aerobic, pitting, and inter-granular corrosions that all harm metals but not fiberglass. This is why all old steel gasoline tanks around the country have been replaced by fiberglass tanks. As well all new gasoline tanks are made out of fiberglass. Although fiberglass resists a wide spectrum and range of chemicals and temperatures, like anything else, it does require the right design, fabrication, and installation to match the appropriate application. The use of the proper resin/glass matrix will minimize chemical attacks. This is why American Pools are built today totally with 100% fiberglass and resin construction without the use of fillers and cores that may upset the resin/fiberglass matrix.