FRP Why? When? Where?
Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP), also called Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP), pipe has been used for industrial application since the 1960's. Adapted from the marine industry, FRP was first used for seawater and other corrosive applications like those found in Pulp & Paper industry. Today FRP is a proven construction material for piping and equipment in corrosive service.
A wide variety of thermoset resins are available to meet a wide range of service requirements, such as:
- Chemical Exposure
FRP is a mature material of construction with many documented successful case histories. Many industry based production and design standards are available and can be implemented by the trained manufacturing or engineering team. Following the initial determinations , such as:
- Material Selection
- Type of Construction
- Joining System
- Material Sizing of Individual Components
FRP piping, duct and equipment should be designed as an entire system for the defined design conditions. Comprehensive and detailed engineering should consider the defined design and operational conditions as they relate to the individual components and the system as a whole to attain safe and reliable service from the FRP system and equipment.
Thermal expansion has a significant influence on FRP equipment. In general, and depending on the design and operating temperature range, FRP may expand two to three times that of carbon steel over the same temperature range. Where temperature changes from ambient 70oF range more than ± 45oF, it is recommended that piping and duct systems be analyzed using an approved pipe stress analysis program. Resin and material construction specific properties should be used in the pipe stress analysis. Properties should be obtained through testing or laminate analysis.
Over moderate temperature ranges, there are suitable thermoset resins for corrosion resistant FRP applications. Many resins are fairly durable and can be made abrasion resistant by incorporating select additives. Typical temperature ranges for FRP applications range from about -20oF to 250oF, although recently there have been new specialized resins developed for services as high as 400oF.
Most FRP piping applications are designed for pressure of 150 PSI or less, although some special applications will sustain as high as 1,000 PSI. Sometimes it becomes an economic issue. Although an FRP part may be designed to sustain a high pressure, in extreme cases it may become cost prohibitive and other materials of construction may need to be considered. For example, where temperature may be elevated, dual laminates are a consideration, providing corrosion resistance over a larger temperature range, while maintaining the strength of FRP.
With the proper resin selection and a comprehensive design an FRP system should have a projected life of 20 to 30 years, in most cases. The most severe applications may have a slightly reduced service. An end-user or operator should have the same expectations and confidence in the FRP systems as with other plant systems, steel or otherwise.
Maverick Applied Science, Inc. can bring reliability and
Peace of Mind to your next FRP project. Give us a call at
941-721-1800 and let us prove our worth.