Durable composite material for complex infrastructure
Glass fibre-reinforced polymer composites, more commonly known as GRPs, have been in commercial use for over 60 years, which is surprising considering how advanced they are.
Consistent development over the decades has resulted in an incredibly reliable composite that requires minimal maintenance, making it a popular choice for large-scale projects with limited access.
GRP is the material of choice for material scientists and designers, including Complete Composite Systems, due to its low cost, long lifespan and resistance to corrosion, which can be particularly big challenges in the rail industry.
glass fibre-reinforced polymer composite
Patents for glass-fibre reinforcements were first filed in the 1930s and described the manufacture of continuous glass filaments. These were awarded in 1938 and production began the same year in the United States.
Heat-cured alkyl casting resins were then invented in 1941, from which low-pressure laminating resins were developed. These were combined with glass fibre reinforcements to produce the first GRP composites, which were used to produce the first aircraft radomes.
Cold cure technology in 1946 then enabled commercialised GRPs, early applications of which included defence and a burgeoning boat building industry in Europe and North America.
Examples of the very first GRP boats can still be found on various waterways around the world some 60 years later, paying testament to the composite’s reliability.
Material and processing advances in the ensuing years resulted in the sophisticated resin technology, reinforcement geometries and process techniques we use today.
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