PLASTIC (FRP) SYSTEMS
Industries served include – mining & metals, chemical & petrochemical, oil & gas, pulp & paper, power & flue gas desulphurization.
Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) is a composite material made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibres, usually glass fibres. The polymer provides excellent chemical resistance while the fibres provide structural integrity. Depending on the resin type and the glass to resin type and the glass to resin ratio the material properties for individual structural layers can be optimized for corrosion resistance and physical strength.
For most wet applications, the maximum operating temperature is 100°C (212°F) with excursions up to 120°C (248°F). Dry environments can operate at 177°C (350°F) with excursions up to 204°C (400°F). Because not all resins are suitable for processes that have thermal cycling or high-temperature excursions, it is important to consult and obtain warranties from the resin manufacturer when designing for these applications.
As with all construction materials in corrosive environments, FRP has specific design and fabrication requirements that will ensure its success. These requirements consist of the following:
Proper resin selection and corrosion barrier design to maximize corrosion resistance.
Proper design by an experienced and qualified non-metallic engineer.
Proper fabrication and installation by knowledgeable and experienced personnel.
Proper inspection and maintenance by qualified inspectors.
Specialized requirements e.g., fire retardant resin systems.
The average installed cost for FRP is approximately one-third the comparative price of stainless steel and one-fifth the comparative price of higher nickel alloys.
Stainless Steel prices continue to trend rapidly upward in concert with the price and availability of nickel. As the global economy continues its recovery and developing nations increase their infrastructure built, base metal prices, most notably copper, nickel, and stainless steel are expected to continue their upward trend. Moreover, the availability of stainless steel and higher nickel alloys is falling off and delivery times are lengthening considerably (Source: International Monetary Fund).
FRP has a proven longer service life than stainless steel and other high nickel alloys, with FRP case studies dating back to 1979 and with most of the subject cases still in service today. The service life of a steel tank with an anti-corrosion coating is around 10 years.
UV stabilization means no painting or lacquering is required after installation and the lightweight nature of FRP means it can be easily lifted and moved for ease of cleaning.
Thanks to its non-corrosive properties, FRP requires little maintenance aside from cleaning. Metallic solutions require relatively high maintenance due to its inclination to corrode.
With FRP it is possible to effect repairs without interrupting operations. Old or damaged tanks could be repaired easily on-site.
Chemical resistance is a key predictor of service life. FRP made from epoxy vinyl ester resin has a good or better chemical resistance than Alloy-C276 and is superior to 2205 stainless steel. FRP has a far superior resistance to dissolved chlorides and moderate concentrations of sulphuric acid. It is also superior to alloys in aqueous acidic high chloride environments. FRP is impervious to water (be it submersion or splash), fumes and gases and is resistant to most chemicals. A variety of corrosion barriers are available, which are capable of withstanding the full range of caustic chemicals.
FRP is approximately 60-75% lighter than steel, yet it is pound-for-pound stronger. The lighter weight greatly reduces handling, transport, and installation costs. The high glass-to-resin ratio produces a material that is capable of achieving excellent load-bearing results.
FRP grating, with an integrally bonded gritted top surface, has achieved some of the highest levels of slip resistance ever recorded for a walking surface. FRP is 50% safer than steel grating and 70% safer than chequer plate for slip resistance. This degree of safety is crucial for OH&S-conscious workplaces, such as mine sites, oil rigs, and factories.
ANTI-STATIC AND ANTI-SPARK
FRP is perfectly suited to sensitive environments, thanks to its ability to dissipate static electricity, as well as its non-sparking properties. Static dissipation is very important in underground and offshore locations, while FRP is ideal in gaseous environments, as it will not spark if tools are accidentally dropped - a hazard on steel flooring.
As FRP is produced with moulds, it can be manufactured to any shape or design with a huge variety of surface profiles and unlimited colours.