As local fibreglass suppliers, we stock all the day to day variants which include Chopped Strand Mat, Woven Cloth, Woven Roving, Continuous Roving, Biaxial Roving, Woven Tapes etc.
Fibreglass is a common type of fiber-reinforced plastic using glass fiber. The fibers may be randomly arranged, flattened into a sheet (called a chopped strand mat), or woven into a fabric. The plastic matrix may be a thermoset polymer matrix—most often based on thermosetting polymers such as epoxy, polyester resin, or vinylester—or a thermoplastic.
Cheaper and more flexible than carbon fiber, it is stronger than many metals by weight, is non-magnetic, non-conductive, transparent to electromagnetic radiation, can be molded into complex shapes, and is chemically inert under many circumstances. Applications include aircraft, boats, automobiles, bath tubs and enclosures, swimming pools, hot tubs, septic tanks, water tanks, roofing, pipes, cladding, orthopedic casts, surfboards, and external door skins. Fiberglass covers are also widely used in the water treatment industry to help control odors.
Fiberglass quietly makes its way into carpeting, ceiling tiles, roofing shingles, and many construction materials. And when combined with plastics, the microscopic fibers make composites that are strong and stiff yet lightweight, which is why carmakers and other manufacturers use these reinforced materials to build fuel- and energy-efficient products. One of the first major applications for reinforcement fiber was printed circuit boards. Found in nearly every electronic device, these familiar green slabs contain E-glass fibers, which consist mainly of silica, alumina, calcium oxide (CaO), and boron oxide (B2O3), enveloped in an epoxy resin.
In addition to providing high strength and stiffness at low weight, which is typical of all glass fibers, E-glass also combines low values for dielectric constant and dielectric loss, critical properties for insulators used in high-speed electronics, Li explains. The fibers also resist thermal expansion, which keeps the size of the board constant as multiple drilling and assembly steps build complex circuitry.
Despite its name, E-glass also has applications far beyond electronics, making its way into pipes, tanks, and other industrial parts, as well as into products used in transportation and renewable energy. The long reach comes from customizing the fibers’ chemical composition.
The boron oxide component typical of E-glass, for example, provides circuit boards with some important electrical properties. But it also lowers the material’s guard against attack by acids and corrosive chemicals. So manufacturers came up with a boron-free version, dubbed E-CR, that provides acid and chemical resistance that’s used, for example, in pipes that transport and tanks that store corrosives.
Renewable energy uses tons of E-glass—literally. Each of the three 38-meter-long blades in common models of wind turbines contains nearly 3 metric tons of E-glass fibers, Li says. The fibers impart strength to the blades while keeping them light and responsive to breezes. But turbine blades need to be much stiffer than circuit boards so that they don’t flex too much and crash into the grounding pole to which they’re attached. For standard-length blades, glassmakers address that requirement chemically and physically. They remove boron from circuit-board E-glass because that element weakens silica’s glass network. And instead of forming bundles containing hundreds of 5-µm fibers, as they do for circuit-board use, they bundle several thousand fibers with diameters of 10 µm or larger.When it comes to increasing stiffness, bigger is better. So, too, for boosting a generator’s electrical output. That’s why engineering firms keep increasing the length of windmill blades, with today’s longest ones approaching 100 meters. Longer blades can capture more wind energy, but it’s challenging to keep them rigid.
We stock a limited range of Carbon Fibre due to the large range and inhibitive prices but can source just about anything you might need
An obvious requirement of any high performance racing car, motorbike or powerboat construction is that it should be strong and lightweight. For these reasons, carbon fibre has become acknowledged as the best material for the job. Formula One cars are some of the most expensive pieces of sporting equipment and as a result, a huge amount of money and research has been put into the development of safety and performance of various materials and composites over the years. The modern formula one car is based around a central monocoque which protects the driver and acts as a connecting point to the other components of the car. This part of the car is composed virtually entirely of carbon fibre as it is lightweight (the entire bare chassis weighs just 35kg!) and provides extreme protection against the phenomenal forces involved in the sport due to its high torsional rigidity and high tensile strength. In addition to this, carbon fibre is flame and corrosion proof and, when properly used, shatters in an accident thereby absorbing a huge amount of energy, which would otherwise be transferred directly to the driver. The accident below occurred in the Belgian Grand Prix in 1998, involving a large number of the 22 cars competing, yet every driver walked away, which underlines carbon fibres place in motorsport. Many other components of the car are also made from carbon fibre, from the suspension to the gearbox and even the brakes, where carbon fibre has taken over from more traditional materials such as steel, again because it is light weight and that the latest carbon fibre brakes can produce phenomenal stopping power. The manufacture of components is very laborious, involving many stages such as autoclaving, vacuuming and curing and even the smallest components may require 100’s of man hours to construct.
Over the years, the use of carbon fibre as the main structural material in the sport has filtered through the various varieties of motorsport and is now found even at the most basic levels and is now becoming increasingly used in the construction of road cars.
Many sports utilise the physical properties of carbon fibre (often referred to as graphite by manufacturers and retailers) as rival companies constantly compete to produce high performance equipment. For example in golf, the traditional materials such as steel used for the shaft of a golf club are being replaced in favour of carbon fibre as it produces a lightweight club, with the advantage of low torque. The diagram below shows how the shaft is constructed. The Bias Plies are layers of carbon fibre which control torque across the lateral axis of the shaft in order to produce torsional rigidity. The zero plies determine the flex of the shaft. Different thickness’ and grades of carbon fibre can be used to customise flex in the club.
Tennis is another sport where the same technology is being used to create light, strong rackets. the basic racket is constantly being tweaked by manufactures in the search for maneuverability and power. Carbon fibre is also being used in equipment such as bicycles, where it is used as a lightweight alternative to materials such as aluminium (twice as heavy). These components, such as the one shown below also make use of carbon fibres rigidity, strength and its resistance to stretching. Products such as the chain ring shown below effectively reduce the rotating mass of the ring, thereby increasing efficiency.
Another area where carbon fibre is being used is in the construction of yacht masts. Again it is strong and light, but is also flexible and will always return to its original shape and is extremely unlikely to suffer structural failure. This LUSAS Composite case study provides some more detail on exact technicalities.
Following on from the previous examples, carbon fibre is even finding uses in radio controlled model cars and other models. Again, its properties allow sturdy, lightweight chassis and other components to be made to enhance performance
These are 2 areas where the use of carbon fibre was really pioneered (for example, technology originally developed for satellites and state of the art planes can now be found in the Wilson Hyper Carbon Tennis Rackets) and is still in widespread use. Again, carbon fibres weight, strength, resistance to fire and corrosion etc. make it a very suitable material. An example of this comes from FR-HiTEMP, who manufacture transmission for the Airbus A340.
Carbon fibre and other composite materials are being used in the development of musical instruments. MATIT is a company based in Finland which has developed the worlds first carbon fibre flute. The flute is made from a high modulus carbon fibre and has been developed to improve the acoustics of the instrument.
Carbon fibre also has several applications in science. One of the main uses is carbon fibre electrodes. These can be made simply by buying a sheet of carbon fibre not set in resin, but microscopic, single fibre electrodes have been around since the 1970’s. These single fibres are only about 8 microns in diameter and are often placed in a narrow drawn out glass capillary tube. These electrodes are often used in areas of neuroscience, such as the measurements of extra cellular spike potentials, which are basically action potentials across the membranes of neurones. These extracellular spike potentials have a duration of between 0.2 and 20 milliseconds and may have voltages as little as 2 microvolts. In order to this, the electrodes used need to have a low electrode noise level, because the spike potentials are only just above the noise level, so a “noisy” electrode will effectively drown out the potentials being measured. For these types of experiment, a silver plated carbon fibre electrode is often used. An example of this type of technology in use is the Voltammetric measurement of the release of dopamine in the rat caudate upon electrical stimulation of dopamine releasing neurones.
Kevlar and Kevlar/ Carbon
We stock a limited range of Kevlar due to the large range and inhibitive prices but can source just about anything you might need
Kevlar has unique properties, such as high tensile strength, high toughness, and chemical stability at high temperatures in aromatic polyamides. Kevlar is widely-used as a friction material in the automotive industry and a combustion protection material in the aerospace industry.
Kevlar is a heat-resistant and strong synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed by Stephanie Kwolek at DuPont in 1965, this high-strength material was used first commercially in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires. Typically it is spun into ropes or fabric sheets that can be used as such or as an ingredient in composite material components.
Kevlar has many applications, ranging from bicycle tires and racing sails to bulletproof vests, because of its high tensile strength-to-weight ratio; by this measure it is five times stronger than steel. It also is used to make modern marching drumheads that withstand high impact. When used as a woven material, it is suitable for mooring lines and other underwater applications.