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Glass-reinforced plastic

From Academic Kids

Glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), is a composite material or fibre reinforced plastic made of a plastic reinforced by fine fibers made of glass. Like graphite-reinforced plastic, the composite material is commonly referred to by the name of its reinforcing fibers (fiberglass), an example of part-for-whole metonymy. The plastic is most often polyester or vinylester, but other plastics, like epoxy (GRE), are also sometimes used. The glass is mostly in the form of chopped strand mat (CSM), but woven fabrics are also used.

GRP/GRE is a versatile material with many uses. Although GRP was originally developed in the UK during the Second World War as a replacement for the molded plywood used in aircraft radomes (GRP being transparent to microwaves) its first main civilian application was for building of boats, where it gained acceptance in the 1950s, and now plays a dominant role. But its use has broadened over the years, and it is used extensively within the automotive and sport equipment sectors, although its use there is being taken over by carbon fiber because of its lower weight. GRE is also used to make hot tubs, pipes for drinking water, sewers, chemicals, and so on.

Interesting fact: Thorpe Park's 'Tidal Wave' ride uses reinforced GRP for its 4 tonne boats.


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