That was easy.
Or was it…?
In reality whilst the simple answer is yes – GRP (otherwise known as glass reinforced plastic) is the same as fibreglass – strictly speaking, it’s not quite that straight forward.
All it takes is a quick internet search to reveal that, although only small, there are in fact differences between the two. And the more you look, the more confusing it becomes as you’re faced with a wealth of information on fibreglass, GRP and even more perplexing – FRP!
So, in actual fact, it’s not that easy (sorry!). And if you’re new to the scene it can be baffling, but don’t worry. The team at HR Kilns Ltd are here to help, unscrambling the alphabet spaghetti of GRP and FRP and clearing up once and for all where fibreglass fits into the picture.
What is fibreglass?
Fibreglass is a generic term used to describe products that have been created by spinning melted glass to produce fibres.
These fibres can be used on their own or, more commonly, they are combined with other materials to create what’s known as a ‘composite’.
By mixing the fibres with another material, it’s possible to create a superior end product – one that is stronger and honed more specifically for its intended purpose.
Typical combinations include using the glass fibres with plastic, metal, or ceramic.
As fibreglass is used in these composite materials, many people still refer to the final product as being ‘fibreglass’. But – and this is the important bit – it’s not. And, if plastic has been mixed with the fibres, then what you’re actually talking about is glass reinforced plastic – GRP.
What is GRP?
The reality then, is that glass reinforced plastic is a ‘type’ of fibreglass.
It is made from plastic which has been reinforced using fine fibres made from glass. The resulting characteristics make it a favourable and cost-effective material for a huge variety of uses and products.
So far, so good. But where does FRP fit into all this?
What is FPR?
FRP stands for fibre reinforced polymer. The simplest way to think about it is as another advanced form of fibreglass.
‘Polymers’ are materials made up of long chains of molecules. Some polymers are natural (like rubber), others are synthetic – but either way, they can be reinforced with numerous different fibres to hone the characteristics of the final product produced.
Sometimes, glass fibres are used (say hello again to GRP). But carbon or graphite fibres can be used as well.
So, what does this all mean?
Basically, all FRP contains fibres. If these fibres are glass, then it’s classed as glass reinforced plastic (GRP). Whilst all GRP is classed as an FRP…not all FRP is GRP.
Talk to the experts
Still a little unsure about the differences? Not clear on what’s right for you? Then why not get in touch with the team at HR Kiln.
As fibreglass expects we specialise in GRP products and will happily talk you through the pros and cons of GRP, how it competes with other similar products on the market, and how it could work for you.