Fibreglass or GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) is all around us, and its unique characteristics will ensure that it remains one of the most versatile and easy to use composites for many years to come, both in Uganda and abroad. UEL’s fibreglass products feature low technology fabrication, durability, high flexing tolerance, moderate/high strength/weight ratio, corrosion resistance, impact resistance and can be used in the following industries:
Aviation and Aerospace
GRP is used extensively in aviation and aerospace though it is not widely used for primary airframe construction, as there are alternative materials which better suit the applications. Typical GRP applications are engine cowlings, luggage racks, instrument enclosures, bulkheads, ducting, storage bins and antenna enclosures. It is also widely used in ground-handling equipment.
Boats and Marine
This is an area where fiberglass is supreme. Its properties are ideally suited to boat building. Although there were problems with water absorption, modern resins are more resilient, and the composites continue to dominate the marine industry. In fact, without GRP, boat ownership would never have reached the levels it has today, as other construction methods are simply too expensive for volume production and not amenable to automation. In Uganda UEL has supplied resins for boat fibreglass repair to several marine companies in Entebbe on Lake Victoria.
GRP (fibreglass) is widely used for circuit board manufacture (PCB’s) – there is probably one within six feet of you now. TVs, radios, computers, cellphones – GRP holds our electronic world together.
Almost every home has GRP somewhere – whether in a bathtub or a shower tray. Other applications include furniture and spa tubs.
Leisure and Recreation
Fibreglass is used everywhere in fun parks – The cars on the rides, the towers, the castles – so much of it is based on fiberglass. Even your local fun park probably has water slides made from the composite. And then the health club – do you ever sit in a Jacuzzi? That’s probably GRP as well.
Because of its low porosity, non-staining, and hard wearing finish, GRP is ideally suited to medical applications, from instrument enclosures to X-ray beds (where X-ray transparency is important).
Most people who tackle DIY projects have used fiberglass at one time or another. It is readily available in hardware stores, easy to use (with a few health precautions to be taken), and can provide a really practical and professional looking finish.
Building 100’ wind turbine blades is a major growth area for this versatile composite, and with wind energy a massive factor in the energy supply equation, its use is certain to continue to grow.
Truck bodies, canopies, bumpers, windshields can all be made of fiberglass.
Building and Construction
From fibreglass corrugated roofs and sheets to shades in residential homes or public bus stages, reinforced plastic is used by engineers to achieve their goals.