Pipes made of fiberglass are a lightweight, inexpensive alternative to steel, iron and concrete pipes. Like all fiberglass products, fiberglass pipes have a strength-to-weight ratio, allowing for easy transportation, installation and handling. They are corrosion-resistant and fare well when exposed to salt water, CO2, H25, solvents and hot water as well as oily water on the interior and alkaline or acidic soil on the exterior.
The construction, plumbing and water treatment industries use fiberglass pipes for both industrial and residential settings. Major cooling systems, sea water applications, desulphurization plants and penstock lines in hydropower systems all use pipes made of fiberglass because of its resistance to buildup in the smooth internal walls and wide temperature tolerance range of -20º F to 300º F.
They can also be laminated and reinforced with epoxy, vinyl, Furan, polyester and phenolic glass. Since fiberglass is so rigid, the pipes are not able to bend. However, they may be molded to any shape and joined together by male and female threading or a strong adhesive joint. Unlike metal pipes and some kinds of plastic pipes, fiberglass pipes are much less susceptible to becoming corroded.
Fiberglass is constructed using fine threads of glass fibers, which are chopped into tiny pieces and used as very strong, effective reinforcement agents. They are then coated with a thermoplastic resin. Additives are often employed to enhance certain properties like chemical resistance, strength or flexibility. The manufacturing process of fiberglass pipes involves winding the material over a mandrel or centrifugal molding, which is the most common process. During centrifugal molding, a spinning hollow mandrel, or mold, is first covered in a gel coating.
Next, a catalyzed resin that contains chopped fibers is sprayed in multiple layers. Various additional coatings and linings provide corrosion resistance and structural strength. The number of resin layers depends on the newly fabricated pipe’s desired wall thickness. Because of the wide variety of contexts in which fiberglass pipes are used, fiberglass fabricators offer their clients a wide range of fiberglass compositions to choose from. It is important to carefully select the correct composition for every application in order to ensure the safe and effective operation of the pipe once installed.
Fiberglass Pipes Informational Video