Fiberglass: characteristics, application

Glass fiber is a fiber or strand made from glass or its derivatives, but due to a complex manufacturing process, it ultimately acquired unique properties uncharacteristic of ordinary glass. It does not break on impact, but bends easily without deforming or damaging. From the materials produced on its basis, various products are made that successfully replace traditional familiar materials, and the field of application is the field of construction, automotive, road work in other directions. The article will focus on the types of fiberglass.


The production of artificial fiber and the use of materials based on it is of great interest as a progressive line of business. It occupies today a huge part of the glass industry with a decent investment. This suggests that fiberglass is a popular product among the range of manufactured goods in the modern world..

Synthetic fiberglass can be produced from various types of raw materials, including glass, slag, various rocks and minerals. Fiberglass can be produced by continuous filament method, or by another method – in the form of staple fiber.

Fiberglass photo

Fiberglass characteristics

Fiberglass is popular and in demand as a material due to its remarkable properties, which differ significantly from the original material. Special attention should be paid to the following characteristics:

  • high level of strength, which is superior to the strength of alloy steel. The diameter of the fiberglass strands is 7-9 microns. They are made of magnesium aluminosilicate glass and alkali-free glass and have the highest strength values;
  • resistance to heat treatment. The structure of epoxy fiberglass is preserved even under strong heating, in conditions when natural fibers of organic origin are already completely destroyed;
  • imparting additional strength in the composition of other materials. In this case, fiberglass plays the role of a reinforcing base;

  • tolerance of some types of fiberglass to chemically and thermally aggressive environments – acids, hot water and high pressure steam. The best indicators are possessed by fibers of silica, quartz and kaolin origin;
  • sound absorbing properties. The noise-insulating effect is achieved due to the original structure of the material, in which the space remaining between the fibers is filled with microscopic air bubbles;
  • heat insulating properties. Low density and air content among the fibers ensure heat retention in winter and no heat in summer;
  • incombustibility and environmental friendliness. Fiberglass is non-flammable, does not burn or melt, which makes it a fireproof material and avoids toxic substances that are released during the combustion of many synthetic materials;
  • ability to maintain original shape, perfectly resist aging and resist deformation;
  • change in material properties when wet. When wet, it loses its original properties, and when it dries, it restores them again;
  • poor ratio of fiberglass to bending and multiple abrasions. Processing with resins and varnishes changes things in a positive direction;
  • economical transportation. Fiberglass fabric is thin, flexible, yet resilient at the same time. If it is necessary to transport it, it can be folded tightly enough and the structure of the fabric will not be disturbed. This saves space in transport, and hence transportation costs..

The properties that the finished product will have ultimately depends on the method of manufacture of the product, the chemical composition of the raw materials, the effects of environmental factors and the thickness of the fiberglass..

Fiberglass based materials

Fiberglass itself is only a raw material for the production of various products – glass yarns, rovings and chopped fibers, from which various materials for building, electrical insulating, industrial and structural purposes are subsequently made.

Continuous fiberglass yarns are used to obtain:

  • fiberglass, which are produced by the same weaving method as a regular fabric – by weaving longitudinal and transverse threads together. Depending on the type of weave – satin, linen, checkerboard or twill, the density and curvature of the yarn of the fabric differ in properties and purpose. Fiberglass fabrics are electrical insulating, construction, structural, silica and roving. Depending on the brand, the price of fiberglass is 25-200 rubles / m2 $

  • fiberglass reinforced and tapes, differing in cell size, type and density of impregnation and intended for road or building exterior and interior finishing works;
  • plastic fiberglass – composites with various properties that are initially set depending on the operating conditions. They allow the production of products of any complexity and configuration, and therefore it is fiberglass in combination with polymers that have received the widest application and distribution in various areas of our life..

From staple fiberglass yarns and chopped fibers, you can buy fiberglass for the following purposes:

  • insulation – glass wool and glass mats;
  • fiberglass of varying degrees of thickness, fiberglass;
  • such raw materials are also used as a component of mortars.

Each of these materials has its own inherent features and individual characteristics, which provides unlimited opportunities for their widest use in all areas of human life..

Fiberglass Application

Today, construction, repair and finishing work cannot do without fiberglass products. This material is also used for road works. It was widely used in auto and shipbuilding, in the production of household goods, sports and medical products. And because of its excellent dielectric properties, it has long been used in the energy industry as insulating materials..

The use of fiberglass in construction

A lot of fiberglass products are used in construction. One of them is fiberglass reinforcement, which was developed as a replacement for steel. The fact is that for a long time steel was practically the only material that had the properties necessary for a reinforcing element – exceptional strength and durability. There was no alternative, which meant that we had to put up with the shortcomings of steel. When the development of technologies made it possible to obtain materials with previously inaccessible properties, the standards for the production of building materials, including reinforcing ones, also changed. Composite fiberglass reinforcement replaced steel.

  • It has the strength and reliability of steel, but at the same time it is several times lighter than it, does not corrode, is resistant to the adverse effects of moisture, has low thermal conductivity, does not conduct electricity and is completely chemically inert. All these remarkable qualities ensure the widest use of the composite in a wide variety of cases – for reinforcing foundations, concrete structures and road or aircraft bedding, fastening of thermal insulation, in the form of reinforcing nets for the bearing or facing layer during the construction or renovation of buildings, for the construction of lighting poles, fences, sewer and reclamation structures.
  • Another fiberglass product is glass fiber, which is added to the concrete solution as a fastening element. As you know, ordinary concrete mix in the process of hardening is subject to shrinkage, as a result of which microcracks are formed. This is undesirable, since it negatively affects the quality of concrete and its durability. Adding fiber to the solution makes a difference. When fresh concrete begins to harden, chemical and physical processes inside the mortar can lead to the formation of defects. Fiberglass fibers are able to stop the growth of microcracks in the early stages of hardening. In some cases, such a composition makes it possible to do without additional reinforcement. Fiberglass is used to create aerated concrete, aerated concrete and aerated concrete, in dry mixes and plasters, screeds and wall panels for buildings, etc. The resulting products are of better quality and with higher characteristics.

  • Fiberglass is an excellent insulation. What is well used in construction for thermal insulation of various unloaded structures, inside and outside buildings. For outdoor use, it is used in a ventilated facade system as an independent insulation element or as part of sandwich panels. It can be used both in rolls and in mats. Internal work includes insulation of the roof, attic space, thermal insulation of walls and ceilings, internal partitions of conventional and frame buildings. Fiberglass products are also used to insulate various communications suitable for buildings – pipelines, sewerage and ventilation systems, heating. For these purposes, needle-punched materials are mainly used. Insulate cold rooms, saunas and similar rooms with vapor and heat-reflecting foil mats.
  • Repair and decoration of premises is also not complete without fiberglass products. Their main purpose is creation of a reinforcing layer on the surface during plastering. Thus, the restoration is successful. Many small cracks or one large one can be closed with fiberglass putty.
  • In addition, it is used as reinforcing element before pouring the self-leveling floor, laying waterproofing, to strengthen the joints of drywall sheets. For a finer finish of surfaces for painting, when working with drywall, to prevent the appearance of minor flaws and obtain an ideal picture as a whole, a more elegant version of the reinforcing material is used – non-woven fiberglass. Finishing with the use of fiberglass always gives excellent results, a high-quality uniform coating without defects and flaws. In addition, it is also a guarantee that the ideal surface condition will not be violated in the near future..

  • Another fiberglass finishing material is glass wallpaper – excellent decorative coating, but requires a large amount of paint due to its high absorbency. Unlike ordinary wallpaper, they are hardy, withstand mechanical stress and exposure to chemical environments.

The use of fiberglass in road and industrial construction

  • Fiberglass is widely used in industrial and road construction. Here it is irreplaceable as a bonding component. The roadbed with the laid fiberglass reinforcement, subject to the construction technology, does not crack or squeeze under load. The presence of fiberglass mesh in the road surface layers guarantees an increase in productivity and their service life, reduces the thickness of the asphalt surface, prevents the formation and propagation of cracks and potholes, increases the passability and durability of roads, and allows to increase the time between repairs.
  • In hydraulic engineering construction, the construction of dams, embankments, bridges, retaining walls, storm collectors cannot do without reinforcing fiberglass nets. A significant part of the sewage tanks (sedimentation tanks, filters, septic tanks) are all made of the same fiberglass.

  • It is used to make seats installed in stadiums, airports, bus and railway stations; equipment of stops, pools. Wherever a large crowd of people is foreseen.

Fiberglass Applications in Automotive and Shipbuilding

  • Fiberglass and composite fiberglass, due to their low weight and exceptional strength, the ability to be easily machined and dyed, are therefore in demand in the automotive industry and motorsport. Various body parts are made from these materials – doors, roofs, trunk lids, hoods. As well as bumpers, spoilers, body kits, roof rails and interior interior parts. Fiberglass is used to give additional rigidity to tires, and in mufflers as a sound insulation material.
  • Tuning shops use fiberglass products to create trim pieces due to their ability to easily replicate the shape of the workpiece to reproduce the desired detail. Ease of processing, small thickness, flexibility and plasticity of the material make it possible to manufacture products of varying degrees of complexity and shape from it..

  • The same remarkable qualities of fiberglass ensure its use on an industrial scale and in the shipbuilding industry. The hulls of motor and rowboats, racing and cruising yachts, fishing boats, scooters and boats are today partially or completely made of this material. Other parts of ships can also be fiberglass.

Fiberglass boat video

Other uses for fiberglass

Depending on the thickness of fiberglass, various consumer goods and other products are produced from it:

  • plumbing details – dry closets, septic tanks, showers, pool bowls;
  • goods for sports and recreation – rowing oars, ski poles, fishing rods, etc .;
  • boxes and containers for solid waste;
  • medical products used in dentistry – fillings and fixed dentures, teeth splinting tapes;
  • medical devices used in orthopedics – prostheses, crutches, walking sticks;
  • various types of pipes for household use – antennas, holders, flagpoles;
  • electrical products – indicators, fuses, earthing switches.

This is not a complete list of all locations where fiberglass products can be used. Every day the scope of their application is expanding more and more, covering more and more new areas of our activity..

The wide distribution and use of fiberglass and products based on it became possible due to the achievements of modern production, high technologies in the field of chemical industry, in particular polymers and composite materials, and high quality requirements for the final product. Fiberglass is a unique product that perfectly meets the realities of the time and the required characteristics and properties inherent in modern materials. Therefore, such a versatile application of it is not surprising at all..