Fiberglass enclosures are boxes, cases, cabinets, and other kinds of storage and transportation utilities made of glass reinforced polymer resins. Glass-reinforced polymer resins are also known as glass-reinforced plastics, fiberglass-reinforced plastics, or simply fiberglass. Fiberglass is a composite of a thermoplastic resin and glass fibers.
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Applications of Fiberglass Enclosures
In industrial and commercial contexts, fiberglass is used for the construction of tanks, pipes, and other materials storage and transmission materials. Even some consumer products like tackle boxes and hand-operated spray pumps are often made of fiberglass. Fiberglass is particularly well-suited for use as an enclosure construction material because of its light weight, corrosion resistance, and scratch resistance. The food industry, chemical plants, water treatment facilities, and many other industrial and commercial operations make use of fiberglass enclosures for storage and shipping purposes.
Fiberglass Enclosure Design and Construction
Fiberglass enclosures are constructed of a mixture of glass fibers and resins. The small fibers are usually invisible without magnification. When saturated with polyester resin, the fibers harden into a strong structure, which provides sturdy material for an enclosure. Fiberglass enclosures are resistant to extreme weather conditions, acid, bleach, and some organic solvents. They also feature low friction, high dimensional stability, and good mechanical strength. Depending on the shape and size of the enclosure, a variety of processes can be used in the fabrication of fiberglass enclosures.
Fiberglass fabricators have a range of tools at their disposal during fabrication processes. The most common fabrication method is molding, and there are a few different kinds of molding that are used for the creation of most fiberglass enclosures. The process involves heating a thermoplastic resin beyond its melting point so it can be formed easily. The molten resin is then placed in a mold or on a mandrel and then sprayed with fiberglass and other additives. Once the materials have taken the appropriate shape, they are removed from the mold and prepared for shipment or additional processing if necessary.
Benefits of Using Fiberglass Materials
Professional plastic fabricators combine plastic resins with fiberglass because of the qualities of strength it adds to the plastic. For example, the tensile strength of un-reinforced polyester resin is about 55 MPa, while the tensile strength of polyester combined with chopped strand mat laminate is close to 100 MPa. Other fiberglass-plastic composites can have tensile strengths as high as 2,300 MPa. It is this quality of high tensile strength that makes fiberglass an attractive material for the construction of enclosures.