Fiberglass rods are long, thin, and usually rounded components that have solid profiles. They are made from fiberglass reinforced plastic, a composite material that consists of a thermoplastic resin mixed with fiberglass threading. Fiberglass is highly sought after because of its ability to add strength to a material while avoiding the addition of too much weight. In addition to its strength-to-weight ratio, fiberglass is non-conductive, non-magnetic, and resistant to rust, extreme temperatures, and various chemicals such as acid and bleach. The glass fibers are commonly threaded on both sides of the material to enable it to connect to other items or fastening components such as screws.
Quick links to Fiberglass Rods Information
Benefits of Fiberglass Rods
Fiberglass rods are widely popular and highly favored over rods made from other materials, such as metal. Fiberglass is much stronger and lighter than metal, therefore making it much easier for manufacturers and consumers alike to handle, transport, and install them. Both these factors significantly contribute to fiberglass’s inexpensive overall cost. Because it is so versatile, reliable, and cost effective, rods made from fiberglass are used extensively in a broad range of industries and applications. Examples of these industries include sports equipment fabrication and food processing. Examples of items that can be made from fiberglass include retaining wall pins, antenna poles, food processing machine components, cable support rods, duct rods, flag poles, and fishing rods.
Typically, fiberglass products are manufactured using the molding process. However, fiberglass rods are manufactured by way of pultrusion. The word "pultrusion" is a portmanteau—the term combines the words "pull" and "extrusion." The pultrusion process enables manufacturers to produce continuous lengths of fiberglass reinforced plastic, and produce fiberglass rods with constant cross-sections. The first step of the process involves forcing molten glass through ultra-fine holes. Next, the continuous uncut threads are put in a resin bath in which they are coated with a thermoplastic resin. The next step involves drawing the coated fibers through a heated die, where the material takes the shape of a rod. The fiberglass threads and the thermoplastic resin remain separate as it takes the final shape. Finally, the rod is left to cure and dry. Once cured and dried, the rod can be cut to a desired length using tools such as a router, a saw, or a drill. Because of the tendency of fiberglass to splinter, the cutting process is often done using a tool bit or a diamond-tipped saw. After cutting, the rods may be sent for secondary processing, such as painting, drilling, rounding, pointing, or threading. However, secondary processing is rarely necessary.
Pultruded fiberglass rods are highly advantageous to materials such as structural wood/timber, steel, and aluminum. The primary advantage of fiberglass over wood is that unlike wood, fiberglass will not rot, warp, or develop mold or mildew. Second, fiberglass is much lighter in weight than wood, much stronger, and more rigid.
Fiberglass Reenforced Plastic and Steel
When it comes to steel, fiberglass reenforced plastic has three main benefits. First, fiberglass is both thermally and electrically non-conductive, and can even be made fire resistant by certain resins. Second, it is much more resistant to corrosion than steel. Third, it can be up to 75% lighter in weight, allowing for much easier installation. The advantages don’t end there. Pultruded fiberglass has a much lower life cycle cost, as steel requires frequent galvanizing and painting in order to maintain it. Pultruded fiberglass material is transparent to both EMI/RFI and radio wave transmissions. Finally, pultruded fiberglass rods can be manufactured using simple tools, unlike steel, which requires welding.
Aluminum vs. Fiberglass
Aluminum has a high level of thermal and electrical conductivity, a low level of corrosion resistance, and is heavy in weight. However, pultruded fiberglass rods have the opposite characteristics, and are around 30% lighter than aluminum. Both materials are very strong, but aluminum is much more prone to deformation and denting under high impact, and is not resistant to EMI/RFI transmissions. Pultruded fiberglass rods, however, have a much higher level of dimensional stability and are EMI/RFI transparent. Aluminum often costs less than pultruded fiberglass plastic, but because of the latter’s durability, it will cost less in the long run and is thus worth the initial investment.
Many companies offer custom pultrusion services to ensure that the fiberglass rods you acquire perfectly suit your application. One part of the pultrusion process that is often customizable is the resin system. Common resin systems include polyester, vinyl ester, and polyurethane. Manufacturers of custom fiberglass rods may design and adjust the resin system to meet the client’s requirements. Get in touch with a fiberglass rod manufacturer today to learn more and explore further options.