FRP, Fibre Reinforced Plastic is also known as fibre-reinforced polymer. A major concern in the industrial equipment sector is corrosion. Billions of dollars are spend per annum in order to maintain the equipment corrosion-free and it is a hectic task for design engineers to efficiently eliminate corrosion from equipment with complex designs. The unique properties of FRP composite materials such as corrosion resistance have replaced many costly metals that were traditionally used in the industrial process equipment such as piping, duct making, tanks and reaction vessels.
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FRP composite materials are manufactured by combining a polymer resin along with strong reinforcing fibres. Pultrusion and vacuum infusion are the predominant manufacturing processes used for manufacturing FRP composite materials. Polyester, vinyl ester, polyurethane, epoxy, etc. are the common resins, while aramid, glass, and carbon are the common fibres used for manufacturing FRP composite materials. The fibres can be used in different forms including short fibres, chopped fibres, long fibres, and woven fibres. The developed FRP composites are lightweight and high strength composites materials that enable potential energy conservation, and also helps in lowering emissions when used in automotive and aerospace industries due to decreased overall weight of the vehicles. Contractors and architects select FRP composite materials over metal and wooden materials due to the multifarious manufacturing and construction applications.
Nowadays, the ore extraction process uses extractive metallurgy process, where the equipment comes in contact with acids, organic and inorganic salts, etc. In such situations, rather than the conventional metals, FRP composite materials are of utmost importance to preserve the equipment from external damages.
FRP composite materials find significant application in the manufacture of equipment for chemical processing, pulp or paper, power, metals refining and many other manufacturing industries too. FRP composite materials are a good choice where strong chemicals are used as well as where fabrics may get damaged. FRP composite materials are prominently used where chemical compounds are stored and handled, in specific and dedicated chemical tanks. Substances made up from FRP composite materials can be moulded to any structure and volume effortlessly. FRP composite materials also have special properties such as durability, longer sustainability, low thermal conductivity, radar transparency, dimensional stability, etc.
Demand for FRP compound substances is increasing rapidly due to its properties such as lightweight; FRP is 70% lighter compared to various metals and provides high strength like that of metals. FRP composite materials are corrosion resistant and require much lesser maintenance than common metals, wood or embodied products. FRP composite material is non-conductive and non-magnetic. FRP composite materials have impacted and even revolutionized several major markets such as the wind energy market. FRP composite materials are being used for the nacelles, spinner and turbine blades. The high strength and lightweight FRP composite materials based products allow for longer and wider blades resulting in high production of electrical energy in the wind farms. Apart from these drivers, the market also face challenges such as high cost, mean production velocity or power depth regarding compound materials.
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Europe and North America are expected to remain key markets in the global FRP composite materials market over the forecast period. China and India are projected to grow at a high pace, with Latin America and Middle East & Africa also expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period.
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