Structural Polymer is also referred to as Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP). It is a polymer based material that is manufactured into standard structural profiles, like i-beam, c-channel, angle and box section using a pultrusion process – this means the various fibres and matting are typically pulled through a bath of hot resins while the fibre is under load to form the specific profile.
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Structural Polymers offer many advantages over steel, aluminium, laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and other similar structural materials. Structural Polymer is inert, does not contain any toxins, can be cut, drilled and fixed using normal carpentry tools, is approximately 1/4 the weight of steel and 1/3 the weight of the equivalent aluminium profile, is UV protected, will not rust or warp, is not affected by termites or rot and can be used in highly acidic or alkaline environments, making it ideal in coastal building projects, including full immersion into salt water.
Read more – see ADVANTAGES list.
The history of polymers dates back to 1935 when Owens Corning combined plastic polymer with glass fiber, creating fiberglass, a product that offered incredible strength to weight properties. However, the use of pultrusion began in the 1940’s with the first commercial pultrusion operation starting in 1952. Today’s structural polymers can be formed into almost any profile (provided it is straight – no curves) using pultrusion, while the resins and polymers can be hand mounded into a range of other profiles, such as brackets and railings using advanced material science processes that exhibit very similar mechanical properties to the pultrusion manufactured profiles.