Why Pultruded Profiles are Stronger and Last Longer

by Tencom Ltd.

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Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer (FRP) profiles are particularly useful in applications where metals are unable to provide an optimal solution: for example, where corrosion is a concern or lightweight structural shapes are required for easy installation.

One of the most common applications of fiberglass strut profiles is in outside environments where a structure is subject to chemical exposure.

pultrusion capabilities guide

Some of these include outdoor walkways and water treatment plants. They are also used in several outdoor activities such as in arrow shafts, crossbows, paddle shafts, hockey sticks, golf shafts and kick boards.

Why Pultruded Products are Strong

Pultrusion is a manufacturing process used for making parts with a  constant cross-section. Pultrusion can also be carried out using thermoplastic as the matrix material.

Pultrusion can manufacture composite products with a high fiber ratio where materials are pulled through the die. The use of pre-formers closely control the resin:fiber ratio and fiber rovings (sometimes together with fabrics) are pulled from the rear of the machine.

During the manufacturing process, they are guided into position, passed through a resin bath and then through a die. Thermoset materials require time to cure so the die is positioned around the material during this curing time. The resin cures as it is pulled through the length of the die and exits as a cured part. Long lengths of composite materials can be made quickly.

Why use pultruded products? When the resin hardens from the heated steel pultrusion die, the final product is one that follows the shape of the die and is strong and lightweight. As it is formed continuously after being heated by high temperature and then cured, it has excellent anti-corrosion, insulation and economic benefits.

Examples of pultruded products that have excellent mechanical properties longitudinally include beams, channels and girders.

Uses for Fiberglass Channels and Beams and other profiles

  • Long span roof, wall, & tank cover beams
  • Primary building structures
  • Baffle wall columns
  • Cooling tower structures
  • Cable management systems and support

Benefits of Using Fiberglass profiles

Pultruded fiberglass profiles are superior to many traditional materials such as wood, steel, and aluminum because of their unique properties:

  • Resistant to corrosion and chemicals ─ FRPs are resistant to a broad range of chemicals and are not affected by oxidation and corrosion. These properties lower the total cost of a project by eliminating the costs associated with painting or galvanizing.

  • Can withstand high temperatures ─ Pultruded fiberglass profiles are an optimal option for many applications. Fiberglass-reinforced composites are non-conductive, chemical-resistant, and corrosion-resistant. They can be made to have an ultra-high Glass Transition Temperature (Tg) of about 575°F (302°C). As the highest-ranking Tg pultruded material tested, many FRP composites can withstand immense heat and pressure. So, if a fire should burn inside a building, the support structures made out of FRP composite materials should not falter as wood may.

  • Lightweight with high tensile strength ─ Pultruded fiberglass profiles can be 30% lighter than aluminum and 70% lighter than steel with high strengths. In particular, the pultruded profile provides exceptional dimensional stability and its tensile strength is much higher than that of steel in a pound-to-pound comparison.

  • Flexible and impact-resistant ─ FRPs do not deform permanently under working load, which is distributed by the glass mat to prevent surface damage. 

  • Cost-efficient ─ Pultruded fiberglass profiles are easy to handle and easier to transport. For example, they can be cut and shaped using simple tools which reduce the overall cost of any project. Major cost savings stem from easier onsite positioning and a reduction of structural strengthening and foundation design needs.

  • Highly durable ─ Pultruded fiberglass channels have a long lifecycle with low maintenance needs. Over the long term, these channels have low maintenance requirements and costs since they don't deteriorate or rust.

  • EMI/RFI transparent ─ Pultruded channels provide non-magnetic electromagnetic transparency and are therefore an ideal solution for many applications where metal parts can create interference. Pultruded products have a low thermal conductivity of 1/250 (aluminum) and 1/60 (steel). This feature makes the pultruded product effective as a thermal break.

  • Sustainable ─ Pultruded products are energy-efficient, require less heat, produce less wastage and causes less pollution. In addition, FRP can have a lifecycle of 75 to 150 years and be recycled or reformed into other plastic-based products. They are an eco-friendly choice for many industries including construction, manufacturing and recreation.

Applications for Fiberglass Channels and other profiles

Pultruded fiberglass channels are particularly useful in applications in which metals can't provide an ideal solution, for example, where corrosion is a concern or lightweight structural shapes are required for easy installation.

As they are lightweight, easy to install, versatile, strong, durable with a long lifecycle, pultruded fiberglass channels are widely used in various industries including:

  • Construction and Infrastructure: FRP products are often used in outdoor construction projects because of its durability. They can be cut and shaped using simple tools for easy installation while the low maintenance requirements translate to a low cost of ownership. Thanks to its high tensile strength and ease of installation, pultruded fiberglass profiles can be used as floor joists. In addition, they are also used in bridge components, corrosion-resistant guardrails, railway crossing arms, and highway sound barriers.

  • Utility and Telecommunications: Pultruded fiberglass profiles' durability, non-conductivity, low maintenance requirements, and EMI/RFI transparency make them ideal for applications such as utility poles, cross arms, and line markers, electrical lines and trunking, waste water and water treatment components, non-conductive ladder rails, and fiber optic cabling.

  • Tool Manufacturing: FRPs provide a low-cost, versatile and reliable option for manufacturers. FRPs can be customized according to customers' needs and sizes to create ergonomic shapes for devices and handheld tools. 

  • Sporting, Recreational and Outdoor Equipment: Pultruded fiberglass profiles are often used in outdoor equipment that are required to withstand moisture, sunlight, heat, and heavy wear. Applications include outdoor furniture and high-performance sporting equipment including golf clubs, hockey sticks, sailing equipment, paddles, ski poles.

Turning Design Concept to Reality

For over two decades, Tencom's expert engineers have helped designers, builders, and manufacturers in various industries turn design ideas into reality.

We can help you customize FRP components and implement them into the manufacturing process, so you can get the right product that matches your timing and at your budget. Contact us.

tencom pultrusion capabilities and products

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