Fiberglass is known as a versatile material with many industrial applications. Since its mass production in the early 20th century, new uses for fiberglass has been discovered and applied in various industries. Initially, it was highly sought after as an insulator due to its capacity to withstand heat and for insulating against electrical flow.
Expanded Application for Fiberglass
Fiberglass is manufactured through a process that melts materials such as silica sand, limestone, and other chemical components into a liquid base. The composite material is then shaped into filaments and bundled. As a base material, the fiberglass is then processed, molded, or shaped into different kinds of products.
Various industries utilize the material for its strength and lightweight property. The material can be exposed to different types of weather and still retain its basic qualities. Decades after its introduction in the early 20th century, it was used for manufacturing parts for aircraft, marine craft, as well as land vehicles such as cars and trucks. It was also used to mold the chassis of certain sports cars before carbon fibers and polymers were used.
Unlike metal, fiberglass does not conduct electricity, making it the perfect material for certain types of industrial equipment. These include products such as the fiberglass electrical enclosures that are used for electronic controls at home or in the office. Fiberglass composites are sought after as a material for these electrical components due to its insulative properties.
These enclosures house components used in electrical and electronic applications. With the potential exposure to electrical currents, these boxes should be made only with non-conductive materials. From a safety and security perspective, this prevents any accidental electrical contact from happening. Since fiberglass has chemical-resistant properties, it also ensures that the electrical wirings inside the box are protected against chemical exposure.
Other Uses for Fiberglass
The material found its way across various industries. In the telecommunications industry, parts of antennas were made from fiberglass. Due to its corrosion-resistant properties, it was also used as a material for storage tanks. Fiberglass is also extensively used in the oil, gas, and power industry. The material has been used to produce above and below ground piping networks for water treatment and gas distribution.
As the fiberglass material evolved throughout the years, it also found its way into non-traditional applications such as home building. Fiberglass composites are now used to mass manufacture doors, windows, frames, and other components of homebuilding. While more materials have been discovered throughout the years, fiberglass has retained its relevance even today. In fact, the global fiberglass market reached approximately USD $12.73 billion in 2016. The study noted that demand for the product in sectors such as construction spurred market growth.
Fiberglass can be used for a variety of products. Many types of industries rely on the material for its insulative, thermal resistant, and flame-retardant features. This makes it the perfect material for manufacturing electrical enclosures and other industrial products, as an added layer of safety and security.