Over recent decades, fibreglass has become a commonly used material in manufacturing.
Because it is so durable and versatile, it has a variety of uses. It is so commonly used, that you are probably using fibreglass in your everyday life and barely noticing!
But, is fibreglass a suitable material for the environment and our planet? Here we weigh up all the factors!
First, we have to consider: what is fibreglass?
Fibreglass is made up of glass fibres. To manufacture fibreglass, glass is melted, which allows for it to be filtered in liquid form through minuscule holes. This creates incredibly thin and fine linaments. Learn more about the fibreglass manufacturing process here.
These linament fibres can then be processed in a number of ways. They can be mixed with resin materials for increased strength, or they can be woven into materials. On its own, fibreglass is lightweight and durable.
Common uses of fibreglass include:
- Roofing such as flat roofs and roofing shingles
- Ceiling tiles
- Construction materials
There are over 40,000 uses for fibreglass worldwide – from surfboards, boats, aviation and car body parts, and even park amusements and plant pots!
Is fibreglass biodegradable?
While it has many qualities, fibreglass will not decompose.
This is because of its durability – it is unaffected or harmed by weather, salt water and most chemicals.
However, its uses are sustainable
While it is not biodegradable, there are so many sustainable uses for fibreglass moulding.
There are so many sustainable uses for fibreglass. Read more.
However, we have chosen one main use as a brief case study below:
Case Study: Wind Turbines
Fibreglass moulding is used to construct the turbines themselves, which are vital for creating renewable energy from wind.
Fibreglass laminates are used widely in the manufacturing process of rotor blades, nacelles and tower structures.
Because it can be moulded into any shape, fibreglass is the most cost-effective option for building wind turbines, especially for offshore wind farms, due to its resistance to weather and saltwater.
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