Acronyms and the world of FRP

What’s in an acronym?

We live in a world filled with acronyms, and texting seems to have made things worse, not better. Those of you with kids at home will know exactly what I mean. OMG, it’s enough to make me LMAO.

As engineers, we’re hardly innocent. There’s no shortage of acronyms in our like of work, and I want to mention one here: FRP.

We all know FRP stands for Fiberglass Reinforced Polymer. But I’m going to paraphrase George Orwell here and claim that while all FRP is equal, some FRP is more equal than others.

FRP for water, wastewater, storm water, sewage and penstock applications is primarily manufactured using two methods—centrifugal casting and continuous winding. For oil and gas applications, smaller diameter pipe that can withstand extreme pressures is manufactured using a third, continuous-extruding process. So even though all these methods result in FRP, they produce pipe with different characteristics.

The continuous-winding process, for example, has several advantages for our industry. A dual-resin delivery system allows the application of special inner resins for severely corrosive applications, such as sewage lines. Glass or polyester veils can be applied that add extra chemical resistance. Pipe made using the continuous-winding method can handle higher pressures and a broader array of applications than centrifugally cast pipe. Despite this, it’s no more expensive.

The centrifugal casting method has been around longer, and many of you will recognize the acronym CCFRMP from some sole-source specs. But I think I can make the case that FRP pipe manufactured using the continuous-winding method is a superior, more versatile product. We all know that FRP beats ferrous pipe when it comes to many factors, the most important of which is corrosion. But next time you’re thinking about FRP, it’s probably a good idea to ask yourself what kind of FRP will best do the job.

Of course, different manufacturers will generally claim the superiority of their own products. In the long run, though, sole-sourcing doesn’t really benefit anyone. Shouldn’t we all be focusing on the common enemy: corrosion?

Want to hear more about FRP? Simply LMK. Right now, I’ve GTG.

TTYL, Mike

P.S. You might be interested in our March 31st webinar: “What Drives the Increased Adoption of FRP in North America and What You Need to Know for Your Spec.” You can find out more and sign up here.