What is it?

Fiberglass refers to products made from individual glass fibers which are combined into different forms. Glass fibers can be separated into two major groups: discontinuous fibers, which are used as boards, blankets, and batts, and continuous fibers, used in textiles and yarns. Fiberglass is a lightweight but strong material and is used for numerous products. It is not as stiff and strong as composites based on carbon fiber, but it is less brittle and its raw materials are much cheaper. It can be readily molded into complex shapes, and its weight and bulk strength are better than many metals.

How is it Made

The basic raw materials required for fiberglass production are a combination of manufactured chemicals and natural minerals, with the major ingredients being soda ash, limestone, and silica sand. Other ingredients include kaolin clay, magnesite, nepheline syenite, feldspar, borax, and calcined alumina. The raw materials are gathered together, which is called a “batch”. The batch is then heated in a furnace. The furnace may be heated by fossil fuels or electricity, but it is important that the temperature is precisely controlled to maintain a steady and smooth flow of glass. Once the glass becomes molten, it is moved through a channel at the end of the furnace to the forming equipment. There are several different processes used to form fibers. Textile fibers, for example, may be formed from molten glass directly from the furnace. The molten glass is pressed through the exits and openings as glass fibers. The glass fibers are then put onto a winding machine, which spins at an extremely high speed, typically 10,000 feet per second (at least). After the fibers are stretched into long filaments, they are chemically treated, and then placed on large tubes. Depending on what the fibreglass is being used for, a certain process takes place to make the final product. If it is being used for insulation, for example, it is interlaced on a conveyor before being pressed together and cured into rigid (or semi-rigid) insulation boards. Fiberglass can also be molded into shapes, if required. Fiberglass that is used for insulation has to go through a quality control process to ensure it meets building standards.

light through fibreglass


Fiberglass is very common in automobiles. While it has never succeeded against metal for large production volumes as body material, it is a big presence in the replacement body parts, as well as kit and custom auto markets. Fiberglass is also ideal for boat construction. Modern resins are much more resilient than they have been in the past, thus erasing the concern of water absorption, and they dominate the marine industry. Fiberglass is also used in almost every single home. This could include spa tubs and furniture, or bathtubs and showers. It is also commonly found in insulation. Storage tanks are usually made of fiberglass with capacities of over 300 tonnes. These tanks tend to be used for chemical storage, because the plastic liner is resistant to a wide range of corrosive chemicals. Septic tanks also usually use fiberglass for this very reason.