Fiberglass is a fairly common material based on quartz sand. It is widely used for the production of building materials and high-tech structures. Let us dwell in more detail on the features of the material, its advantages and disadvantages, as well as the scope.
What is it and what are they made of?
Glass filament is a fiber formed from glass. In this form, the glass exhibits characteristics unusual for itself – it does not crack or break, but it easily takes on a curved shape.
Glass fibers of natural origin can be found in regions where volcanic eruptions once occurred.
They are called Pele’s hairs, their chemical composition is close to that of basalt rocks. However, in terms of their physical and technical characteristics, they cannot be considered complete analogues of glass fibers.
For the first time, fiberglass was obtained by accident – an accident occurred in the glass industry, under air pressure the molten mass swelled and split into thin flexible threads. This came as a huge surprise to the engineers, as glass usually hardens after solidification. More than 150 years have passed since then. During this time, the technology has been improved many times, but its principle has remained unchanged.
Quartz sand is used for the manufacture of fiberglass, and cullet is used for recycling – it can be glass containers, broken glass or rejected glass products obtained under production conditions. Glass production waste is 100% recyclable. This leads to the use of recycled materials in production – it can significantly reduce the cost of the finished material and support the environmental protection of the environment.
The technology is reduced to blowing the finest threads from raw materials. To do this, raw billets are melted at a temperature of 1400 degrees. The viscous mass enters the forming plant and is passed through a centrifuge. The result is glass wool with intermixed fibers. At the final stage, the resulting semi-finished product is passed through a sieve with micro-holes and blown under high air pressure. The output is smooth long threads, which later serve as raw materials for creating more complex products.
The resulting fibers can be of two types.
Long threads – stretched for thousands of kilometers, they are obtained by a continuous method. Thin streams flow through the holes, cool and are wound on the drum. Outwardly, such a fiber resembles a silk thread. In the process of drawing, the threads pass through a sizing unit, impregnated with adhesives and plasticizers. This treatment makes it possible to obtain flexible fibers.
Short threads – have a length of 35-50 cm, they look like felting wool. The production is based on staple technology – the glass molten mass is blown with steam or hot air.
Depending on the thickness of the threads, there are:
thick fiber – more than 25 microns;
thickened – 12-25 microns;
thin – 4-12 microns;
ultrafine – 1-3 microns.
The manufacture of fiberglass is subject to the current GOSTs:
for fabrics for structural purposes – GOST 19170-2001;
for insulating material – GOST 19907-83.
Fiberglass has a number of advantages that determine its wide demand in various sectors of construction and industry.
The material has a low thermal conductivity, so glass wool is used to perform thermal insulation. Glass wool has the lowest indicator – its thermal conductivity corresponds to 0.05 W / m * K. Thanks to this, the room is kept cool in summer, and heat does not leave the building in winter.
Fiberglass is acid and alkali resistant. It is characterized by increased chemical inertness, since it almost entirely consists of quartz sand. Under the action of aggressive solutions, a chemical reaction does not occur, so fiberglass can be successfully combined with any building and finishing materials.
The threads are high-strength, the density corresponds to 2500 kg/m3. At the same time, the threads are fluffed, so the finished product has a large volume combined with low weight.
Fiberglass is often used to make fire fighting equipment. This is a heat-resistant material with a melting point of 1200 degrees – such heating can only be provided with direct exposure to the burner. In theory, it is possible to create such conditions in which ignition will occur. But in this case, combustible binding components must be present in the composition of the fiberglass, which is extremely rare.
The material has an unusual structure. In it, the space between the fibers is filled with microscopic air bubbles. Thanks to this, a high soundproofing effect is achieved.
Glass fiber has the ability to withstand deformation and resist wear, so it retains its original shape for many years.