Composite materials like fibreglass generally use a resin reinforced by some kind of fibrous material. This results in material that is strong and light, easily moulded and suitable for many applications. The fibre provides the material with its structural strength and the resin adds other qualities, such as fire and corrosion resistance, as well as giving the material its outer finish.
Pultrusion is a specialist process used to make composite materials for use in things like corrugated roof sections. It works by drawing continuous fibre through resin to impregnate it, before it’s then formed into the shape required by passing it through a guide. Once shaped, the material is then cured using heat before being cut to the lengths required.
The resulting pultruded corrugated sections produced in this way are lightweight and strong, and offer good impact resistance and excellent durability. While glass fibre is the most commonly used reinforcing material, different resins can be employed to make sections that are suitable for a range of uses. Polyester is used in most industrial applications, for example, but other resins such as epoxy can offer extra qualities like durability and corrosion resistance. Further alternatives include proprietary resins that offer fire resistance and thermal stability.
Using Pultruded Sections
Thanks to their qualities, pultruded corrugated sections have a wide range of uses in construction projects. Because the sections weigh around 80 percent less than steel and 30 percent less than aluminium, they are often chosen for structures where weight is a key issue. This feature also saves on installation costs, since the need for specialist handling and equipment is reduced and transportation costs are also lower.
The sections are low maintenance too as the materials are resistant to corrosion, even in harsh environments where they may be exposed to chemicals or pollutants. Other properties on offer include low thermal conductivity and zero electrical conductivity. Once they’re completely cured, the sections are also highly resistant to stretching and warping when heated or subject to other stresses.
The sections are easy to work with too. Their weight, as we’ve already noted, makes handling simpler and they can be sawn or drilled on site, or cut to size using lasers or water jets in an industrial environment. Fixing and joints can be made using mechanical fixings such as bolts and rivets, or using adhesive bonds, again adding to the versatility of the material and making it usable in many different situations.
Given all of their benefits, it’s not surprising that pultruded sections are found in a wide range of building and other projects. They can save on construction costs in the short term as well as offering longer term benefits such as low maintenance and long life.