Glass Reinforced Plastics

I have used “GRP” as a generic label for the cold layup fibre reinforced plastics. It includes “composites” – laminates with high duty reinforcing fibre – carbon and others supplementing or instead of glass. Resins are commonly polyester or epoxy.

GRP is well suited to volume production, where the item concerned is laid up into a mould; commonly female and made of GRP. This has the virtues of producing a smooth finished surface on one side of the laminated item (typically outside of hull, deck, or similar), and a low labour content for each individual laminate. This is balance against the need to generate first a plug (often expendable; sometimes a production boat hull or similar), and a mould.

Other construction techniques are available; typically avoiding the construction of a fully smoothed plug and mould. This comes at the expense of a commitment to fair and finish the sight surface; typically outside of hull, deck or similar, as for moulded items.

It is very common to build GRP items with internal and external skins over some low density core (commonly foam or balsa; sometimes ply). This gives enhanced stiffness and strength for a nominated weight.

GRP construction offers very good weather and corrosion resistance, ease of alterations and repair, moderately to very light construction, good surface finish, and fairly good sound/vibration damping.



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