Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic (GFRP)

GFRP is a polymer composite that is lightweight, high strength, corrosion resistant, and durable. This fibreglass Composite has a Class 1 (or A) fire rating making it suitable for use in a broad range of architectural applications. It can be produced in virtually any shape and with smooth, textured or patterned surfaces providing architects with abundant design flexibility.

GFRP is commonly supplied unfinished for on-site painting, but can be supplied pre-finished with paint or Integral cast in color, depending on the application.

GFRP is a glass fibre reinforced plastic used to make architectural elements. It is a catalyzed thermoset plastic Composite that is durable, chemical resistant and has excellent weathering, flexural and tensile physical properties. This makes it a versatile material that provides cost effective solutions for the construction of buildings, particularly with respect to exterior applications. It is also a lightweight material, weighing approximately 10 kg/m2 which reduces transportation, handling and installation costs.

The standard GFRP surface consists of a UV stabilized NPG polyester gel coat which is provided in a white color for field finishing. The back-up laminate consists of layers of glass fibre and polyester resin. The ARTIC GFRP composite material has a Class 1 (or A) fire rating. When GFRP is molded into shapes, the geometry of the shape imparts physical properties to the parts, such as strength and stiffness. For example, the design profiles of GFRP parts that include recesses, projections, grooves, curves or ornamentation, become stronger. The nominal shell thickness of parts is 4mm. However, areas of parts that have flat regions are cast thicker by encapsulating core materials into the laminate that provide added strength and stiffness.

GFRP offers some unique advantages for Architects and Designers in providing the capability to make large parts in any shape and size that would otherwise require more costly support structures and increased installation costs (as compared to other materials such as precast concrete). The boat building industry has taken this to extremes where single piece boat hulls have been fabricated in excess of over 45m in length. But it is of course more practical in most building applications to utilize much more modest sized components in consideration of the initial mold costs, shipping, handling, and installation methods to optimize project costs.

In most cases, GFRP molded parts are secured to the building structural framing and substrate with concealed fasteners, Joints between parts should be minimized and advantageously positioned in consideration of part size and design, overall appearance, and installation. GFRP parts are typically supplied with pre-made corners to minimize field mitering.

Some typical architectural applications of GFRP include facade panels, columns, cornices, pediments, storefront entries, cupolas and other decorative elements such as friezes and signage , GFRP is also used in interior or exterior applications, where a high impact resistant and lightweight material is desired. Molded GFRP products can replicate many common materials such as slate, cast iron, and wood grained surfaces to name just a few.

Most items are custom made to project design requirements and specifications. ARTIC uses 5-axis CNC technology to machine precision patterns from which molds are produced to make the required parts. In situations involving complicated Design elements or projects, ARTIC will work with Architects and Designers to create a practical plan for the parts and Assemblies they envision through 3D modeling and/or scaled or full size mock-ups. Detailed shop drawings and material Samples are prepared for approval prior to manufacture.