This guide is not intended to be definitive in terms of all types of composites. Rather it provides basic information that can help evaluate the quality and benefits of FRP composites used in automotive applications. Throughout this guide, 'fiberglass' is referred to as 'glass fiber' to be consistent with the terminology 'aramid fiber' and 'carbon fiber'.

What factors affect the performance of an FRP composite?
The choice of resin, the type of fiber, the style of reinforcing fabric, the number of layers in a laminate, the type of core material if used, and the manufacturing process are some of the many factors that can affect the performance of a composite.

What is the difference between GRP and FRP?
GRP refers strictly to Glass Reinforced Polymer whereas FRP is the abbreviation for Fiber Reinforced Polymer, a term describing composites that use fibers to reinforce polymer.

Are GRP and 'glass fiber' the same material?
Yes, GRP is the common abbreviation for 'Glass Reinforced Polymer', which is the technical term for glass fiber. 'Polymer' refers to the chemical make-up of the resin that binds the glass fibers together. Plastics are made from polymers, so this is sometimes substituted to result in 'Glass Reinforced Plastic.'

When was GRP invented?
GRP was invented last century, in the 1940s.

Are all composites FRP?
No. A 'composite' is the name given to any material made up of two or more dissimilar materials that when combined exceed the performance of the individual components on their own. For example, steel reinforced concrete is a composite.

When manufactures describe their product as a 'composite', is this the same as glass fiber?
Because consumers often think 'composite' refers to something more sophisticated than glass fiber, some GRP manufacturers use it to describe their product. Glass fiber was invented over 60 years ago and in the early years suffered from a reputation as a cheap, poor quality material. Describing a GRP product as a 'composite' is correct, however due to public misconceptions this could position a product as something more sophisticated than glass fiber.

Are all FRP composites similar?
Glass fiber, aramid fiber (Kevlar®), and carbon fiber reinforced composites are similar in that they are all based on fiber-reinforced polymers. However numerous factors can dramatically affect characteristics such as strength, stiffness, weight, toughness, fatigue resistance, temperature tolerance, chemical resistance, and durability.

How can aramid and carbon fiber increase automotive performance?

Compared to glass fiber, aramid and carbon fiber feature high tensile strength and tensile modulus (stiffness) combined with low density (weight). As a result, less fiber is required to achieve specific mechanical properties. Further weight savings are achieved because lower quantities of fiber require lesser quantities of resin. Aramid and carbon reinforcement fabrics feature high-density fiber that, combined with a high Fibre Volume Fraction, further minimizes weight. In automotive applications dramatic weight reduction increases performance in terms power-to-weight ratio, acceleration, braking, handling, and fuel more


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