At Anco precision machining we pride ourselves on our ability to compete in today’s market. That’s why we also work with fiberglass. Fiberglass is exactly what it sounds like, little fibers of glass. Glass blowing has been a part of human heritage for hundreds, if not thousands of years, but it was not until the late 1800’s that fiber glass became a reality. They were first exhibited at an exposition where the fiber glass had been woven into a dress with silk fibers. The dress was worn by then famous actress Georgia Cayvan.
The real fiber glass we know and use today was not invented until fairly recently in 1938. Its first purpose was that of insulation. It has even been added to many forms of polymers to help reinforce them. The result is fiber reinforced polymer or more commonly called glass reinforced plastic. Carbon fiber, which is extremely expensive, is made using similar techniques.
The fiber glass we think of today is a silica based concoction that is pushed through an extruder and woven into fine fibers which are the perfect size for clothing manufacturing and sewing. The technique that is used for heating and drawing the glass into fibers has been practiced for generations however, the use of these fibers in clothing remains only decades old. The first commercially produced fiberglass was made available in 1936. Soon after, in 1938 the Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation was founded. Owens-Corning remains of the industry leaders to this day.
The strength of fiber glass is determined by its ‘virginity’ or in other words newly manufactured fibers. The youngest and thinnest fibers make up the strongest because the thinner the glass is the more bendable it becomes. Humidity is an important factor in the retention of the glass’s tensile strength. Another damaging element is moisture which can be adsorbed and create cracks and defects in the fibers. Carbon fiber is no doubt stringer than fiber class, but fiber glass can be stretched longer and harder before it reaches its breaking point. The consistency of the molten glass used is extremely important cooking up a good batch. While the fibers are drawn out the viscosity should remain low. If it gets too high, the fibers can snap during drawing.
Fiberglass has a million different uses some of them include, but are not limited to; insulation, electrical wire insulation, sound proofing, strengthening of numerous material, flexible and collapsible tent poles, bows and arrows, the cross bow and hockey sticks. One of the biggest markets for fiberglass is the boating industry, which Anco precision happens to be experienced in.
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