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Is fiberglass used to build houses or walls at least?

Is fiberglass used to build houses or walls at least?

(OP)
I know fiberglass has the properties of fire resistance, thermal insulation and is quite strong enough as well. I am planning on getting into the manufacturing of high strength fiberglass and work on bringing the cost down. It would help if someone from Civil answered to why or why not fiberglass is used in houses and in what areas if it is. I am thinking of starting with wall building with acoustic insulation, not the traditional fiberglass wool way but using vacuum.

RE: Is fiberglass used to build houses or walls at least?

I have not seen houses built from structural FRP. I have worked with structural fiberglass members, but it has been in a corrosive or industrial setting. I suspect there are probably several reasons you don't see it in houses, but the biggest reasons are probably cost and lack of familiarity by home owners/residential contractors/local building officials.

Its also not as forgiving as other materials when the average home owner tries to tackle home improvement projects himself. There is also a lack of availability when it comes to houses........you cant go to Home Depot and find it.

RE: Is fiberglass used to build houses or walls at least?

Back in the 1970's I worked on prefabricated houses made from molded fiberglass, at that time we were meeting strong resistance from the regulatory bodies on fire resistance, even though we could demonstrate that molded glass with alumina tri hydrate was more fire resistant than a bare 2x4 timber. Some molded glass panels are now used in curtain wall construction as architectural features on certain buildings. But on the overall they have not been cost effective.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Is fiberglass used to build houses or walls at least?

There are some interesting houses in Loudonville, NY, just South of Osborne Rd and just East of its intersection with Albany Shaker Road, just up the hill from the Legion Hall.

They were built around 1950-1960, of rectangular drawn steel pans maybe 2x3 ft, bolted together through the flanges, sort of like giant Lego blocks stacked on edge. The steel pans were porcelanized with the color baked in. At least one of those houses has been disassembled and moved elsewhere, but most of them are still there. I think some have had other materials applied as sheathing, perhaps to conceal rust issues, perhaps for extra insulation.

A somewhat similar modular/cellular structure could work in FRP. Tooling could be relatively simple, even with interlocking features. Insulation could be less of a problem than with steel pans. Attaining a commercial production rate would require multiple tools because of the necessary curing time. FRP is likely to chalk in sunlight, so you'd need to start with gelcoat against the mold, or find a durable paint system.

There's another problem with FRP: VOC production, i.e., the stink and worse released during cure. Boatbuilders are now gravitating toward closed processes where the glass is laid up dry, and resin is introduced while the whole thing is in a vacuum bag. The process doesn't smell much, but it produces large quantities of expensive waste.

You could do something similar in concrete. In fact, it's already being done on a much larger scale, with tilt-ups, and on a smaller scale, with concrete blocks.



Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Is fiberglass used to build houses or walls at least?

very little to my knowledge for residential housing. Not that many have not tried. ACMA has an Architectural Design guide of sorts that would be a good place to start.

Commercial and Industrial are a different story. Many structures and facade panels have been built thru the years.

Fire performance and cost are typically the drivers. ATH an effective fire retardant for the resin, and some new FR addatives are coming to market.

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