An approach to improving the reliability of equipment constructed of fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP) was presented. FRP equipment was described as being strong, lightweight, resistant to chemicals, and inexpensive, but safety problems were found to occur due to the misuse of this material. The selection of FRP equipment required consideration of chemical compatibility, temperature, pressure, site environment, physical requirements, external constraints, the consequences of failure, and maintenance and repair. Structural design of FRP equipment was discussed, and equations describing stress and strain were presented along with a description of design approach. Recommendations were made regarding the procurement of FRP equipment, including the specifications that should be included, selection of a fabricator, and inspection and acoustic testing of the equipment. Equipment damage during installation was found to be a major cause of failure, and recommendations were provided for proper installation. The maintenance and repair of FRP equipment was discussed, with early detection of defects and appropriate repair cited as the key to effective maintenance. The authors conclude that with tedious attention to detail, the safe application of FRP equipment can be achieved.
Symposium on Control of Workplace Hazards in the Chemical Manufacturing Industry, March 11-12, 1981, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio