Fiberglass fabric is a flexible mesh made from spun-glass fibers that are woven into a pliable, cloth-like material. It is available in rolls or sheets. Fiberglass fabric is rarely used alone. It is normally found layered with resins or other materials, where it provides a flexible framework, as well as a fireproof and waterproof barrier.
Fiberglass is a lightweight, versatile, and cost-effective material used in an endless variety of industrial and commercial products. Since it is made from glass, it is naturally resistant to heat, fire, water, chemicals, pests, and bacteria. It is lighter and more flexible than other types of mesh products such as steel, but still retains high tensile strength, which means it can hold up under pressure without breaking. In fabric form, fiberglass has the added benefit of conforming to odd-shaped angles and curves, such as those found on a surfboard or a snowmobile. In these applications, the fiberglass fabric provides a framework to which a liquid resin is bonded, providing strength, form and durability to the end product.
Fiberglass mesh fabric is used extensively in shipbuilding and aircraft construction. It can be found as a barrier layer in aircraft interiors, boat exteriors, and even helicopter rotor blades. It is often used as a heat shield because it has low thermal conductive properties. This means that heat is disbursed quickly through the fiberglass, making it resistant to extremely high temperatures before melting.
Construction firms also utilize fiberglass fabric in many applications. It can be used to add a fireproof barrier to homes and buildings, and is sometimes used to reinforce concrete, bonded in the same way as a resin. Fiberglass fabric may be used to provide the framework for stucco or other masonry finishes. It is also used in constructing tennis courts.
Since fiberglass has excellent insulating qualities, it is commonly used in electronic circuit boards, to keep them from overheating. Fiberglass mesh is used in everyday products as well, ranging from carpet backing to movie screens, from window shades to conveyor belts. It is even found in model remote control airplanes, where its lightweight, flexible strength helps the plane survive crashes intact.
Fiberglass fabric can be customized for specific applications. Factories that manufacture the mesh usually work with designers and engineers to find the best type, weight, and weave of fabric for a particular application. The mesh can be treated with different finishes for additional chemical resistance, fire resistance, or water resistance as needed.