Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Engineers Take New Look at StrengthofIndustrial Glass Fiber

26.02.2003


Prabhat K. Gupta


An Ohio State University engineer and his colleagues have discovered something new about a 50-year-old type of fiberglass: it may be more than one and a half times stronger than previously thought.

That conclusion, and the techniques engineers used to reach it, could help expand applications for glass fibers.

Though the glass fiber industry is currently suffering the same economic woes as many other businesses, the time is right to lay the groundwork for future applications, said Prabhat K. Gupta, professor of materials science and engineering.



The half-century-old glass, called E-glass, is the most popular type of fiberglass, and is often used to reinforce plastic and other materials. In a February issue of the Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, Gupta and his co-authors describe an improved method for measuring the strength of E-glass and other glass fibers, including those used in fiber-optic communications.

The method would be relatively easy to implement in industry, and involves holding a glass fiber at low temperatures and bending it until it breaks. The key, Gupta said, is assuring that a sample is completely free of flaws before the test.

Gupta isn’t surprised that nobody definitively measured the strength of fiberglass before now. “Industries develop materials quickly for specific applications,” he said. “Later, there is time for basic research to further improve a material.”

E-glass was created in the 1950s to insulate electronics. Today, it’s used to strengthen plastics for everything from bathtubs to car door panels. Other types of fiberglass are used to make heat-resistant cloth, rope, and home insulation.

To improve a particular formulation of glass and devise new applications for it, researchers need to know how strong it is under ideal conditions. So Gupta and his colleagues -- Charles Kurkjian, formerly of AT&T Bell Labs and now a visiting professor of ceramic and materials engineering at Rutgers University; Richard Brow, professor and chair of ceramic engineering at University of Missouri-Rolla; and Nathan Lower, masters student at University of Missouri-Rolla -- had to determine the ideal conditions for the material.

In their latest work, the engineers outlined a set of procedures that researchers in industry and academia can follow to assure that they are measuring the ideal strength of a glass fiber.

For instance, if small-diameter versions of the fiber seem stronger than larger diameter versions, then the glass most likely contains flaws. That’s because the ideal strength depends on inherent qualities of the glass, not the diameter of the fiber, Gupta said.

To measure the ideal strength of E-glass, he and his coauthors experimented on fibers that were 100 micrometers thick -- about the same thickness as a human hair -- held at minus 320F (minus 195C). They bent single fibers into a “U” shape and pressed them between two metal plates until the fibers snapped at the fold.

The fibers withstood a pressure of almost 1.5 million pounds per square inch -- roughly 1.7 times higher than previous recorded measurements of 870,000 pounds per square inch. The results suggest that the engineers were able to measure the material’s true strength.

Knowing more about the strength of fibers can help manufacturers improve production. The process is the same now as when Gupta was a senior scientist at Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. in Granville, Ohio, in the 1980s: glass melts in a giant crucible with thousands of holes in the bottom. When the molten glass flows down through the holes, it is stretched to form long fibers, a procedure Gupta likens to “pulling strings from honey.”

If even a single strand of glass breaks, it can whip around and shatter the other fibers, he said. Production grinds to a halt while workers clean up the mess and start over.

Strength is an issue for optical fiber as much as E-glass and other reinforcement fibers. “Even if you’re interested in a glass for its optical properties, you still have to be able to handle the glass and know how long it will last,” Gupta said.

Given the telecommunications industry’s current slump, however, Gupta doubts that optical fiber makers will be looking to dramatically improve the strength of their product.

“Even very high quality optical fiber is dirt cheap today,” he said. “A more likely application is in the auto industry, where reinforced plastics could replace metal parts and make cars lighter and more fuel efficient.”

Gupta and his colleagues next hope to study the atomic level structure of glass and learn more about what contributes to strength at that level.


Contact: Prabhat Gupta, (614) 292-6769; Gupta.3@osu.edu
Written by Pam Frost Gorder, (614) 292-9475; Gorder.1@osu.edu

Pam Frost Gorder | Ohio State University
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu/researchnews/archive/strnglas.htm
http://www.mse.eng.ohio-state.edu/%7Egupta/

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Move over, Superman! NIST method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion
27.04.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Control of molecular motion by metal-plated 3-D printed plastic pieces
27.04.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>