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Everything you ever wanted to know about GRP

FAQs

What is a Composite?

Composites are combinations of materials. They are often referred to as fibre-reinforced plastic or glass-fibre-reinforced plastic – GRP for short. The name itself suggests that the material is made of various components, such as resin and reinforcement materials like glass fibre. The combination of the individual components together offers better properties than they would have provided separately. Composite plastics are cost-effective, very resilient in terms of mechanics and offer excellent corrosion behaviour.

 

What is a Fibre-reinforced Composite?

Fibre composite materials, or simply composites, are materials that usually consist of two or more components – glass, carbon or natural fibres, for example, and resins. Through the interaction between the components, this composite material delivers higher quality properties than each of the two components separately.

Why choose a Composite instead of Metal?

Composite components are light in weight, a lighter alternative to metal. The term “composite” is therefore frequently equated with “lightweight”. Composites are, in particular, the material of choice wherever weight savings are required or advantageous. With reinforcement made e.g. from glass fibre, such components have mechanical properties that can only be achieved otherwise with metallic materials, but they are significantly lighter.

What is the difference between thermoplastics, thermosetting plastics and elastomers?

Thermosetting plastics, thermoplastics and elastomers are three different types of plastic.

Thermosetting plastics are made of closely linked macromolecules and are not ductile and cannot be melted.

Thermoplastics consist of linear or branched macromolecules. On heating, they become ductile and at high temperature they also melt.

Elastomers are often referred to as rubber. They consist of macromolecules interlinked in a wide mesh, which allows deformation when a load is applied, but they spring back as soon as the load is removed. The interlinking makes it impossible to melt elastomers.

Can GRP Components be repaired?

Pores, scratches and fibres protruding from GRP components can be repaired with resin and thus “re-resinated”. Fine grooves, damaged edges, roughened surface areas and exposed fibres can be sealed again and protection against environmental factors is restored.

You will find an article about repairing GRP moulds in the “Expertise” section.

Processing information for repairing a GRP mould

What does Lightweight Engineering mean?

Fibre-reinforced plastics (GRPs) are a byword for lightweight design. GRP is often used with the aim of reducing the weight as far as possible to save costs, energy or raw materials. Increasing payloads is also an argument in favour of lightweight engineering. Composite materials with low density and high mechanical properties are used in particular because of their light weight.

What is a Gelcoat?

A gelcoat is applied to the mould surface as a first layer, and this subsequently forms the visible side of the component. A gelcoat is therefore the outer protective layer of a GRP component. Choosing the right gelcoat is crucial for the quality of the component. The quality of the gelcoat determines the durability, weatherproofing, light fastness (UV radiation), degree of gloss, chemical resistance and finally the mechanical properties of the surface. Gelcoats can be dyed a wide range of colours. Gelcoats are applied either manually (with a brush and roller) or by a (mechanical) spraying process. 

Gelcoats

Where does BÜFA Composites produce its special Products?

The headquarters of BÜFA Composites is in Rastede in Germany. We also have a plant in the UK and several distribution sites, which make tinting products on site.

What is the minimum amount in Kilos – of a Gelcoat or Topcoat, for example – that Business Customers can order from BÜFA Composites?

We deliver orders from 25 kg of gelcoat or topcoat in one RAL colour and sell only B2B, in other words exclusively to business customers.

Gelcoats

Does BÜFA Composites also supply small Quantities of Resins or Gelcoats?

We deliver to business customers from an order volume of 25 kilos. For smaller quantities, we are happy to refer you to the firm Selvida in Germany. Selvida supplies small quantities of resins and glass fibre mats.

If you are abroad, you are welcome to contact one of our distribution outlets, where you will be given further assistance.

Resins     Gelcoats     Distribution outlets

Can BÜFA Composites make Gelcoats or Topcoats in my Choice of Colour?

Yes, in most cases we can adjust the gelcoat to the customer’s colour of choice.

Pigment pastes

To which Countries does BÜFA Composites Deliver?

BÜFA Composites ships throughout Europe. However, the goods can also be collected by a shipping company directly from the factory. 

With Europe-wide distribution sites, BÜFA guarantees an internationally reliable service network.

Sales

Does BÜFA Composite Systems have Processing Machines for Resins?

Yes, BÜFA’s own machine technology arm, BÜFA Tec, makes a range of machines for mechanical processing of resin (vinyl ester and polyester resins). Depending on the production method, fibre spraying systems, gelcoat spraying and metering systems, bonding paste and RTM systems and lamination roller machines are available.

BÜFA Tec

Do you also have Metering Equipment in your Product Range?

Yes, BÜFA Tec has a wide range of metering pumps for various additives, with a focus on the polyester industry. But other chemicals can also be dispensed with this technology. 

In addition, BÜFA Tec offers a wide selection of durable and efficient processing machines. 

BÜFA Tec