A Contrast Between Extren and Structural Timber

EXTREN® fiberglass structural shapes and plates are advantageous in many ways over timber in a myriad of structural applications (Figure 1). It will not decay or rot and it is not vulnerable to insect attack (Figure 2).

EXTREN® fiberglass structural shapes and plates

Figure 1. EXTREN® fiberglass structural shapes and plates

EXTREN® is lighter weight, more rigid, and stronger than structural timber. It does not require environmentally unfriendly repellants or preservatives as opposed to wood. EXTREN® is consistent in appearance and strength piece-to-piece (no culling) and does not absorb a considerable amount of water.

This plywood fan deck has rotted away making it dangerous for workers to walk on.

Figure 2. This plywood fan deck has rotted away making it dangerous for workers to walk on.

Key Features of EXTREN® Fiberglass Structural Shapes

The following are the key features of the EXTREN® fiberglass structural shapes and plates (Figure 3)

  • Lightweight
  • Corrosion resistant
  • Strong
  • Low maintenance
  • Low in conductivity
  • EMI/RFI transparent

EXTREN® is stronger, more rigid and lighter weight than structural timber

Figure 3. EXTREN® is stronger, more rigid and lighter weight than structural timber

The following table compares the features of EXTREN® fiberglass structural shapes and timber structural shapes:

Features EXTREN® Fiberglass Structural Shapes Structural timber Douglas FIR
CORROSION RESISTANCE Superior resistance to a broad range of chemicals. Unaffected by moisture or immersion in water if ends are properly sealed.
Surfacing veil and UV additives create excellent weatherability.
Can warp, rot and decay from exposure to moisture, water and chemicals.
Coatings or preservatives required to increase corrosion or rot resistance can create hazardous waste and/or high maintenance.
INSECT RESISTANCE Unaffected by insects. Susceptible to insect attack (marine borers, termites, etc.). Coatings to increase resistance to insects can be environmentally hazardous.
STRENGTH EXTREN® is stronger and has higher flexural strength than timber. Ultimate flexural strength (Fu) LW = 30,000 PSI, CW = 10,000 PSI.
Compression strength is 30,000 PSI.
(Extreme fiber bending = up to 2800 PSI.*)
Compression parallel to grain = up to 1800 PSI.*
STIFFNESS EXTREN® is approximately 1-1/2 times as rigid as wood. Modulus of elasticity LW = 2.5 x 106 PSI, CW = .8 x 106 PSI. Modulus of elasticity = up to 1.8 x 106 PSI.*
ELECTRICAL CONDUCTIVITY Low conductivity properties — high dielectric capability. Timber can be conductive when it is wet.
WEIGHT Specific gravity = 1.7
EXTREN® has significantly higher strength-to-weight ratio.
Specific gravity = .51 (oven dried).*
FINISHING AND COLOR Pigments added to the resin provide color throughout the part. Special colors available. Composite design can be customized for required finishes. Must be primed and painted for colors. To maintain color, repainting may be required.
COST Lower maintenance, longer product life often equals lower overall costs. Lower initial cost.
ENVIRONMENTAL EXTREN® shapes and plate are inert and do not release toxic chemicals, therefore making them easily disposable in landfills. Treated wood has been banned for several applications. Extreme care in use and disposal is required.

* Surface dry at 19% max moisture content Design Values for Wood Construction, National Design Specification for Wood Construction.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Strongwell Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit Strongwell Corporation.

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