Using Fiberglass Structural Shapes to Support Uniform Loads

What is a Uniform Load?

The outside effort acting on a structure is known as the load. Typically, the load alters the structure’s shape, which can lead to plastic deformation. It is described as a uniform load when this loading force is distributed over an entire region of an element, like a beam or slab.

The weight of this load usually stays the same across the entire element. How a given structural element responds to uniformly distributed loads depends on the force, in addition to the strength and length of the element.

What are Fiberglass Structural Shapes?

Fiberglass structural shapes are a composite made up of a polymer resin matrix reinforced by embedded glass fibers. The strength of a fiberglass structural shape is established mainly by the orientation, quantity, type and location of the glass fibers within the composite.

Using Fiberglass Structural Shapes to Support Uniform Loads

Image Credit: Strongwell Corporation

Benefits of Fiberglass Structural Shapes

Today, fiberglass structural shapes and parts are increasingly utilized instead of traditional steel systems, which embody the archetypal construction material around the globe.

Fiberglass structural shapes are made by reinforcing a functional liquid resin matrix with an inorganic textile before the profiling and curing of the near-net-shape. The end product properties rely on these constituent parts, yet fiberglass structural shapes are known for excellent strength-to-weight performance ratios.

Typically, fiberglass structural shapes are around 30% lighter than aluminum and 75% lighter than steel. Standard carpentry tools can be used to modify them easily, and when compared to steel, they can be easily lifted into place during installation with less labor or specialized equipment.

Fiberglass structural shapes are cheaper to install because of their simple installation. They are as much as 15% cheaper than carbon steel, 30% cheaper than galvanized steel and 50% cheaper than stainless steel.

Fiberglass structural shapes also possess extremely low thermal and electrical conductivity properties and, when compared with steel and aluminum, are less of a potential shock hazard.

The Impact of Uniform Loads of Fiberglass Structural Shapes

Despite being lightweight, fiberglass structural shapes are strong. They have more flexibility, meaning that they will not buckle under weight and are not brittle. This makes them ideal for holding the weight of a uniform load which can often cause irreparable damage to structural steel.

Fiberglass Structures from Strongwell

Strongwell’s shatterproof fiberglass structural shapes are strong, flexible and solid. EXTREN® structural shapes from Strongwell have a higher flexural strength with excellent resistance to extreme bending compared to structural timber. EXTREN® has a flexural modulus of 10,000 psi and tensile strength of up to 30,000 psi.


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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