What is glass fiber?
Fiberglass, as the name implies, refers to threads and cotton made from glass. The shape of solid glass material and that of soft fiber material are so different that it may be difficult to imagine what they look like. However, when you look at the real thing, it is just a fiber, and the original glass such as “glass wool” (short fiber) that feels soft like cotton candy and “glass fiber” (long fiber) that is soft and thread-like. It has a shape that is far from that.
The characteristic of glass fiber is that it has both the heat resistance, nonflammability, and durability of glass and the flexibility of fiber. For example, in the case of glass wool, which is shaped like cotton candy, fine fibers are intricately intertwined to create multiple layers of air chambers in the cotton-like substance. In this room, the air is stationary and stuck. Therefore, if you use glass wool when building a building, it is difficult to let the outside cold air enter the room in winter, and conversely, you can prevent the warm air inside the room from escaping to the outside. In other words, it can play an excellent role as a “heat insulating material”. On the other hand, thread-like glass fiber has the characteristic that it does not expand or contract. Its strength is stronger than that of piano wire, and it is also less susceptible to heat, electricity, and chemicals. Therefore, it is widely used as a material for reinforced plastics used in automobiles and electronic / electrical parts.
Glass fiber has various merits such as heat resistance and strength, but there are other reasons why it is widely used in our daily lives. The first is pest prevention. General heat insulating materials contain materials (organic substances) that are easily damaged such as termites , but in the case of glass fiber, glass is used as the raw material, so the risk of being damaged by pests can be reduced. .. The second is that it does not easily deteriorate. Compared to fibers made from plastic, glass fiber Is not only superior in strength but also resistant to deterioration. Third, it is lightweight and easy to install.Since glass fiber can be processed into various shapes such as board, roll, and cotton, it can be used properly according to the application such as building materials and industrial use.
How do you make glass fiber?
What kind of processing is applied to make hard and sharp glass into soft threads and cotton? Next, I will introduce how to make glass fiber.
Recycled glass is used for more than 80% of the main raw material for glass fiber, empty bottles collected from homes are used, and some scraps from factories are also used as the main raw material. .. By the way, glass material can be recycled even after construction, so it can be said to be an excellent material in terms of environmental protection.
In order to make hard glass into a soft fibrous form, the first step is to melt the glass at a high temperature, which is called “melting”. Since glass is not easily affected by chemicals, it melts softly when exposed to high temperatures of 1300 to 1600 degrees or higher.
The softened glass is then fiberized into cotton-like glass wool or thread-like fiberglass. In the case of glass wool, the melted glass is blown off by centrifugal force, and the binder is sprayed on the cotton-like area. By heating it (It’s almost the same image as how to make cotton candy that you can see at food stalls) in the oven to finish it, it is distilled into an easy-to-use shape.
On the other hand, in the case of glass fiber, the melted glass is passed through a special machine called a platinum nozzle and wound up to form a thread. The speed at which the glass substrate is pulled out of the machine is about 3000 meters per minute! The drawn glass fiber can be as thin as 6 to 24 appropriately in diameter. (* By the way, the fineness of human hair is about 50 to 100 appropriately)
Since cotton-like glass wool is used as a heat insulating material, it is often processed into a plate or cylinder, and thread-like glass fiber is processed into a wound. state like commercially available threads or nylon tape. Most of the time it is done.
There was so much !? Glass fibers around us
Glass fiber is widely used in homes, workplaces, cars, etc.
For example, glass fiber is also used for the membrane material of the tent-shaped roof . For example, glass fiber is also used for the membrane material of the tent-shaped roof . installed at the top of the Tokyo Dome.
Residential / building / automobile
Glass wool, which has the characteristic of preventing warm and cold air from escaping, is a perfect material for heat insulating materials for homes. It may also be used on the ceiling and exterior walls of your home or office. It is also used as a cushioning material in automobiles because it has both durability and flexibility.
Coating of generator motor coil and heat-resistant cable
Glass fiber has the characteristics of high electrical insulation and difficulty in passing heat. Therefore, it is known as an indispensable material in the industrial field, such as being used for coating motor utilized for generators and heat-resistant cables, as well as electronic devices. that require high accuracy and functional stability.
The future of glass fiber, which is indispensable for our lives
Glass fiber is attracting attention as an important material that will support Japan in the future, such as improving the living environment, developing industries and industrial fields, and disaster prevention and environmental protection. The name may not be well known, but it is widely used Around us. Research and development of glass fiber is still in progress. If you are interested, search online for “glass fiber”. It will be more interesting if you can understand in detail what manufacturers make glass fibers and in what fields they are used ..