There are two general trends in the glass fiber industry: one is upward, toward enormous growth, and the other is downward, toward lower cost.
A general trend is the continuing push toward increased performance at lower price. In a typical graph of specific tensile strength (GPa per pound, y-axis) vs. material cost (dollars per pound, x-axis), aluminum and steel are at the bottom left; E-glass and Advantex are slightly above; next comes R-glass and then S-glass; and then aramid and carbon fiber are at the top right.
Strength-to-weight ratio of basalt fiber exceeds the strength of alloyed steel by 2.5 times and the strength of fiber glass – 1.5 times.
In 2002, the high-performance segment for reinforcement material was five-million-ton per year worldwide for reinforcement of cement and concrete products, epoxy resins, gasket materials, muffler linings, paper and other products.
In 2002, there was a 9 million ton worldwide market for the reinforcement of epoxy resins, gasket materials, fine paper and other products
OCV Reinforcements (Toledo, Ohio) makes its R-glass products. OCV is trying to do is break the cost/performance curve in order to achieve this: Shift high-performance glass to the left so that performance (y-axis) is maintained while cost is reduced. OCV believes this is the route to achieving a goal common to all glass fiber producers — a goal summarized as replace traditional materials like steel, wood and aluminum with glass-reinforced composites, and increase the overall amount of composites used.
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