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  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-30-2007 07:46 PM
Mithril According to the manufacturer here are the Mechanical Properties:

Lengthwise Crosswise
Tensile Strength - ASTM D 638 (psi) 30,000 7,000
Tensile Modulus - ASTM D 638 (psi) 2.5 x 10^6 0.8 x 10^6
Flexural Strength - ASTM D 790 (psi) 30,000 10,000
Flexural Modulus - ASTM D 790 (psi) 1.8 x 10^6 0.8 x 10^6
Compressive Strength - ASTM D 695 30,000 15,000
Izod Impact Strength (ft - lbs/in) 25 4
Barcol Hardness 45 45

The manufacturer describes it as one of the strongest and most durable materials available.
05-30-2007 07:43 PM
sailingdog A gallon of pineapple juice is probably 8 lbs. or so. If the can is thrown with maximum force at the panel, and hits on the edge of the bottom, it has a fair chance of breaking the panel... since all the force will be concentrated in a very small portion of a square inch.
05-30-2007 08:45 AM
Sailormann Have you looked at these units ? Look at the Top Loaded refrigeration units in the "Products" section - using one of them will be fast, probably cost less and may well have a better finish than a home-made unit:

05-30-2007 06:00 AM
Duke 7184 A gallon of juice used for distructive testing. What a unique concept. Being more realistic, There should be engineering numbers available to better evaluate the strength and durablility of this material.
05-29-2007 09:46 PM
sailingdog Mithril-

1/16" FRP doesn't sound like it is strong enough to make an icebox. Even if it was an ideal ratio of glass to resin, it is still only a 1/16" of an inch thick. I seriously doubt that 1/16" FRP can take a gallon can of pineapple juice being thrown at it at maximum force.
05-29-2007 06:18 PM
Mithril Well… I asked a few more questions, most notably from a refrigeration expert at Miller and Miller in Seattle. It turns out that the fiberglass in the FRP sheets is actually laid out in all directions not just one and because of the optimal resin/glass ratio and the high pressure it is in fact very sturdy material. He commented that throwing a gallon can of pineapple juice against it with all your might would not damage it at all. As such he suggested that ¼” was much too thick and in fact he had used as little as 1/16” to construct iceboxes.

The only downside he mentioned about the material was that it is quite heavy.

- Mithril
05-24-2007 10:23 AM
sailingdog The only issue I have with their pultruded FRP sheets, is that it sounds like the glass is all oriented in a single direction. IMHO, it would be better to have the fiberglass fibers oriented in more than a single direction, since it will be far stronger at resisting loads in multiple directions than FRP with all the fibers oriented in the same direction. This is why a good sheet of plywood is often far stronger than a board of fir of equal thickness. Even though plywood is usually made of fir, the fact that the fibers are laid in two directions, perpendicular to each other at every other ply... it gives the plywood far more strength than the wood has naturally.
05-24-2007 10:16 AM
Mithril It looks like their site just went down. Here is what they have...

Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic
(FRP) Sheet

Of all the materials used to build refrigerator boxes, none is better than strong fiberglass sheeting. Stainless steel looks nice but it is difficult to work with and thermally conductive. Plywood is popular but needs to be fiberglass coated and often ends up with a rough, amateur appearance when you are done. Rparts has the answer - Bright white, pultruded fiberglass sheet.

What is "pultruding"
Pultruding is a high-volume production method of making certain types of fiberglass products. In pultruding, continuous fiberglass strands are run through a resin bath and then fed into heated high-pressure dies. The result is a consistently optimized resin/glass ratio unobtainable by any other method. Anyone familiar with fiberglass knows that an optimized resin/glass ratio means the highest strength attainable - often 3x higher than hand-laid glass.

How do I build a box with it?
The details of box construction are outside the scope of this web site at the present time (we'll be changing that in the future). However, in general, you would use this sheet in pretty much the same way as you would plywood. Use a regular saw and carbon-tip blade to cut individual sheets to size and create the box that you want. Lightly sand the edges then apply a strip of fiberglass cloth and resin (polyester or epoxy) to the outside edges to hold it together. Once it is dry, use thickened and white pigmented resin to create 1" fillets on the inside corners. If you are reasonably careful with the filleting, the result looks like it was just popped off a production mold. Once everything is set, you can paint the inside if you wish but it is not necessary. Even unpainted, the FRP sheet is very bright and stain resistant.

Does it bend?
RParts FRP sheet is available in 1/4" and 1/8" thickness. The 1/4" material is far too stiff to bend much at all The 1/8" material can be comfortably bent to a radius of about 18". Which thickness you should use in constructing your box depends on the size and shape. In most cases the 1/8" material has more than enough strength to rigidly support even the largest vertically hung holdover plate.

PLEASE NOTE: All FRP sheets are subject to a shipping charge adjustment. We will contact you with details shortly before the order ships if this adjustment is applicable.
05-24-2007 10:13 AM
sailingdog I would use epoxy resin, rather than polyester, as it will probably give you a stronger bond and is more resistant to most chemicals. Should probably gelcoat or paint the interior of the icebox just in case.

I would go with the 1/4" just to be safe... Don't want your beer falling through the bottom of the icebox into the bilge.
05-24-2007 10:09 AM
Mithril Thanks Sea Dog... that was my concern as well.. The information on FRP sheets can be found at: White Fiberglass Sheet

As far as the construction of the box is concerned, they instruct to: lightly sand the edges then apply a strip of fiberglass cloth and resin (polyester or epoxy) to the outside edges to hold it together. Once it is dry, use thickened and white pigmented resin to create 1" fillets on the inside corners.

- Mithril
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