What is FRP?
FRP is a Fiberglass-Reinforced Plastic material that has the strength of steel at the fraction of the weight. FRP won’t corrode, rot, warp, attract insects, or rust, making it an ideal and long-lasting replacement for steel, wood and aluminum in a wide range of applications.
Because FRP is a composite material made up of fiberglass reinforcements and polymer resins, FRP can also stand for Fiberglass-Reinforced Polymer. The glass fiber provides the strength and stiffness, and the resin provides shape and protects the fibers.
FRP is a common reinforcement to provide strength and durability in fiber optic drop cable. However, you have a choice of strength members for optical cable, and steel is also a consideration.
Let’s compare FRP with Steel as a strength reinforcement in fiber optic cable:
|Corrosion, rot and
and insect resistance
|Resists a broad range of
chemicals and is unaffected by
moisture or immersion in water.
Resists insect damage. Painting
is only suggested when exposed to
UV rays/direct sunlight.
|Subject to oxidation and
corrosion. Requires painting
or galvanizing for many
|Strength||Has greater flexural strength
is often stronger than steel
and aluminum in the lengthwise
|Weight||Weighs 75% less than steel
and 30% less than aluminum
|Could require lifting
equipment to move and place
High dielectric capability
|Thermal properties||Good insulator with low thermal
|Stiffness||Will not permanently
deform under working load.
Modulus of elasticity:
2.8 x 106 psi
|Modulus of elasticity:
29 x 106 psi
|Impact resistance||Will not permanently deform
under impact. Glass mat in
pultruded parts distributes impact
load to prevent surface damage,
even in subzero temperatures.
|Can permanently deform
|Color||Color is molded within
No painting required
|Must be painted for color,
may require repainting
|Cost||Lower installation costs, less
maintenance and longer product
life allow for a lower lifecycle
|Lower initial material cost
More expensive to maintain
Much higher over time
Where does FRP Strength Members fit into Fiber Optic Drop Cable?
FRP reinforcement is not the messenger, but in a common configuration will straddle the optical cable within the jacket. In the case of Multicom fiber optic cable, we have constructed our cable in such a way that the optical fiber has the absolute least exposure and the FRP strength members are in a position to guard the hair-thin optical cables to keep them out of harm’s way.