When you think about the purposes that tactile warning systems and truncated domes must serve, a few key characteristics come to mind. They must be durable, weather resistant, and must be able to maintain their slip-resistant shape indefinitely. Based on these criteria, no materials can perform as well as fiberglass and glass-reinforced plastic. Let’s take a closer look at these materials and their properties.
While they may have similar names, fiberglass and glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) are slightly different. Consequently, they are used differently in the construction of tactile warning systems. GRP is used to form the main structure of the tactile warning system. It is primarily composed of durable plastic matrix and reinforcing glass, but may also include other chemicals like fire retardants, pigmentation, and UV-light stabilizers. GRPs are very temperature resistant, which makes them ideal for outdoor applications.
Fiberglass is slightly different in that it isn’t produced on a plastic matrix. It is not as GRP, which makes it ideal as a reinforcement material for truncated domes. Like GRP, fiberglass can also be combined with other materials to give it color and enhance its durability. Typically, the higher glass content of fiberglass or GRP, the stronger the material will be.
There are several benefits to using GRP and fiberglass over cement or plastics. GRP and fiberglass can be molded into the perfect shape and hold that shape permanently. Other materials are more likely to erode or wear away overtime, making them weaker and less reliable. GRP and fiberglass also have pigmentation and additives that are part of its chemical makeup, so they can retain their color and UV-resistant properties for longer.
To learn more about what goes into a high-quality tactile warning system or truncated dome, contact the experts at ADA Solutions, Inc. We manufacture high-quality, ADA-compliant detectable warning systems for the blind and visually impaired. Visit us online or call (800) 372-0519 for more information.