Fiberglass under the Microscope

What is Fiberglass?

Fiberglass is a common type of fiber-reinforced plastic using glass fiber. The fibers may be randomly arranged, flattened into a sheet, or woven into fabric. It is a strong, lightweight material that is chemical and heat resistant. On its own fiberglass will easily break. However, when fiberglass has a core of something between it, the material becomes very strong. Pound for pound, fiberglass is just as strong as steel. But strength-to-weight ratio, fiberglass outperforms steel by a long shot offering the same strength as steel with greater flex, which means it is more durable and impact resistant.

Fein Optic M20 Metallurgical Microscope

Viewing fiberglass under the M20 metallurgical reflected light microscope produces a beautiful image of the fibers that make up fiberglass. The image below of fiberglass was captured using a  Jenoptik microscope camera.

Fiberglass under the Microscope

The History of Fiberglass

Russell Games Slayter, a researcher at the product packaging manufacturer Owens-Illinois, accidentally discovered fiberglass (glass wool) sometime between 1932-1933.  He directed a jet of compressed air at a stream of molten glass and produced fibers.

Common uses for fiberglass include thermal insulation and sealing, electrical insulate, and mechanical reinforcement.

If you have questions about what microscope or camera would be best for viewing your samples under the microscope, contact Microscope World and we will be happy to help.