Inspectioneering Journal

Fitness for Service of FRP: Moving Towards Best Practices

By Geoff Clarkson, CTO and Founder at UTComp, Inc. This article appears in the May/June 2018 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


A Fitness for Service (FFS) assessment of an asset requires the use of certain best practices to determine whether the asset can continue to operate as intended by its design. Best practices have been shown by research and experience – including empirical data – to reliably lead to a desired result. Often these best practices are formalized through consensus of experts into codes and standards that relate original designs to current condition and provide guidance to engineers and operators. There are currently no industry consensus documents that provide this guidance for fiber reinforced polymers (FRP) assets.

This article provides a case study that illustrates how European design standard “glass reinforced plastic (GRP) tanks for use above ground”, designation EN 13121 [1] (EN 13121) can be used to calculate expected changes in FRP for FRP vessels. The case incorporates both destructive test results and non-destructive, non-intrusive results from a technique that was discussed in the May/June 2017 and November/December 2017 issues of Inspectioneering Journal [2],[3].

The results for the two approaches will be compared.

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