Fiber-reinforced Polymer Whitepaper

The Future of FRP is today

A wholistic approach to thermally broken sub-girt systems.
FRP (Fiber-Reinforced Polymer) materials are ubiquitous across industries from aviation to automotive and construction because of their high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and thermal resistance.

CLADIATOR Slotted-Z® girts capitalize on these attributes to deliver thermally efficient continuous insulated wall systems for today’s high-performance buildings.

Structure Performance

According to the American Composites Manufacturing Association, FRP (Fiber-Reinforced Polymer) composites deliver more strength per unit of weight than most metals and are 1/5th the weight of steel.

Key points to consider regarding the thermal resistance of FRP pultruded shapes: Temperature Limits: FRP pultruded shapes are manufactured using a combination of reinforcing fibers (such as glass, carbon, or aramid) and a polymer matrix (such as polyester, vinyl ester, or epoxy). The specific temperature limits at which FRP pultruded shapes can maintain their mechanical properties depend on the type of fibers and resin used.

Thermal Expansion: Like most materials, FRP pultruded shapes expand and contract with temperature changes.

However, the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of FRP is typically lower than that of materials like steel or aluminum. This low CTE helps minimize dimensional changes due to temperature variations, reducing the risk of warping, buckling, or structural issues.

Thermal Insulation: FRP pultruded shapes exhibit relatively low thermal conductivity, meaning they are less prone to conducting heat compared to materials like metal. This property can help reduce heat transfer through the shapes, making them suitable for applications where thermal insulation is desired.

Fastener Pull-out Performance: The pull-out performance of fasteners in FRP may be influenced by wall cavity temperature variations. However, it should be noted that the cladding material, cladding color, wall cavity air gap and cavity ventilation, building orientation, insulation type, and consideration of the high thermal resistance properties of the FRP girt may result in negligible effects on fastener performance and is not a singular factor in deciding on a framing system. Every manufacturer uses their own propriety resin formulation; broad stroke marketing claims averaging multiple FRP products together is misleading.

Fire Resistance

While FRP pultruded shapes generally have good thermal resistance, it is important to note that their fire resistance can vary depending on the resin used. Some resins are inherently flame-retardant, while others may require additional fire-retardant treatments or additives.

The CLADIATOR™ Slotted-Z® girt has undergone extensive fire testing passing both the NFPA285 as well as Canadian CAN/ULC S134 fire tests.


Recyclability: While the recyclability of FRP is still an evolving field, efforts are being made to develop efficient recycling techniques for FRP composites. Innovations such as thermolysis show promise in breaking down and reusing FRP components, minimizing waste, and extending the material’s lifecycle.

LEED Compatibility: LEED is a widely recognized green building certification system that promotes sustainable design and construction practices. FRP materials can contribute to earning LEED credits in several categories. For example, the lightweight and durable nature of FRP can contribute to credits related to the Materials and Resources(MR) category, such as Construction and Demolition Waste Management, Life Cycle Assessment, and Building Product Disclosure and Optimization.

Additionally, the energy efficiency and thermal properties of FRP can contribute to credits in the Energy and Atmosphere (EA) and Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) categories.

It is important to note that sustainable practices in architecture and construction go beyond the choice of materials alone. Factors such as energy-efficient design, water management, site selection, and occupant comfort are also crucial in achieving overall sustainability goals. FRP materials like the CLADIATOR™ Slotted-Z® offer notable advantages in terms of resource efficiency, durability, rain-screen and continuous insulation applications, effective thermal bridging, and potential for recycling, making it an attractive option for sustainable building projects, LEED, Passivhaus, and other certifications.

You have choices in high-performance cladding support systems. Manufacturers like CLADIATOR™ who invest in R&D and testing, have superior customer service providing value-added, sustainable, engineered, and easy-to-install products at a competitive price should be at the top of your list.


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