Chemical characterization of variably degraded fibre glass reinforced plastic from the marine environment

Laurence Hopkinson, Stanislav Ostapishin, Petra Kristova, Katy Hamilton, Corina Ciocan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glass reinforced plastic (GRP) constitutes the commonest component of small sea going craft of all descriptions. This study provides a baseline molecular and elemental account of GRP's recovered from the marine environment. Fourteen samples of GRP sourced from scrapyards and one sample sourced from a GRP boat manufacturer were examined. Samples were analysed by x-ray fluorescence and mid infrared (MIR). The latter technique confirmed that all samples contained the same polyester resin, poly diallyl phthalate (PDP). The two techniques in combination indicate the presence of aluminium calcium borosilicate E-glass fibres (E denotes electrical) of variable origins. MIR results are consistent with hydrolysis of polyester, weakening of the glass fibre resin interface facilitating exposure of e-type fibres to water which accelerates fibre breakage. The implication being that aging of GRP in the marine environment represent sources for micro (<5 mm) and macro plastic release, plus fragmented asbestiform-like silicate fibres.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113094
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue numberPt B
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2021


  • fibre glass reinforced plastic
  • Marine environment
  • polyester
  • E-glass
  • Polyester
  • Poly diallyl phthalate
  • Mid infrared
  • Fibre glass reinforced plastic


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