There is no better option than Composite pipes for situations that require extremely robust piping systems. These pipes can be utilised for a variety of purposes, including solar water heater systems, water supply systems for buildings that serve both hot and cold water, and any other location where a robust and long-lasting piping system is required. These incredibly tough and long-lasting piping systems are essential in applications where moisture and water are involved. For all situations where the environment is very corrosive, these composite pipes are therefore of outstanding utility.
In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about composite pipe systems, including their construction, characteristics, and uses.
Let’s start out by talking about what a composite pipe is all about.
What is Composite Pipe?
One of the major advancements in piping systems in recent years is the composite pipe. While the standard pipes were first made of metals, they were later changed to plastics after the invention of plastic. There are still uses for both metal and plastic pipes. However, each of these plumbing methods had drawbacks of their own. The plastic pipe systems may be affected by temperature, whereas metal pipes would corrode frequently and quickly. Corrosion- and mechanically-stronger composite pipes are available. Comparable in size and thickness to unreinforced pipe materials, composite pipes are more robust and durable. They can be installed deeper and with more force since they can resist forces that are exerted during installation better. Because they are simpler to install, these pipes are commonly used in trenchless technology.
Composite pipes, a substance made of a combination of incredibly durable elements, were created to solve the drawbacks of metal and plastic PVC pipes. To further clarify, composite pipes are those that are constructed from high density thermoplastic materials and possibly additional materials.
How are Composite Pipes made?
PVC (polyvinyl chloride), HDPE (high density polyethylene), GRP (glass reinforced plastics), FRP (fibre reinforced plastics), and other sturdy materials are used to make composite pipes. Thus, the highly sturdy construction of these pipes as a whole eliminates and overcomes the drawbacks of metal and plastic pipes.
As a general rule, composite pipes are made of a mixture of reinforced high-density thermoplastics and other materials that are added to boost their other features that increase their durability and lifetime.
One of the two methods listed below is used to create these extremely durable high density composite pipes:
- Filament winding
In this procedure, the fibre strands of the composite pipe material are forced into a liquid bath that is filled with resin before being twisted tightly onto a rotating mandrel. The material is heated in an oven after it has finished winding to ensure that any flaws are eliminated. One of the most popular ways for creating composite pipes is this one. Any of the previously specified materials, in addition to others, can be utilised in this procedure to create pipes. Fibre strands are immersed in resin during the filament winding process, which involves wrapping them under tension onto a revolving mandrel. The material is baked in an oven after it has been wound to cure it. The process used to create composite tubular is the most used one. The procedure can be used to combine various materials to generate composites.
The advantages of filament winding are as follows:
- It is a quick and cost-effective procedure.
- Metering the resin onto each fibre using nips or dies will allow you to control the resin content.
- Since there is no requirement for a further process to transform fibre into fabric before use, the cost of fibre is reduced.
- It creates a material made of straight fibres that can be arranged in a sophisticated manner to match applied loads.
- Filament wound composite pipes also exhibit low weight to strength ratio, corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, and abrasion resistance.
- The technique enables reinforcement to be added to stress regions, such as collars, which are typically a weak point.
- More durable tubulars can be made using the twin helical winding technique.
These are the drawbacks of this technique for creating composite tubulars:
- The method can only create components with convex shapes.
- Placing the fibre precisely along a component’s length is difficult.
- Mandrel prices might be very costly.
- The exterior surface lacks a pleasing aesthetic.
- Low viscosity resins typically require their associated mechanical and health and safety features to be utilised
- When air and moisture inclusions make up a significant fraction of the resin pipe’s overall volume, the tubular loses strength and penetration resistance.
- Centrifugal Casting
The rotating casting method, sometimes known as centrifugal casting, is a method for creating hollow products like composite tubing. This technique focuses more on creating the hollow tubes or pipes using a mould. As such, this approach entails filling the hollow tubular mould with heated polymer material, heating the mould or the tool to completely melt the material, rotating the tool at a high rpm, and then cooling and removing the casting from the mould.
In industries, both of these processes are utilised to create composite pipes out of any kind of heavy-duty material. And hence, depending on the tools and manufacturing techniques that are available, both of these ways are utilised. The fundamental procedure entails adding a polymer to a mould, heating the tool to melt the material, rotating rapidly, cooling, and extracting the object.
The following are some benefits of using this technique to make composite pipes:
- The fibres can be oriented in any combination of orientations
- Molds are affordable
- The manufacturing lead time is brief.
- It is possible to eliminate all humidity and air gaps.
- All things considered, it creates pipes with excellent mechanical and aesthetic qualities.
Among the drawbacks of this approach are:
- Protracted production cycles
- Materials can be expensive.
- Centrifugal casting provides sturdy, visually appealing material, but machines are complicated and generally expensive.
Overall, centrifugal casting creates durable, aesthetically beautiful material.
The Energy Industry is hopeful that this technology will lead to advancements in tensile strength and modulus improvements.
Let’s look at the many qualities and features of the composite pipes now that we understand how they are manufactured.
Features of Composite Pipes
To ensure the strength, endurance, and durability needed for these Composite Pipe fittings to perform as intended, composite pipes are constructed using unique procedures and materials. The following characteristics of these composite pipes are well-known:
- Resistance to corrosion
Steel-plastic composite pipes can be utilised in locations with a lot of moisture without readily corroding. These pipes are ideal for use in water supply systems because they can withstand corrosion in tough and high-moisture situations to a significant extent.
- 2. Lacking Scaling
Scaling is prevented in steel-plastic composite pipes by a plastic coating. These are devoid of scales on both the inside and exterior surfaces thanks to the materials used in their construction.
- Inert or resistant to acids and chemicals
Due to its composition, aluminium-plastic composite pipes are inert and unresponsive to all types of chemicals or acids, making them suited for heavy-duty applications.
4.110 degree high temperature handling range
Aluminium-plastic composite pipes are ideal for use in high temperature situations like hot water supply and water heating systems because they can run and be utilised at high working temperatures of up to 110 degrees Celsius.
- Strong, sturdy, and very long-lasting
Any pipeline system that is installed inside or outside must be exceedingly strong and sturdy, which is why aluminium-plastic composite pipes are built of these materials.
- Improved resistance to external forces and pressure
The steel-plastic composite pipes are highly strong and have a high resistance to applying pressure and force, which makes it simple to install these pipes underground or in locations where installation requires applying pressure and force.
- Simple to keep and clean
Because they are comprised of reinforced thermoplastics, plastic-coated steel-plastic composite pipes are simple to maintain and clean. The pipes can easily be cleaned and maintained by wiping them with a cloth.
Advantages of Composite Piping Solutions
Compared to the standard metal or PVC pipes we are accustomed with, composite pipes provide a number of benefits. The main benefit is the resistance to corrosion. Acids and chemicals cannot easily corrode the pipes. Additionally, they lessen or completely eliminate scale build-up, which is the scourge of conventional pipes. This ensures that liquids or gases will flow freely and without interruption through these pipes. They can be used safely for long-distance gas and chemical pipes, hot or cold plumbing, drinking water systems, centralised heating, etc.
Another big benefit of these pipes is their durability. Composite pipes do not frequently crack, leak, or require continual replacement, patching up, etc. They are excellent money savers because they work for up to 50 years. They maintain the shape that is applied to them. The malleability of composite pipes is another clear benefit. These pipes have a better flow than regular pipes of the same diameter because of their smooth inner layer, and they don’t require any additional structures or fixtures to retain them. When pipes are utilised for long-distance transit, this can be extremely useful. They can tolerate high temperatures, have excellent burn resistance, and are rated accordingly.
The elimination of corrosion and corrosion-related expenditures is one of GFRP’s benefits. When compared to traditional carbon steel, it offers better corrosion resistance, which eliminates the need for pricey mitigation measures like corrosion inhibitors and cathodic protection. Additionally, it doesn’t need any upkeep or inspection. Applying GFFP technologies can reduce the cost of inspections for intelligent pigging and/or inspections to track corrosion in carbon steel piping. Internal corrosion of conventional piping, such as carbon steel, can result in obstruction of the firewater sprinkler, endangering the safe operation of firewater lines, sprinklers, and deluge systems. Additionally, subterranean pipelines using the GFRP system do not require external coatings. An integrated UV stabilisation package eliminates the need for external coatings on above-ground pipework.
The absence of corrosion and the expenditures associated with it are benefits of GFRP. It is more resistant to corrosion than traditional carbon steel, and it eliminates the need for pricey mitigation measures like corrosion inhibitors and cathodic protection. It also requires no maintenance or inspection. When GFFP technologies are used, inspection costs for intelligent pigging and/or inspection to track corrosion in carbon steel piping can be reduced. Internal corrosion of conventional piping made of carbon steel, which is used in firewater lines, sprinklers, and deluge systems, can cause the firewater sprinkler to get blocked, endangering the system’s ability to function safely. Additionally, the GFRP technology eliminates the need for outside coatings on subterranean pipelines. An integrated UV stabilisation kit for aboveground pipework eliminates the need for external coatings. This lowers installation and lifecycle expenses. These advantages, nevertheless, come at a higher material cost. The metallic piping system in marine and offshore assets can be replaced, and the lower assembly costs can balance out the higher material costs.
Where are Composite Pipes used?
Composite pipe and fittings can be utilised in a variety of applications, some of which are listed below, thanks to the advantages we described above and more:
1. Pipeline systems for oil and gas
2. Systems for cooling and heating water
3. Using Water to Transport Fire Fighting Systems
4. Drainage and Wastewater Systems
5. Systems for the Supply of Drinking Water
6. Systems for supplying oxygen to patients
The subjects covered above are only a few uses for composite pipes. The auto, aerospace, building, marine, and even athletic industries can all use them. Additionally, composite pipe can be used to transport drinking water, sewage and drainage systems, as well as water for cooling or fire fighting purposes. Various industries, including aerospace, automotive, marine, construction, and even sport, use composite tubes wound with filament. Aluminium-plastic composite pipes are ideal for use in high temperature environments like hot water supply and water heating systems because they can operate and be used at high operating temperatures of up to 110 degrees Celsius.
Composite pipes have already demonstrated a history of use in numerous applications across various industries. These pipes are already widely used for conveying various types of water, but their strength, light weight, and absence of corrosion issues are proving advantageous in the oil and gas business.
The advantages of composite pipes outweigh the higher material cost because they are simple to carry and install and require very little maintenance and inspection. The use of composite pipes appears to be on the rise since they are readily available in a variety of various material types and are flexible, spoolable solutions.