Internationally, the pipeline industry faces enormous challenges in meeting growing demands for energy while keeping costs low. Some 50% of leakages occur in gas pipelines due to corrosion.
Traditional, steel pipes are treated for corrosion but spot corrosion will eventually occur, limiting their lifespan to under 10 years. Steel pipes are prone to leaks and require many joints to cover large expanses, further increasing the chances of pipeline failure.
“Industrial yarn is making a valuable contribution to a pipeline solution, which will reduce the chance of leakages and accidents, while being cost effective for the future”
Finding a More Flexible Solution
A crucial issue for energy is its safe, reliable distribution through high pressure pipelines.
For all the developments in fracking and sourcing new supplies, energy remains a precious commodity. One crucial issue is the physical distribution of gas, and maintaining a safe, cost-effective means of distributing it via pipe networks.
“Natural gas must travel from its source to the end consumer through different pipelines, carrying it at varying pressure rates,” Matthew explains. “For lower pressures, up to 10 bar, carriers may use plastic, but it is not suitable for higher pressures, up to 20 bar.”
To address the issue of the lower resistance of plastic pipes and the more failure-prone, inflexible steel pipework has meant developing an innovative manufacturing solution.
This is Reinforced Thermoplastic Pipe or RTP.
RTP and Yarn Processing
“RTP is made up of polyethylene liner pipe which is then wrapped in high strength fibres,” Matthew explains, “which is where yarn processing is involved.”
This fibre layer comes from combining polyester and exceptionally strong kevlar. Fibres. Once these fibres are wrapped around the plastic pipe, they increase its pressure capacity significantly.
Kevlar is also used in bulletproof vests, which makes it able to withstand high pressure and be very durable.
“RTP-manufactured pipes can carry pressures of up to 100 bar,” Matthew states.
“In many ways yarn is an invisible benefit, because people don’t realise it’s there in so many products”
Matthew points out that sometimes the key to successful manufacturing is not providing a solution in its entirety, but instead supplying a key component.
“Good manufacturing doesn’t have to mean a sensational, commercial product,” Matthew concludes. “It can fulfil a need and there’s a huge value in that.”