COMPOSITE REPAIRS SOLVE AN EXPLOSIVE SITUATION

A major battle faced by asset owners and operators is to maintain the integrity of pipework. As main conduits for processed fluids, pipes are susceptible to corrosion, erosion and mechanical damage. Indeed, piping systems and pipework can fail in several ways. The most commonly experienced failures are associated with either internal or external corrosion of the pipe wall. They can result in metal loss, cracking or even leakage. A small crack may be difficult to identify, but it can damage the pipeline sufficiently enough to cause a catastrophic failure.

In October 2015, a steel producer in the Czech Republic had a gas supply line for a blast furnace suffering from cracks. The pipeline had developed a crack which was leaking gas into the atmosphere. The intake pipe had a diameter of 2 m and had suffered a crack 2.5 m long and 2mm wide.

 

The repair had to be performed live and a conventional solution to this problem would have incurred serious challenges such as hot work permits, re-scheduling of products, as well as many other environmental and safety concerns due to the proximity of process equipment and other product pipelines. The use of a composite repair was a safer alternative as it eliminates the need for hot work, shut down of the pipeline and environmental exposure. In addition, the repairs could be installed within the tight clearances available.

The chosen solution was an epoxy composite material produced by Belzona, a UK-based global company. These materials can be used to protect equipment from the effects of erosion and corrosion. Simple, cold applied bonding techniques can be utilised to repair damaged pipework, with Belzona composites materials working as bonding agents. To provide an initial seal to the crack, a fast-curing Belzona product was used, stopping the leak in situ and eliminating the risk of explosion.

 

The surface could then be prepared, and the substrate was blasted to achieve the optimum profile. Belzona 1111 was then applied in two layers incorporating Belzona 9341 reinforcement sheet. The Belzona solution bypassed the issues of a dangerous gas leak and allowed an in-situ repair without the need for downtime, making this an effective long-term solution to the customer’s problem. Belzona provided a cost-effective system to this maintenance problem by minimising downtime, labour and equipment costs whilst at the same time increasing plant efficiency and ensuring environmental compliance.

Contact Name: Alice Jucquois,
Email: ajucquois@belzona.com
Telephone: 01423 567641
Webpage: http://www.belzona.com/en/index.aspx

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