As much as we've all heard about carbon footprints, few of us know about water footprints. In addition to the regular water we associate with food and beverages, there is something called "virtual water." That's the water it actually takes to manufacture or grow something to the point where we use it, eat it, wear it or do something else with it. Check out the blog to read more.
The Maverick blog is meant to provide you, the reader, with information across a broad spectrum of topics involving or related to the use of FRP pipes, vessels and tanks in corrosive or abrasive environments. Here you will find technical discussions as well as general interest items, some developed by Maverick staff, some from other sources and some suggested by you. Check back frequently for the latest posts.
Plant Owners and Engineers are becoming much more knowledgeable regarding design concerns and expectations for nonmetallic piping systems. Performance and reliability continues to improve for these systems. It has begun to be recognized that engineering nonmetallic piping systems, is much more involved that just picking the Piping Code and inputting piping material properties in a pipe stress analysis program. Depending on the selected Code or standard, the analysis approach and requirements change.
Regularly, I am asked, “We have some FRP tanks, do they need to be inspected?” or “How often do I need to inspect my FRP tanks?” In a plant, all equipment needs a maintenance assessment program. FRP equipment is not any different. Considering that many FRP tanks and process vessels typically handle hazardous fluids, such as acids, caustic, bleach and oxidizers, it is easy to make the case that the severe and demanding services where FRP tanks are used, justifies a regular inspection program to assure plant safety. Decades of success with FRP in chemical service has built a lot of confidence in FRP with plant operators, although “Trust, but Verify” applies for FRP as well.
FRP is an excellent material of construction for handling a variety of corrosive fluids in chemical processing, although even FRP has its limitations. At elevated temperatures FRP can be challenged in some of the most severe chemical services, some as in chlor-alkali processing. In this case, dual laminates become a viable option. Simply, a dual laminate is a unique composite construction having a thermoplastics lining, which could be such materials as polypropylene (PP), CPVC, PVDF and FEP to name a few, with an FRP structure for strength and secondary corrosion resistance. For dual laminates, the thermoplastic lining offers a corrosion barrier which can be tailored, depending on the material, for optimal resistance for the defined process fluid and conditions.
Suppliers of FRP piping and tanks have been called FRP Fabricators, forever. I think this comes from the early days when fabricators built anything and everything from tanks to pipes to washer hoods to feed troughs. Today, the FRP industry is much more refined in many ways, yet there is still not a consistency in fabrication practices across the fabrication community. What I mean to say is that when you examine FRP fabricators, the range of manufacturing practices is extraordinarily broad, from very basic to more coordinated and integrated manufacturing practices. As an example, today there are still fabricators that build pipe and tanks by hand lay-up methods only, just as it was done 50 years ago. Materials are better and the understanding of composites is greatly improved, but the execution can be still the same.
I’m sure most have heard someone say, “Oh, that’s just a bad material.” I would suggest that, “There are no bad materials, only bad material selections.” There is no silver bullet in materials, i.e. one material that is good for every application, and cheap too. Most materials are judged on a number of characteristics based on physical properties, corrosion resistance, cost, availability, ease of fabrication, weldability and available certified labor.
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Presented by Tom Haber at the 3rd Annual Plant Engineer's FRP Forum. Tom is the Quality Assurance Program Manager for Maverick Applied Science. From project coordination to field service and inspection, Tom has been involved in Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) industry for over 25 years.