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Don’t Overlook Composite FRP Pipe

By Scott Beckwith, BTG Composites, Inc. Mark Greenwood, Composite Solutions Consultants, Inc. |

    There are several reasons why composite fiberglass-reinforced-plastic (FRP) pipe has been replacing conventional pipe, and why this still relatively new material (see box, p. 46) should be kept in mind whenever piping is being specified for a new or a revamp project. Engineers involved with specifying or using FRP pipe should have a clear understanding of its nature and properties. A good start emerges from reviewing the attractions that FRP pipe offers (see also Table 1). First and foremost, FRP pipe is inherently corrosion resistant because of the inert nature of its construction materials in comparison with ordinary steel and cast iron. It is not unusual to design FRP pipe to meet 25–50-year code requirements. FRP materials resist corrosion from a wide range of fluids, and can do so on both the interior and exterior pipe walls. In fact, with the aid of an appropriate interior-liner or barrier material and judicious use of resin matrices, the pipe can simultaneously accommodate internal and external corrosive environments that differ from each other. Lightweight construction is likewise a major benefit. Typical FRP pipe has about 25% the weight of comparable steel pipe, and about 10% that of comparable concrete…
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