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Leak Prevention in Small-Bore Piping and Tubing

By Richard Palluzi, PE, CSP |

Improved understanding of the causes of piping leaks can reduce the frequency of leaks and lead to significantly better performance over time Leakage in pipes is an ongoing problem in research and development facilities across many sectors of the chemical process industries (CPI), such as petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage and others. Leakage can negatively affect operations in pilot plants and laboratory units, and can affect a wide range of laboratory equipment, analytical instruments and testing equipment. Leaks are costly and time-consuming to find, and often are even more expensive to fix. Leaks result in poor-quality data or invalid results, which can require needless rework. Because leaks create unnecessary downtime and program delays, they drain stretched research resources. Leakage is often ignored or accepted as a “necessary evil.” It is common for scientists and engineers to talk about getting a system “leak tight” as if it is a one-time activity. Yet every system, no matter how well designed or well maintained, is almost certain to leak somewhere at some time. Therefore, leak testing needs to be a routine activity, not a one-time task. Simultaneously, research personnel commonly think of leaks…
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