Lightweight Service Pipes / Tubes



Large diameter service pipes are used in the mining industry, roading tunneling projects, and for electrical/gas and other services. Carbon fiber service pipes or carbon fiber service tubes have a number of advantages over other forms of piping.

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Overview

Currently large diameter service pipes are made from steel, which is heavy and require specialised handling equipment, or else filament wound fibreglass. Filament wound pipes are lighter than the steel alternatives, but by using autoclave cured prepreg composites, a significantly lighter pipe can be made.

By reducing the weight, carbon fiber service pipes can be installed faster, with less man power and with a lower risk of injury. The lighter weight enables the transportation of more service tubes, reducing the number of trips to and from the surface.

A conductive silicone lining has been incorporated into the design to provide damage resistance to the pipes, eliminating the chance of leaks caused by severe impacts to the pipes. The lining provides electrical conductivity along the entire length of the pipe, overcoming a traditional shortfall of fibreglass piping for mining and other tunneling projects.

Prepreg

By using prepreg materials with an autoclave cure, a greater level of consistency can be achieved than with filament winding while also attaining far superior mechanical properties. The advantages of using autoclave cured prepreg for the construction include:

  • Weight reduction
  • Safety
  • Strength
  • Extended service life



Weight Reduction

By using prepreg, the weight for a 6m long service pipe is 12.9kg with 2.1kg of stainless end fittings, compared to approximately 35kg for current fibreglass service pipes(1) of similar bore.

(1) Based on published data by various manufacturers

Safety

The use of a silicone internal bladder provides conductivity along the length of the service pipe, thereby eliminating the chance of high pressure leaks in the pipes if they are damaged.

Strength

The use of autoclaved prepregs for the service pipes provides superior mechanical properties than can be achieved with filament winding. This is through the reduction of internal cavities in the material.

Service Life

Autoclave cured prepreg composites utilise resin systems which can be more stable than those which are typically used in other composite manufacturing. Stainless steel is used for the end fittings as it has anti-corrosive properties which complement the pipe.

Testimonials


“It’s easy to handle tubes on your own when previously it would take 2 of us…. It’s also
easy to carry the tubes down a road way where before we would have to move them on a
vehicle…. To me it is the biggest advance in coal mining in the last 20 years.”

Miner Queensland