Vipel Meets the Challenge of Desert Environment

25 June 2010

The world's largest high density polyethylene (HDPE) plant in Abu Dhabi uses fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite pipe to cool manufacturing process water with seawater, with AOC's Vipel F013 bisphenol-A epoxy vinyl ester providing the critical joint system.

Called Borouge 2, the plant is owned by Abu Dhabi Polymers Co. of Ruwais, Abu Dhabi. Engineering, procurement and contracting was under the direction of the Middle East unit of Técnicas Reunidas, S.A., which has headquarters in Madrid, Spain.

The pipe system conveys 36° to 46°C (97° to 115°F) temperature seawater to cool process water that is in the 40° to 50°C (104° to 122°F) temperature range. The pipe and joints were designed to withstand 11.3 bar (160 psi) of service pressure and were successfully hydro-tested at 15 bar (215 psi).

The pipe was installed by Granite Construction Co. and manufactured by Future Pipe Industries Group (FPI), both of Abu Dhabi. Butt and wrap field joints that connected pipe section to pipe section were accomplished by Vayyu Composites Technologies (Pvt.), Ltd., Chennai, India, a subsidiary of Vayyu LLC, Malvern, Pennsylvania, USA.

Vayyu crews resin-impregnated fibreglass woven roving mats with 270, 360 and 580 grams per metre densities to field-laminate 858 joints. The job involved above- and below-ground pipe ranging in diameter from 900 to 3600 millimeters (36 to 144 inches). Vayyu used 327 technicians -- laminators, supervisors and engineers -- to complete the job within 12 months.

Vipel F013 bisphenol-A epoxy vinyl ester resin was specified for its high resistance to corrosive attack from the hot, saline seawater. The laminating crew also appreciated the resin’s wetting, handling and curing characteristics in the hostile desert environment.

“In spite of extreme temperature ranges of 10°C (50°F) during winter nights and 46°C (115°F) during summer days, the resin performed consistently,” said G.S. Viswanath, Senior Partner & Chief Technical Officer. “The gel time was extremely predictable. We were also pleasantly surprised by the shelf life of the resin in the intense summer heat.”

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