Composite Pipe Helps Expand Water Network

06 December 2011

Arequipa City, Peru, is currently improving and expanding its potable water network using 1.9 miles (3.1 kilometres) of Flowtite fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite pipe manufactured by O-Tek Internacional S.A. using a Vipel unsaturated polyester from AOC. 

According to AOC, the gravity-flow pipeline conveys water from an intake in the Chili River to the La Tomilla II water treatment plant.  La Tomilla II’s first stage is designed to handle 34.2 million gallons/day (1.5 cubic metres/second). They say that three different pipe diameters have been used; 43 inches (1100 millimetres), 47 inches (1200 millimetres) and 51 inches (1300 millimetres). Internal pressure requirements range from 145 to 464 pounds per square inch (10 to 32 bar).

AOC explain that a special project feature is how pipe installation included two independent tunnel segments.  In one tunnel – 623 feet (190 meters) in length – the pipe is installed as an interior liner.  As a result, the pipe is not affected by internal water pressure loads or external soil pressure loads.  The other tunnel – 4,167 feet (1,270 metres long) – uses aerial pipe installation according to manufacturer recommendations. They say that because the high strength composite pipe weighs less than metal or concrete alternatives, transportation and installation was easier and lower cost eliminating the need for heavy equipment.

AOC say that O-Tek manufactured the pipe using licensed Flowtite technology.  The process combined continuous and chopped glass fibres in a Vipel polyester formulated to proprietary Flowtite specifications.  The smooth pipe interior ensures excellent flow properties that allow for smaller diameters than pipe made with alternative materials.  The Vipel resin is engineered to provide decades of corrosion-resistant service.

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