Many companies rely on steel for construction and operational needs, but when used in conjunction with chemicals on a continuous basis, there is opportunity for corrosion to occur. In a perfect world, plumbing and piping demand strength and durability, and steel can hold up to a variety of abuses for a long period of time. However, when corrosive materials are added to the process, the long-term results will be additional maintenance and replacement due to corrosion.
Composite piping an engineering attempt to bring steel and chemical together in a sustainable way. This form of piping maintains a steel shell, but is protected internally by supplemental materials. Rubber lined pipes are a type of composite solutions. The nature of the bond between steel and rubber provides the perfect protection against corrosions. There are generally four types of rubber that may be used for vulcanization. These include natural rubber, butyl rubber, nitrile rubber, and EPDM. Vulcanization simply means treating the rubber with intense heat and sulfur to create a stronger surface.
Because of the durability of rubber lined pipes, they are often used in high impact situations such as mining and drilling. Chemical plants and those that deal with abrasive materials also rely on the longevity of this piping design. They provide a high pressure rating, are resistant to corrosion and abrasion, and can be flexible for multiple solutions. The cost efficiency of less repair and replacement is also a unique selling point of composite piping.
Because the interior coating is crucial for longevity, installation procedures require meticulous and thorough planning. Great care must be taken to avoid damaging the interior by chipping or breaking, and the exterior of the pipes must also be coated with primer and grouted.
Continued development in piping engineering will further improve the defenses against corrosion, but composite piping is proving a worthy opponent and at an acceptable cost. The efficiency of operations can continue without fear of leeching harmful chemicals into the environment and having to absorb the financial costs of continual pipe replacement.