Fibreglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) is a composite material of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibres. So, an FRP pipe is made of FRP material via contact moulding or filament winding. Various resins, such as thermosetting polyester, epoxy, phenolic resin, and others, achieve specific FRP pipe properties in the final product. The most common type of reinforcement is glass fibre, “E-glass.” The FRP piping system has found widespread application as a corrosion-resistant alternative to metallic piping. By using FRP as the pipe material, the need for internal lining, external coating, and cathodic protection can be easily eliminated. The FRP piping system is available in sizes 1 to 144 inches.
What is FRP Pipe?
FRP (Fiber-Reinforced Plastic) Pipe is a high-strength material made of thermosetting plastic reinforced with fiberglass and other composites. It is lightweight, corrosion and chemical resistant, easy to install, and long-lasting. Its strength makes it ideal for applications requiring high pressure or temperature resistance, including water systems, wastewater treatment plants, oilfield pipelines, industrial process piping, and fire protection systems.
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Difference Between FRP and Steel
FRP pipes replace steel pipes because they have superior corrosion resistance capabilities and are more cost-effective in the long run. So, in this section, you’ll learn about the differences between FRP and steel.
- Steel pipes are isotropic, whereas FRP pipes are anisotropic, with properties that vary with direction.
- Because of their lower modulus of elasticity, FRP pipes are more flexible than steel pipes.
- FRP piping systems are designed with a higher level of safety in mind than steel piping. The typical safety factor in the design of FRP pipes ranges from 5 to 10.
Applications of FRP Pipe
FRP pipes are becoming increasingly popular due to their high durability, corrosion resistance, and moderate strength. FRP piping systems are used in a variety of industries, including:
- Desalination and potable water industries
- The chemical, petrochemical, and oil and gas industries
- Vent piping and ducting
- Water supply and sanitary services
- Distribution and transmission of water
- Slurry transport
- Power plants
Properties of FRP Piping
The primary characteristics that make FRP Pipes an excellent choice for a variety of industries around the world are as follows:
- Excellent corrosion resistance
- Excellent strength-to-weight ratio. It should be noted that the strength-to-weight ratio of FRP pipes is higher than that of steel or other metallic pipes.
- It is lightweight, making it easy to handle and transport.
- Dimensional stability
- A low coefficient of friction (>25% lower than steel) ensures excellent flow characteristics.
- Abrasion resistance is excellent.
- Suitable for both aboveground and buried piping
- Resistance to biological attacks such as bacteria
- Non-conductive to electricity and
- Low maintenance costs
Joining of FRP Pipes
Because the lengths of the FRP pipes are limited by transportation and handling, they must be joined. In addition, various FRP Pipe fittings must be joined as needed. The FRP pipe joining system should be designed not to leak under the intended service conditions at the operating pressure. The FRP pipe joints can be restrained or unrestrained, depending on the joint configuration and design conditions.
FRP Pipe Joints with No Restriction
Unrestrained FRP Pipe joints are joints that can withstand internal pressure but cannot withstand longitudinal tensile loads. Coupling joints, bell and spigot joints, mechanical coupling joints with elastomeric seals, flanged joints, butt joints with laminated overlay, and so on are examples of such joints.
FRP Pipe Joints with Restriction
These pipe joints can withstand both internal pressure and longitudinal tensile loads. Supplemental restraining elements are added to these joints to limit longitudinal loads. Restrained FRP pipe joints include threaded, bell, and spigot joints with laminated overlays or adhesive bonds.
FRP Pipe Fittings
For proper piping layout, various FRP pipe fittings are available. The most common FRP pipe fittings are
- FRP Pipe Elbows with Long and Short Radii (22.5 Degrees, 30 Degrees, 45 Degrees, 60 Degrees, 90 Degrees, 180 Degrees)
- Tee Interconnections (Equal Tee and Reducing Tee)
- Flanges for FRP Pipes
- Flanges for steel backing
- Elbows with flanges
- Smooth flow and elbow reduction
- Bend with a unique radius
- Connection on the side
- Connections that cross over