For businesses involved in oil, gas or chemical transfer, no matter how limited the extent, new and existing pipe networks should be checked to see they meet the highest standards for secure containment. One of the main concerns is that many existing pipe networks, and indeed many pipe fittings available on the market today, are made from carbon steel.
Carbon steel has many uses in the transfer of non-hazardous materials in normal external atmospheric conditions (in sprinkler systems for example). It is however highly susceptible to corrosion, particularly from harsh atmospheric environments such as salt water. Additionally, carbon steel is more difficult to repair or cap using welds since, in its strongest formations, it is both highly heat resistant and far less ductile than other steels.
An additional problem with existing networks can be the poor quality of the pipe connections or of the pipe flanges used to secure those connections. Not only can flanges also be made from the same corrosion-susceptible carbon steel, in some cases the pipes will not be fitted securely within the flange. The resulting weakness in the connection again makes the network more vulnerable to corrosion.
Replacement of pipe fittings and pipe flanges with those made from a more secure stainless steel product is always highly recommended for oil, gas and chemical transfer. Austenitic stainless steel or the even more corrosive-resistant superaustenitic stainless steel may be the most suitable, depending on the substance being transferred. These are both also very easy to weld.
The alternative low-weight-to-strength ratio alloys of duplex and super duplex steels also perform well, and using these confers the advantage of being able to install much more lightweight pipe fittings. When it comes to securing pipe connections, ANSI-standard butt weld fitting pipe flanges are strongly recommended
At ChemiPetro we can advise on the suitability of both new and existing pipe networks, and provide any necessary alternative fittings.
Copyright information This article is free for reproduction but must be reproduced in its entirety, including live links & this copyright statement must be included. Visit chemipetro.co.uk/ for more services!