Glass fiber reinforced plastic pipes, or simply called, GRP pipes, are popular in the construction industry for pipeline maintenance. GRP is a resin plastic made from a combination of glass Fiber, polyester, and vinyl ester and epoxy resin. They are constructed using a special technique called the dual helical filament winding technique or the continuous advancing mandrel filament winding technique. Widely used in the automotive industry, aerospace industry, water and wastewater engineering, chemical industry, wind turbines, electrical industry and sports equipment industry, GRP pipes have a lot to offer. This article shall discuss some of the salient features of GRP pipes.
- High resistance
GRP pipes are durable and resistant to corrosion. They are manufactured from composite material glass fiber and polyester resin which prevents them from rusting. They are also resistant to chemical, water, oil, gases, heat, UV rays and extreme environmental conditions. You need no additional galvanisation or cathodic protection for repairing and maintenance. GRP are resistant to hydrocarbon fluids, helping in construction in the oil and glass industry. Due to a shelf life of fifty years and zero maintenance costs, they are economically viable. The helical filament winding method along with polymerization and vaporization makes GRP pipes safe to transport food and potable water.
- Lightweight and great strength
GRP pipes come with a hoop tensile strength of 300-375 MPA, as compared to PVC pipes. Constructions require no heavy machinery along with no need of bonding agents, bolting or welding. They have a great mechanical strength and can withstand light to moderate pressure. Moreover, GRP pipes are lightweight as compared to ductile iron, mild steel and HDPE pipes. The light weight ensures easy handling of equipment, easy transportation and installation. These qualities make GRP pipes much more durable, reliable and economical than traditional materials.
- Surge pressure
GRP pipes are generally manufactured between the ranges of 6 meters to 12 meters. The high stiffness and high compressive load capacity of GRP pipes prevent the bursting of pipes due to water pressure. They come with a lesser wall thickness makes it easier to bury them using routine methods with easy handling of deep covers. They are resistant to abrasion and cracking, and leak-free joints that promise zero infiltration, low treatments and no groundwater pollution.
- Hydraulic efficiency
GRP pipes have a smooth internal surface which gives them excellent hydraulic characteristics and high flow capacity and low friction. They also work well for excellent pumping thus saving electricity. They are also low on thermal and electrical conductivity due to no external insulation of pipes. The internal temperature of GRP pipes remains constant due to their unique thermal properties.
GRP pipes are also extremely flexible, which enables them to accommodate length according to the application requirements. The smooth and dimensionally consistent surface makes the pipe length adjustable due to the less number of bends and easy adjustability. Manufacturers can also choose from a wide range of sizes, pipe lengths and configuration as per demands. This is the reason why GRP pipes are preferred for construction in the seismic zones.
GRP pipes are most commonly used in underground applications over-ground applications, sub-water applications and relining for which high endurance, hydraulic efficiency and high strength is essential. They should be thoroughly tested in accordance with international and domestic standards such as AWWA, ASTM and BIS to check for quality long-term performance and superior physical and mechanical properties.