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News

Borealis makes bigger pipes possible

Borealis A/S : 02 May, 2000  (New Product)
Borealis has opened up markets for polyethylene pipelines with the successful production of a 100 mm wall-thickness pipe, across 1600 mm diameter, extruded in Borstar polyethylene, HE3490-LS. Borealis, together with the Norwegian pipe manufacturer Mabo, believes that this is the thickest wall of a PE pressure pipe so far extruded worldwide. The new 1600 mm diameter pipe provides a 10 bar pressure rating and for smaller diameters 20-25 bars may be possible, says Borealis, making it commercially competitive in the water pipe and other infrastructural markets.
Borealis has opened up markets for polyethylene pipelines with the successful production of a 100 mm wall-thickness pipe, across 1600 mm diameter, extruded in Borstar polyethylene, HE3490-LS.

Borealis, together with the Norwegian pipe manufacturer Mabo, believes that this is the thickest wall of a PE pressure pipe so far extruded worldwide. The new 1600 mm diameter pipe provides a 10 bar pressure rating and for smaller diameters 20-25 bars may be possible, says Borealis, making it commercially competitive in the water pipe and other infrastructural markets.

The key technical achievement was the overcoming of the sagging of the pipe shape in the extrusion melt.

In typical PE pipe production to date, maximum pipe thickness norms have rarely exceeded 65 mm, but Borealis scientists designed a high molecular weight PE material that would give not only low sag behaviour, but also improved resistance to rapid crack propagation and slow crack growth.

In recent testing at Mabo, no optimisation of the extruder process was done. A grooved feed extrusion line, equipped with pressure calibration and with an output of 700 kg/hour was used. The finished pipe has a weight of 450 kg/metre and the eccentricity measured on the finished pipe was less than 8 mm.

The successful outcome of the project sends out a message to the industry that PE can and will compete further in larger applications for civil engineering.

This rationale for PE is commercial as well as technical. On large diameter pipes, the raw material cost is typically more than 80% of the total production cost, and with the Borealis Low Sag technology, bigger PE pipes are now in a position to successfully challenge the costs of more traditional materials such as steel and ductile iron. Materials savings of more than 15 kg per metre, for a 1000 mm PN10 pipe, have been suggested. And polyethylene's flexible and corrosion resistance properties, particularly for large industrial applications, will now be all the more attractive.
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