The research of reinforced thermoplastic pipes had been reported early but not been applied to mass production until the 21st century. In recent years, petrol and natural gas industries are looking for CFRT for their CNG cylinders.
The process of winding CFRT composite on pipes is quite similar to that on glass steel pipes: to wind CFRT on a rotating mandrel and weld it onto the pipe through heat and pressure. The continuous fiber-reinforced composite material is fed by a CNC placement head, rather than the tensile force generated from the tape. The surface of the reinforced composites is heated to the melting point instantly by hot gas or laser and then cooled under the press of a roller. The whole process involves no tensile force. The parameter, together with the movement of the placement head can be adjusted.
Traditional vertical pipes used in deep-sea mining are steel reinforced thermoplastic pipes called “flexibles”. However, the continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic pipes are more smooth, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant.
Continuous fiber-reinforced composite is growing rapidly in the automobiles, aircraft, as well as pipes industry. The comparison of reinforced thermoplastic pipes with metal pipes are shown in the table:
|Test Items||CFRT Pipes||Steel Pipes||Glass Steel Pipes||Steel Reinforced Thermoplastic Pipes|
|Low Temp Resistance||★★★★★||★||★★★★★||★★★★★|
Obviously, we can see that CFRT pipes perform much better than traditional metal pipes like glass steel and metal reinforced thermoplastic pipes.
For the petrol industry, the tensile strength of FRT pipes is highly demanded (usually 600-800Mpa). Actually, the tensile strength of continuous glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic pipes has already reached 700Mpa in domestic markets. The strength of RTP pipes containing 60% to 65% glass fiber is 800MPa and will reach 900MPa if the glass fiber content goes up to 70%. In TOPOLO, our T-UD series CFRT tapes can meet the demand, and the minimum thickness can be 0.2mm.
Continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite can be used in not only pipes but also other products in different shapes. The tubular fuselage of aircraft can be also winded by T-UD series GPE tapes with a tape placement machine. Recently, a smart technology of CFRT tape winding is laser heating, which saves energy and reduces residual stress.