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 as 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 winded 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 automobiles, aircrafts, as well as pipes industry. The compare of CFRT pipes with metal pipes are shown in the table:
|Test Items||CFRT Pipes||Steel Pipes||Glass Steel Pipes||Steel Reinforced Thermoplastic Pipes|
Obviously, we can see that CFRT pipes performs much better than traditional metal pipes like glass steel and metal reinforced thermoplastic pipes.
Continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite can be used in not only pipes but also other products various in shapes. The tubular fuselage of aircrafts can be also winded by CFRT UD tapes with a tape placement machine. Recently, a smart technology of CFRT tape winding is laser heating, which saves energy and reduces residual stress.
With the vigorous development of the global oil and gas industry, especially the deep-sea mining oil industry, the demand for high-performance pipelines is also growing rapidly. The use of reinforced thermoplastic pipes is now more and more popular. It is worth noting that non-metallic fibers are more likely to be adopted in reinforced materials. Continuous glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic pipes are successfully applied in many oilfields both at home and abroad, and is entering the long-distance pipeline network of oil and gas.