Last month in this newsletter, I discussed hydraulic performance and the roughness coefficient of Flowtite® FRP pipe. How does it measure up against one of the most popular pipe choices still in use today: bar-wrapped steel cylinder pipe, or B303?
As you probably know, B303 is basically a steel pipe with a rod wrapped around it, coated and lined with thick joint rings at each end. It performs well under pressure, even with thinner gauge steel. It has good structural integrity, and joints are reliable — at least when they’re made right, installed right and maintained right. Because they’re made with thinner steel, B303 pipes are generally less expensive than conventional steel pipes.
The problems start to arise when we consider the corrosion intrinsic to all ferrous materials. The steel cylinder has to be lined with some sort if material, and in B303, this is usually cement mortar, which gives relatively good resistance to corrosion — at least when there’s no delamination. But there’s a price to pay.
Concrete lining can lead to poor hydraulic performance and head loss. Concrete-lined B303 has a lower Hazen-Williams coefficient than FRP, and this translates into higher pumping costs. If the concrete liner (or any other liner, for that matter) is damaged, then the result is corrosion and potential pipe failure. So the pipes must be inspected regularly, resulting in higher maintenance costs.
Because of its strength and rigidity, B303 is used for some trenchless operations. However, some engineers are beginning to understand that Flowtite® FRP pipe can be used as a suitable option in trenchless operations. There are several advantages to doing so, including better hydraulic efficiency, lower maintenance costs, easier and cheaper handling and installation, and lower transportation costs. Plus, Flowtite® can handle higher pressure and larger diameters, both for clean or dirty water.
It’s an impressive list.
The bottom line is this. For all kinds of good reasons, Flowtite® FRP pipe is rapidly replacing B303 for applications of all kinds, including pressure and gravity, open-cut, trenchless, microtunneling, sliplining and more.
So when you’re asking yourself, "to B303 or not to B303," just remember this: Steel is out; fiberglass is in. And that means Flowtite®.
If you’re going to WEFTEC this September, I’d love to see you there. I, or one of our technical experts, can go into a bit more detail about this and any other questions you have about Flowtite®. I hope to see you there.
P.S. We’ll be covering hydraulic efficiency and head loss in much more detail at our upcoming webinar in October, too. So be on the lookout for that.