Produce butt fusion and electrofusion joints in PE pipes with outside diameters (ODs) between 110 and 630mm with and without forced air cooling.
Determine the time required for the joint to completely solidify for different degrees of forced cooling.
Determine the short-term and long-term integrity of the joints produced with and without forced cooling.
Produce guidance for industry on whether forced cooling can be used to increase productivity of welding PE pipes.
A number of butt fusion and electrofusion welds will be made using industry-standard welding parameters and also with various degrees of forced air cooling(air temperature, flow rate, distance between air source and joint). Thermocouples will be inserted at the centre of the wall thickness before welding in order to monitor weld temperature against cooling time. The butt fusion joints, once fully cooled, will be subjected to a tensile test using a waisted specimen (which has been found in a previous CRP to be the most sensitive short-term test for assessing butt fusion joints in PE pipes); the electrofusion joints will be subjected to a crush test (which has been found in a previous CRP to be the most sensitive short-term test for assessing these types of joint in PE pipes). Additional welds will be made under identical conditions, but without thermocouples embedded, and these will be assessed using the whole pipe tensile creep rupture test (which is the most realistic long-term test for joints in PE pipes).
Relevant Industry Sectors
Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Power, Construction and Engineering
Technical and Economic Benefits
It is estimated that 300,000km of PE pressure pipe is laid in Western Europe and North America per year. According to Fast Fusion, installation cost savings from using forced cooling range from US$0.04 per foot for 2 OD pipe to US$5.76 per foot for 48 OD pipe. Assuming an average cost saving of US$0.20 per foot, gives a potential saving in Western Europe/North America of US$200M.
Industrial Member Report
Access the Industrial Member Report resulting from this programme: Literature review: Forced cooling of polyethylene pipe butt fusion welds