Over the past two decades, a significant amount of research has been conducted on the use of composite materials for the repair and reinforcement of pipelines. This has led to vast improvements in the quality of composite systems used for pipeline repair and has increased the range of applications for which they are viable solutions (including corrosion and mechanical damage). By using composite repair systems, pipeline operators are often able to restore the structural integrity of damaged pipelines to levels equal to or even in excess of the original undamaged pipe. Although this research has led to substantial advancements in the quality of these repair systems, there are still specific applications where questions remain regarding the strength, durability, and effectiveness of composite repair systems, especially in elevated temperature, harsh environment conditions.
This program initially involved composite repair systems from six manufacturers. The test group included both carbon and E-glass based systems. Performance based qualifications were used to reduce the size of the test group from the initial six systems down to three. The experimental study consisted of small-scale testing efforts that ranged from tensile tests performed over a range of temperatures to 10,000-hour material coupon tests at elevated temperatures. The elevated temperatures used for testing were intentionally selected by the operator to reflect the 248 °F design temperature of the target pipeline.
Using small-scale qualification testing outlined in ASME PCC-2 – Repair of Pressure Equipment and Piping standard (Article 4.1, Nonmetallic Composite Repair Systems: High-Risk Applications) as a foundation, the test program described in this paper was able to demonstrate that, when properly designed, and installed, some composite materials are able to maintain their effectiveness at high temperatures. This study combined short-term and long-term testing of composite systems and demonstrated the advantages of a 10,000 hour test when aging properties are unknown. Finally, the study showed that, although high-temperature reinforcement using composite repair systems is feasible and commercially available, this capability is not standard practice across the composite repair industry. Proper analysis and verification using experimental methods, including full scale testing should be conducted prior to installation of a composite repair system in these types of harsh conditions.