The Carbon Fiber Blog

 

HJ3 At Tulsa Pipelines

Posted on by abarela
The 2014 Tulsa Pipeline and Energy Expo is underway! John Huedepohl, HJ3′s CarbonSeal™ Product Specialist, will be meeting with several of our clients and would love to meet with you, too! Email John or stop by BOOTH 230 on August 26th or 27th to learn how HJ3′s industrial carbon fiber systems and coatings can save you time and money on your maintenance projects.tulsa-pipeline-expoThe Tulsa Pipeline Expo reflects Oklahoma’s leadership in a forward-thinking energy industry. This year marks its 5th anniversary since the annual event launched in 2009.
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Steel Process Vapor Line Repair

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
There are currently 139 operating oil refineries in the United States, producing nearly 18 million barrels of crude oil daily.There are currently 139 operating oil refineries in the United States, producing nearly 18 million barrels of crude oil daily.  Considering that a vast majority of the 165,000 miles of U.S. oil pipeline is at least 35 years old, the aging pipeline infrastructure is nearing the end of (or has already passed) its serviceable life.  Catastrophic oil leaks have already occurred all over the world, and leaks and spills will continue to occur as our pipeline continues to age.  The problem, like so many others that we face, is one of money.  Pipeline is corroding and aging faster than we can replace it, and it’s racking up a bill that no one can afford.  Kent Moors, an acclaimed oil and gas policy expert, says that “the immediate need worldwide [for oil pipeline repair] is put at $500 billion… and it’s growing by about a billion dollars every week.”  So how do we reduce this huge bill, you ask?  With HJ3’s carbon fiber, of course!

 

At an oil refinery in Alaska, an ASTM A106 – Grade B steel vapor line header corroded both internally and externally, requiring reinforcement.  The 20” vapor line header and attached 42”- diameter pipe required reinforcement due to steel loss and through-holes from extreme corrosion.  The entire structure had lost its hoop strength.  Additionally, the internal pipe repair had to be completed with extreme care to avoid oxygen ingression, as combustion was possible.  The refinery had the choice to replace the pipes, incurring downtime and extreme costs, or repair them.
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Highly chemical-resistant base coat is applied

 

After reviewing their options, repairing the pipes with HJ3’s carbon fiber was a no-brainer.  The CarbonSealTM system repaired the vapor line header and attached pipe in only two days. Considering the constant exposure to chemicals, a chemical-resistant base and topcoat were vital for protecting the system. First, the pipe surface was cleaned to white metal using mechanical hand tools. Through-holes and other steel loss were patched, and the basecoat and primer were applied to the pipe exterior. Saturated carbon fiber followed, and the protective topcoat was applied last.
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HJ3 primes the pipe

 

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Saturated CarbonSeal fabric is applied to the pipe
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HJ3′s carbon fiber is applied to the header

 

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HJ3 applies the chemical-resistant topcoat
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The finished structure’s hoop strength is restored

 

Repairing the pipe required no downtime, hot work permits, or welding. The structure’s hoop strength has been restored, and the header is now corrosion and chemical-resistant. The installation was completed within two days, and the refinery saved $300,000 compared to replacement costs. Furthermore, repairing the pipe required 22% less energy than would have been required to manufacture a new pipe. The repair prevented almost 33,500 gallons of water from being wasted, more than a ton of CO2 emissions from polluting our atmosphere, and more than 1,000 lbs of steel from potentially going to landfills. If you have a steel pipe that needs reinforcement, contact hj3 at info@hj3.com.

Carbon Fiber Pedestal Repair

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
There are almost 7,000 operational power plants in the United States today, and recent years have seen an increase in natural gas power plant construction. While only 13% of electricity generation came from natural gas in 1993, projections estimate that natural gas generation will climb to 30% by 2030, doubling the projected outputs of renewable and nuclear energies. This increase in natural gas plants is said to be a result of an increase in the supply of natural gas, increasing focus on power plant emissions, and short construction times for natural gas plants. Considering the lowered sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions output of natural gas as compared to coal, natural gas power plants are quickly becoming the power-generator of choice for many energy companies in the country.

 

At a natural gas facility in the southwest United States, a series of concrete pedestals support the power-generating units. More than a dozen of these pedestals had developed minor cracks. Broken valves above the pedestals released heat and steam, which expanded the cracks, corroding the internal rebar. As the rebar bloomed, the cracks expanded, causing concrete loss on many of the pedestals. The concrete was so deteriorated that if not addressed soon, the integrity of the supporting pedestals would have been threatened.
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Pedestals Support the Power-Generating Units at this Facility

 

The CarbonSealTM pedestal repair kit restored all of the pedestals. HJ3 provided thorough installation training, as the power plant wished to perform the repair themselves. First, the surface of the pedestals was prepared by chipping away loose and delaminated concrete. The surface was ground to rid it of any paint and smooth the concrete, and areas with concrete loss were patched with cementitious grout. Primer was then applied, and all remaining cracks were injected. HJ3’s carbon fiber fabric was saturated and installed, and then protected by a chemical-resistant topcoat, which prevents the need for yearly repair.
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Cracked Pedestal
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A Trained Installer Applies CarbonSeal Fabric
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Pedestals Wrapped With HJ3′s CarbonSeal System

 

HJ3’s CarbonSealTM system provided a long-term solution compared to traditional concrete patching; the chemical, corrosion, and abrasion-resistant qualities offered by carbon fiber eliminate the need for repair for at least 20 years, while concrete patching alone would have required maintenance in 1 or 2 years. Because HJ3′s CarbonSealTM system required no rental for scaffolding or other expensive equipment, and required no new concrete to be poured, the client saved $150,000. Furthermore, the repair prevented more than 1,000 lbs of concrete and steel rebar from going to landfills, saved 30,000 gallons of water, and almost a month of downtime versus replacing the pedestals with new concrete. More than 3,000 kWh of energy and one ton of CO2 emissions were also spared in the repair. If you have concrete pedestals that are cracked and need repair, contact HJ3 at info@hj3.com

Garage Wall Repaired with Carbon Fiber

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
It has been estimated that about 76% of single-family homes in the US have a garage or carport. Whether used for protecting vehicles, extra storage, or that really cool man cave, the presence of a garage can have a very positive effect on a home’s value. But if the garage door, walls, or floor are in less-than-perfect condition, the presence of a garage could actually hurt the home’s value. While several different factors can damage your garage, such as heavy rains and soil pressure, repairing your bowed or cracked walls and floors doesn’t have to be a huge investment.

 

Many soils expand when they get wet, and shrink as they dry out.  As the soil expands and contracts, it often creates enough force to cause major damage to building and home foundations.  In North Carolina, the expansion and contraction of the local soil composition exerted lateral pressures on a 23-year old home with a two-car garage.  As a result, two of the masonry walls in the garage developed a one-inch bow and a ¼” crack.

 

The homeowner chose a combination of bi-directional and uni-directional carbon fiber fabric to complete the repair.  StrongHold’s bi-directional crack repair kit confined the crack, while the uni-directional fabric strengthened the walls, preventing future movement.  In cases in which a wall is both bowed and cracked, it is imperative to confine the crack prior to repairing the bow.  After cleaning the surface to rid it of paint, dust, and delaminated concrete, HJ3’s StrongHold certified installer primed the walls and installed the StrongHold crack repair system.  Once the crack was confined, the uni-directional fabric strips were applied in evenly spaced vertical intervals to prevent further movement of the walls.
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HJ3′s Certified Installer Applies Carbon Fiber

 

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StrongHold Carbon Fiber Strengthened the Walls
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The Finished Walls are Ready for Painting
By repairing their walls with HJ3’s carbon fiber instead of steel alternatives, the homeowner saved almost $10,000 and a week’s worth of time.  The repair was completed in one day with no excavating or heavy equipment, and is officially one of 8,000 StrongHold home success stories.  If you have a bowed or cracked garage wall, contact HJ3 at info@hj3.com.

“Bridge” Your Spending Gap with HJ3 Civil!

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
The average age of America’s 607,000 bridges and overpasses is 42 years, according to the ASCE 2013 report card for America’s Infrastructure. While the Federal Highway Administration estimates that $20.5 billion needs to be invested annually to repair deficient overpasses in the country’s 102 largest metropolitan regions, only $12.8 billion is currently being spent. But the $8 billion yearly deficit doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds; many federal, state, and local governments are turning less to replacement or traditional steel repair alternatives and more to innovative products, such as HJ3’s Civil carbon fiber systems. Together, HJ3 and America can bridge the spending gap by repairing our failing overpasses for less money, in less time, with longer-lasting results. At HJ3, we’re doing our part to strengthen infrastructure worldwide, one overpass at a time.

 

Overpasses are subjected to constant vibrations from daily traffic passing overhead. As a result of these vibrations and regular freeze-thaw cycles, the concrete in this overpass developed several cracks, which allowed moisture and oxygen to corrode the steel reinforcement within. As the corroded steel bloomed, it caused the concrete around it to deteriorate and crumble off of the overpass, threatening its structural integrity. The DOT wanted to repair the overpass as quickly as possible to avoid major road closures.
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Corroded Rebar in One Section of Overpass

 

The HJ3 Civil system restored the shear and tensile capacity of the overpass. Exposed rebar was cleaned and protected, and the missing concrete sections were patched before being wrapped with carbon fiber. HJ3’s chemical and UV-resistant topcoat was layered over the carbon fiber to protect the overpass from corrosion, and the repair was completed in two days with minimal road closures.
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Large Area of Corroded Rebar in Another Section

 

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HJ3 Installers Wrap the Overpass with Carbon Fiber
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The Finished Overpass
Replacing the overpass would have incurred drastic downtime costs, as the replacement would have taken about two months to complete.  By repairing the overpass instead of replacing it, the DOT saved those downtime costs, as well as $200,000.  The repair also saved more than 9 million gallons of water and almost 1.5 million kWh of energy.  If you have an overpass that needs strengthening, contact HJ3 at info@hj3.com.

Prepare For Earthquakes With a Seismic Retrofit

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
It is estimated that there are 500,000 detectable earthquakes in the world each year. 100,000 of those can be felt, and 100 of them cause damage. According to National Geographic, underground disposal of wastewater from fracking may also pose a greater risk of seismic activity, especially in the U.S. southwest and Midwest where earthquake faults have not been extensively mapped. Fortunately, companies and individuals alike can be proactive and take precautions to protect their infrastructure.. Whether tectonic plates, volcanic activity, or fracking is responsible for the earthquakes, we can all better prepare ourselves for disaster. By seismically retrofitting our buildings and structures now, we can prevent billions of dollars of damage when another major earthquake strikes.

 

California is notoriously known for its earthquakes, but increased activity has actually put Oklahoma on the map for the most seismic action in the United States. In fact, Oklahoma now has twice as many earthquakes per year as California. The panhandle state used to see an average of one earthquake per year with a magnitude that measured over 3.0 on the Richter scale, but now they’re now seeing an average of one per day. What’s caused such a drastic climb in earthquakes? While definitive answers have yet to be determined, the most popular culprit is that of Hydraulic Fracturing, or “fracking.”
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Oklahoma’s earthquake activity 1970-2014
Credit: USGS.com

 

Fracking is a process that involves drilling deep into the ground and injecting fluid at high pressures, which fractures the shale rocks 10,000 feet below Earth’s surface to release the natural gases inside. The gases then flow into wells, where they are barreled for use. Fracking produces an estimated 300,000 barrels of natural gas every day, but considering that the fluid it uses is made up of water, sand, and up to 600 chemicals, many also blame it for water contamination, radiation exposure, and earthquakes. And while science hasn’t yet been able to prove whether or not fracking is responsible for the increased number of earthquakes we’ve seen in the United States, the British Geological Survey reports, “it is well established that fluid injection can induce small earthquakes”. Still, scientists argue that correlation does not equal causation. While many earthquakes have occurred in places with increased fracking, the process is not necessarily the direct cause. Other known causes, such as tectonic plates, volcanic activity, and crustal instability where natural oil and gas deposits rest could also be to blame.
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Diagram of Fracking Proces
Credit: UConn.edu

 

Earthquake occurrence is no longer a matter of if, but when. And while earthquakes can be devastating, there are precautionary measures we can take now to help protect our structures and our safety when another one hits. San Francisco is considering mandatory seismic retrofit work for buildings that are vulnerable to collapse during earthquakes. They’ve had a voluntary retrofit program in place for a few years, but only about 50 property owners used it. Proposed legislation would require thousands of San Francisco property owners to retrofit their older, collapse-prone buildings, at an estimated cost of $60,000 to $130,000 each. In a major earthquake, soft-story buildings (multi-story, wood-frame buildings with a garage, large windows, or similar openings on the ground floor) are very likely to be badly damaged, if not completely destroyed; more than 3,000 buildings in San Francisco will have to be retrofitted at the property owners’ expense if the proposed legislation passes. While the total work is estimated to cost around $260 million, the retrofits could avert a $1.5 billion damage bill when another earthquake hits.
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Proposed legislation would require soft story buildings like this one to be retrofitted
Credit: SFappeal.com

 

Carbon fiber has become a popular material for seismic retrofitting; while the fiber is 10 times stronger than steel, it adds practically no weight to buildings themselves. A manufacturing facility in the southwest US needed strengthening for seismic upgrades and lateral shear reinforcement on three reinforced concrete tilt-up walls. Building expansion and change of use resulted in the need for a significant increase in load requirements on all three walls, and the company chose HJ3’s CivilTM hybrid carbon fiber strengthening system to perform the upgrades. After abrading and priming the three walls, a thickened high-modulus paste was applied, followed by more than 30,000 square feet of carbon fabric. The strengthening system increased the strength and ductility of the walls, satisfying the seismic code requirements, while also saving the client 40% compared to replacement or steel alternative costs. The installation was completed in three weeks, instead of months, as replacement or steel alternatives would have taken. By using carbon fiber, 625 tons of steel and concrete were prevented from going to landfills, and more than 36 million gallons of water were saved. Furthermore, 4 million kWh of energy and 1200 tons of CO2 emissions were prevented from polluting our atmosphere. If you have a building that needs seismic upgrades and want additional information, contact HJ3 at info@HJ3.com

 

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A section of the wall to be repaired.
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An HJ3 installer applies carbon fiber to the wall

Cracked Riser Pipes Repaired with Carbon Fiber

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
The recent Duke Energy spill that left more than 70 miles of the Dan River coated in 40,000 tons of toxic coal ash has created a demand for immediate inspections and repair plans for leaking pipes in all 14 of Duke Energy’s facilities, including those that have already been retired or demolished. And while most inspections are indicating that “the infrastructure is safe and performing as designed”, many leaks have already been found in riser pipes and other pipelines throughout the facilities. The Eden facility, responsible for the coal ash leak, is not the only facility in which these leaks have been found; Duke’s Weatherspoon Steam Electric Power Plant, which was retired in 2011, was found to have a crack in the riser pipe at the plant’s ash pond dam.

 

The Weatherspoon plant was demolished in 2013, but its 54-acre coal ash pond is still full and the cracked riser is still in use. The steel-lined concrete riser is designed to siphon the cleanest water off the top of the pond when the water rises, allowing heavier sediment and coal ash to sink to the bottom. While experts say that a coal ash leak with the magnitude of Eden’s is unlikely at Weatherspoon, they fear that the crack could cause a leak of ash-laden water to contaminate the local tributaries and rivers. Coal ash is a byproduct of the burning process that generates electricity, and it contains numerous toxic substances, including mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, selenium, and chromium, among others. Duke Energy has been given a July 20 deadline to provide a schedule for repairs; if they don’t, they could be fined up to $500 per day.
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The Weatherspoon Plant was demolished in 2013 but its ash pond is still full
Credit: fayobserver.com

 

The leaking crack in the riser pipe at Weatherspoon was identified by camera inspection, which helped to determine that the condition of the riser is “serious enough to justify further engineering study to determine remedial measures”. A similar issue was identified at another of Duke’s steam plants; a 40-foot crack in the coal ash dam at the company’s Cape Fear Steam Electric Plant developed as a result of shifting earth below the dam. Over time, the shift forced a riser in that pond to bend almost to the point of cracking. Duke Energy has since fixed both the dam and riser at the Cape Fear plant, but has yet to provide plans for repair of the riser at the Weatherspoon plant.
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Riser at the Cape Fear Plant’s ash pond
Credit: Charlotte Business Journal

 

Power Plants like Duke Energy’s utilize a circulating water system to cool steam that has been heated and passed through a turbine. The cooled steam turns back into water, at which point it can be reused to generate more electricity. Over time, the riser pipes transmitting the cooling water can corrode. Corroded riser pipes at this power plant in the southwestern US had cracked and started leaking. Two of the risers were so corroded that they could not support the operating pressure, resulting in their complete failure. The risers that were still operational had corroded all the way through to the inner steel, which was exposed. The plant wanted to reinforce 22 total risers, but only had a minimal outage window for the repair. HJ3 was asked to perform the repair with the CarbonSeal™ system.
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Some of the 22 risers needing repair

 

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A corroded riser
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The riser is abraded and ready to be primed

 

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The riser is wrapped with saturated CarbonSeal fabric
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An installer applies a UV- and abrasion-resistant topcoat

 

Before the riser pipes could be repaired, they were excavated and their concrete diapers were removed. The exposed steel surface was prepared to near white metal and primed. The CarbonSealTM high modulus paste was applied, and saturated CarbonSealTM fabric installed. The carbon fabric is protected by an abrasion and UV-resistant topcoat. Steel sleeves were applied at the base of the repair, which was enclosed by new concrete diapers. The repaired risers were painted to meet the client’s aesthetics. In total, all 22 steel riser pipes were reinforced within a limited window, and the client saved $1 million for every day that the plant would have been shut down beyond the scheduled repair. The client also saved more than 127,000 gallons of water and 17,000 kWh by repairing their risers instead of replacing them. 3 tons of CO2 emissions were prevented from polluting the atmosphere and 2.5 tons of steel and concrete waste was prevented from going to landfills.  If you have steel risers that need repair and would like to learn more about HJ3’s CarbonSealTM reinforcement systems, contact HJ3 at info@hj3.com.

Don’t wait. Fix foundation cracks now!

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
Abnormal is just one word that’s being used to describe the winter season that much of the United States recently survived. Lows were lower than normal, snowfall was greater than normal, and the entire season seemed to last longer than normal. So now that the snow is thawing and trees are budding, your honey-do list is probably longer than normal, too. But while you’re checking on the status of your HVAC system, inspecting gutters and roofs, and caulking windows, your home’s greatest damage is likely beneath your feet, in your basement. Minor cracks in your basement walls, crawl space, or foundation could be a sign of a much larger problem that should be addressed early on.

 

There are an estimated 60 million basements in the United States, 3 million of which have foundation issues. American homeowners spend more than $4 billion annually repairing their foundation and basement problems, but your own repair costs could be minimal if you’re able to address issues sooner, rather than later. Start by checking your driveway and walkways; cracking in these concrete surfaces indicates differential settlement in the soil beneath. While a crack in your driveway by no means indicates that your foundation is failing, it may tell a story about the soil that your entire foundation is sitting on.
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A cracked driveway could indicate a larger foundation issue
Credit: www.florida-pavers.com

 

As you probably learned in science class years ago, water expands when it reaches freezing temperatures. This past winter’s frigid temperatures likely froze the water sitting beneath your home’s concrete foundation, resulting in cracks in your basement or crawl space walls. These cracks have allowed water to penetrate the concrete all winter long, causing them to expand and weaken your foundation. Left unattended, your wall will eventually lose its ability to resist excess forces from soil, sloping lawns, or tree roots, and will start to bow. As it bows, the lateral weight from the house sitting on the foundation increases the bending stresses on your wall, creating a much more serious problem for your home’s structural integrity.
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Soil pressure can force your wall to bow
Credit: foundationspecialties.com

 

A homeowner with a cracked foundation in North Carolina recently decided to take action before his damage became critical. Years earlier, a backhoe had accidentally backed into one of his partially-exposed basement walls during construction. The impact cracked the corner of the foundation, and after years of settlement and heavy rains, soil pressure pulled the wall apart, allowing water to leak in through the crack. The wall needed structural repair, but water drainage was also vitally necessary.
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Water seeps in through the large crack

 

A combination of repair methods satisfactorily resolved the home’s foundation issues. Since draining the water was necessary before any repair process could begin, a custom basement drainage system was built. Once the walls were sufficiently drained and dried, the homeowner installed 6-foot by 10-inch StrongHoldTM carbon fabric straps to his damaged corner, and coated the fabric with a protective topcoat.

 

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Soil pressure forces the wall to pull apart
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Carbon fiber straps are wrapped around the corner

 

The StrongHoldTM repair system confined the cracks in a matter of hours, producing a stronger, leak-free corner. The homeowner saved more than $10,000 and won’t have to worry about maintaining his repair at all. In fact, this home was one of 8,000 that HJ3 has repaired with no call-backs! If you need basement repairs and would like to learn more about HJ3’s StrongHoldTM reinforcement systems, contact HJ3 at info@hj3.com.

Emergency Repairs for Cracked Pipes

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
Warm weather brings increased water usage across the country. It also brings dynamic soil shifts and freeze-thaw cycles, all of which are problematic for underground pipes. The Department of Public Works in Milwaukee, WI is no stranger to the pipe corrosion and cracking issues brought on by weather change, as a deteriorating water pipe is causing closures in local water treatment plants while racking up a nearly $2 million repair bill for an emergency repair.

 

Last month, a 72-inch diameter PCCP pipe started leaking water between the Texas Ave and Howard Ave treatment plants in Milwaukee, WI. The leak required that the Texas Avenue plant be shut down, and closure of the Howard treatment plant followed shortly behind because it relies on the water that comes from the Texas Ave pumping station. The leaks were caused by two 5/8-inch cracks, which have since been repaired. Further analysis of the pipe, however, revealed many similarly-eroded areas along the 250-foot pipe. After much deliberation, the city has decided to repair all 250 feet of corroded pipe with a carbon fiber lining, as the carbon will be corrosion-resistant and much more permanent than other repair methods.
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A cracked pipe floods Milwaukee’s streets
Credit: Fox6now.com

 

The repair is expected to be fully completed by July 3 of this year, which is when the peak water usage season officially starts. Work will be done around the clock to meet the deadline. After the initial layer of carbon fiber is installed, city officials intend to add another layer to all welded joints, which tend to be the weakest points in the pipe.

 

It has been estimated that leaking pipes lose about 7 billion gallons of drinking water every day in the United States alone. As our infrastructure ages, our pipes corrode and weaken, becoming less and less reliable. But while routine pipe maintenance and replacement is both expected and planned, emergency repairs can cost up to 300% more. The ASCE gave America’s drinking water infrastructure a “D” on the 2013 Report Card because “much of our drinking water infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life.” From coast to coast, it seems that every state is dealing with emergency PCCP leak repairs. Considering the extreme financial costs to replace America’s aged and corroded pipelines, and the lack of funding for it, Milwaukee isn’t the only region turning to solutions like carbon fiber as a repair alternative.
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Corroded PCCP pipes leak trillions of gallons of water every year
Credit: www.waterworld.com

 

In Florida, one county’s water and sewer system required emergency repair after a large-diameter PCCP pipe corroded and started leaking. The three 54-inch diameter sections and four 48-inch diameter sections of pipeline had been previously repaired with a composite product that had delaminated, allowing moisture to penetrate the concrete and supporting prestressing steel wires within. The severe corrosion had weakened the pipe, preventing its ability to manage an operating pressure of 150 psi. HJ3’s carbon fiber pipe repair system was designed to restore the pipe to its original design strength and prevent further corrosion. First, the corroded pipe sections were abraded so that they were free from all loose concrete, dust, and coatings. The pipelines were then primed, and CarbonSealTM carbon fiber was saturated and applied to the interior of the pipe, terminating at the joints.
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Corroded pipeline interior

 

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Corrosion at failure point of previous repair attempt
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An installer applies CarbonSeal to the pipe’s interior
The CarbonSealTM system repaired the damaged pipe within a few days, preventing the county from costly downtime expenses. The pipeline was restored to its designed operating pressure, and the carbon fiber repair has eliminated the necessity for further maintenance. The client saved more than $1,000,000 over replacement costs, while also preventing 5 tons of concrete waste and 1 ton of steel waste from going to landfills. 12 tons of CO2 emissions, 50,000 kWh of energy, and 60,000 gallons of water were also saved by repairing the pipe instead of replacing it. If you have PCCP that needs repair and would like to learn more about HJ3’s carbon fiber systems, contact our project managers today at info@hj3.com.

Summer Weather Causes Water Main Breaks

Posted on by Alyssa Wedler
As summer quickly approaches, many northern cities are experiencing the after-effects of the harsh winter season. The winter brought record lows and snowfall, but the warmer summer weather is proving to be less welcome than expected because of snow melt runoff and pipe bursts. Some parts of the world experience these issues annually, and have dubbed this time of year “water main break season.” In Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, one such water main break has been flooding the streets for over a month.

 

Freeze/thaw cycles are common culprits of water main breaks. As warmer weather thaws the frozen ground, differential settlement causes the soil beneath the pipes to shift. A combination of extreme weather and very old pipes (almost a century old, in some cases) is being blamed for the majority of water main breaks this time of year. So far, 19 water mains have broken in Prince Albert this season, and several more are expected over the next few weeks. City officials say that they are working on a plan to address the water main breaks, adding that “the extreme cold last winter has put tremendous pressure on the underground infrastructure system.”
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A water main break in Prince Albert has been bubbling for a month
Credit: CBC News

 

Corrosion of pre-stressed concrete cylinder pipe (PCCP) costs the United States water and waste water systems more than $50 billion a year, according to a 2002 study. In North America alone, there are 850 water main breaks every day, creating an annual repair cost of more than $3 billion. Leaking pipes have been calculated to lose about 2.5 trillion gallons of drinking water every year, which accounts for about 17% of all water pumped in the US, and 90% of this loss has been credited to corrosion-related issues of outdated pipes. In fact, according to a 2012 study performed by Utah State University, 43% of water mains in America are between 20 and 50 years old, and 22% are more than 50 years old.
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Corrosion inside an underground water pipe

 

Unfortunately, nearly half of the one million miles of pipeline laid beneath America’s streets is nearing the end of its serviceable life. Estimations place the cost of replacement at more than $1 trillion over the next 25 years, but considering that funding isn’t available, a solution is needed to extend the life of our PCCP infrastructure. HJ3’s CarbonSeal carbon fiber is one such solution that was used to repair a cracked water pipe at a coal-fired power plant. The internal concrete liner of a 120-inch diameter pipe, used for transmitting water to the plant’s cooling towers, cracked. Water flowing inside the pipe penetrated the cracked concrete, corroding the pre-stressed wires inside. As the pre-stressed wires snapped and failed, the pipe lost its capacity to resist internal hoop stresses. Considering staggering replacement costs, the power plant chose to use HJ3’s CarbonSeal system to repair the 750 feet of pipe instead of replacing it.
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Installing HJ3′s CarbonSeal fabric

 

After the surface of the pipe was sprayed with an abrasive blast, the leaks were injected with polyurethane foam. The pipe surface was primed prior to installation of the saturated CarbonSeal carbon fabric, and a protective topcoat was applied to the carbon fiber until a pin-hole free surface was achieved and the system was impermeable. It took only 11 days to repair all 750 linear feet of pipe, restoring its full capacity to resist internal hoop stresses. The client saved 50% over other repair methods, 65% over the cost of replacement, and the repair prevented six tons of concrete from going to landfills. Furthermore, the system has been in place for eight years, and “has performed to expectations.” The client is “pleased with the service and performance of HJ3 who provided design calculations, stamped engineering drawings, termination details, and on-site supervision throughout the project.” If you have an underground pipe that needs repair and would like to learn more about HJ3’s CarbonSeal reinforcement systems, contact HJ3 at info@hj3.com.
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HJ3 installers apply top coat to the carbon fabric
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HJ3 At Tulsa Pipelines

08.25.2014

The 2014 Tulsa Pipeline and Energy Expo is underway! John Huedepohl, HJ3's CarbonSeal™ Product Specialist, will be ...

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