Exceptional ESCR for pipe

LyondellBasell’s Hostalen CRP 100 RESIST Black high density polyethylene (HDPE) was used to produce Italian pipe manufacturer Picenum Plast’s new Extreme 100 water pipe application. According to Picenum Plast’s Technical and Process Manager Mario Iaccarino, the new pipe application has benefited from LyondellBasell’s high-performing resins. “Compared to pipes produced using standard grades, our Extreme 100 pipes exhibit excellent environmental stress cracking resistance (ESCR)  as well as long-term behavior in critical applications and installation techniques such as directional drilling and pipe bursting,” said Iaccarino.

“Reliability of a pipe system depends not only on the theoretical long-term performance of the piping system, but also on how the pipe is installed. Negligence during the installation procedure or underestimation of the soil and environmental parameters occur daily,” explained Iaccarino. “Incorrect transport, site handling and installation may result in scratches, micro-grooves, rock impingements and other pipe surface damage. What’s required is a pipe with long-term performance and the highest level of resistance to stress-induced cracks. This should be seriously considered by designers and end-users who demand overall reliability.”

The Extreme 100 pipe was presented by Picenum Plast at the “Servizi a rete – Live show” event in Milan, where network experts were invited to attend a three-day overview in a 3,000 square meter exhibition field that displayed the main installation technologies, including microtunneling, video inspection and horizontal directional drilling.

New pipe industry standard

For high-performing grades such as Hostalen CRP 100 Resist CR Black, a new industry designation called PE 100-RC (which stands for “resistant to crack”) has been introduced by the PE 100+ Association. “A resin that has received the PE 100-RC designation is typically used by customers in economically attractive installation techniques, such as sandbed-less laying in open trenches, or in burst lining, where an old, defective pipe is forcibly widened and a new HDPE pipe liner is inserted during a single operation. With modern pipe-laying methods the pipe surface can be exposed to high point loads,” said Ulrich Schulte, pipe and sheet application development and technical service manager for LyondellBasell.

A Publicly Available Specification (PAS) has been published in April 2009, entitled “Pipes Made from Polyethylene (PE 100-RC) for Alternative Installation Techniques - Dimensions, Technical Requirements and Testing“. PAS is a quality agreement between interested parties, established under the umbrella of the national standardization bodies which indicates industry performance. The PAS 1075 was established to provide market participants with the ability to achieve uniform standards faster than with the DIN or EN industry standards. According to the PAS 1075 pipes made from PE 100-RC grades must withstand the high stress loads, which can be caused by scratches and point loads.

Above-average demand

Demand growth for pipe systems produced using HDPE continues to climb at above-average rates worldwide. In 2007, consumption of HDPE for pipe in Europe was 1.34 million tonnes, whereas global consumption was 4.4 million tonnes. Annual growth in Europe is expected to be approximately five percent, with global projections estimated at seven percent. To keep pace with this growth, one new world-scale HDPE plant would need to be constructed annually. “This increased growth is due in part to the development of HDPE resins with improved ESCR and extensive experience in the development of higher performing pipe applications. HDPE resins that achieve PE 100-RC certification currently have the highest level of ESCR in the pipe industry,” said Schulte.

Hostalen is a trademark owned or used by LyondellBasell group companies and is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.