Glass Fiber Reinforced Plastic pipes, or GRP pipes, are widely used in heavy industries for large volume or fluid transport. They are made of glass, polyester resin and quartz sand, all of which give their own quality to the final product. Used in water distribution, sanitary sewerage collection systems, slip-lining, agricultural irrigation, desalination, mining and much more, GRP pipes have an advantage over traditional materials due to their light weight, high resistance properties, flexibility and environmental and economical practicality. The following benefits allow GRP pipes to enjoy a long shelf life up to fifty years.
Corrosion-free and durable
GRP pipes are known for their anti-corrosion properties which give them a long life. They don’t require continuous galvanization, coating or cathodic protection. Hydraulic machinery remains undamaged even after a long period of time. Due to their glass fiber and polyester resin, they don’t rust, making pipes safe for food and water. Moreover, GRP pipes are resistant to natural weathering elements such as water, oil, gas, chemicals, heat, UV rays, chemicals and harsh environmental conditions.
GRP pipes have an elastic quality that allows them to accommodate to the earth’s movements. They come in variable lengths, sizes and configuration thus can be tailor-made to suit particular demands. They can withstand deviation due to the less number of bends and the possibility of angular deflection. For this very reason, GRP pipes are preferred in seismic zones.
High surge pressure
GRP pipes have a smooth surface which encourages high water flow capacity with low friction. A smooth surface means less pumping energy needed, and lesser operational costs. They have a high structural load capacity that prevents the bursting of water pipes. They have a lesser wall thickness as compared to PVC pipes which makes it easier to install them using routine methods. They are resistant to abrasion thus preventing against cracking and crazing of GRP pipes. This ensures zero infiltration, low-cost treatments and no groundwater pollution. They are stiff in nature and come in a leak-tight system that prevents wastage and is environmentally friendly.
Light weight and great strength
GRP pipes weigh one-fourth of ductile iron and steel pipes, and one-tenth of concrete pipes. Therefore, installation, transportation and maintenance costs are minimum. One needs no heavy machinery, bonding agents, bolding or welding for construction. GRP pipes have a tensile strength of 300-375 MPa and can withstand light to moderate pressure. They have a low thermal and electrical conductivity due to the lack of external insulation. However, conductive GRP pipes can be produced if the application demands so.
Low cost and installation time
GRP pipes have low installation, transportation, delivery and maintenance costs. The low costs can be attributed to no need of expensive pipe handling equipment and no need for subsequent cathodic protection to prevent corrosion. The hydraulic machinery remains constant and undamaged for a long time and provides a service life of fifty years. Its low cost also makes it accessible for difficult and demanding terrain.
GRP pipes maintain the stringent quality requirements for mechanical, physical and chemical resistance and strength. GRP pipes come with their disadvantages such as damage due to poor installation, handling and external impact. However, with further research, they would become popular in more and more industries as required.