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Case Studies

PVDF products pass the 'acid test', out-performing stainless steel

ST. LOUIS, MO.-
The sulfuric acid that is used to remove rust from products at a Missouri manufacturing facility was causing a continual problem. The acid was corroding and eating through the stainless steel piping that carried the liquid, requiring the costly replacement of the piping system about every six months. The manufacturing company sought the assistance of Corrosion Products, Inc. of St. Louis, Mo., in coming up with a solution. What Corrosion Products recommended was PVDF pipe, valves and fittings. "The company said they hadn't used a lot of plastics there at the plant," said Rick Bradbury, vice president of sales for Corrosion Products. "The pipe would have to stand up to a lot of chemical and physical abuse."

Thus, a portion of the PVDF piping was installed in November 1997 as a test in one of the most demanding areas of the system carrying the acid. Now, nearly six months later, the test has been judged a complete success. "The PVDF out-performed the stainless steel both in chemical compatibility and in its ability to withstand physical abuse," Bradbury said. "This first portion of the project has exceeded all expectations and the rest of the project is now under way." A spokesman for the Missouri manufacturing firm said PVDF piping systems are on their way to solving a vexing problem with sulfuric acid that stainless steel just couldn't handle. "I guess you could say that the PVDF passed the 'acid test'," the spokesman said.


Plastic plays a major role in ensuring that water is safe and clean

Residents of Louisville, Ky., consume 120 million gallons of fresh water every day. Vital to human existence, the water is used for drinking, cooking, bathing and a host of other purposes from lawn care to washing the family car.

Plastic pipe, valves and fittings play a major role in ensuring that this water is safe and clean for people and the environment. Fresh water piped into the Louisville Water Co. and sewerage entering the Metropolitan Sewer District is treated with chemicals carried through the flow systems by plastic piping products.

Thermoplastic piping products have a very successful history at these and other metropolitan water systems going back to the 1950s. PVC schedule 80 products carry the chlorine, ferric chloride, ammonia, organic polymer, calcium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, and other chemicals used to treat the water as it passes through the city's fresh water and sewage treatment systems prior to its return to the Ohio River.

At the water and sewage treatment facilities, the process used to treat the water is similar. First, large debris - everything from floating tree trunks to rusted car fenders - is screened out before the water goes to settling basins.

Plastic piping products are then used to transport organic polymer, ferric chloride or other flocculation chemicals into the water, causing solid matter to gather together, so that it can be skimmed off or otherwise separated from the water.

PVC is the product of choice to carry these chemicals because of its resistance to corrosion. PVC is known to be resistant to a broad range of chemicals, has long-term strength, and is very cost effective.

Because CPVC has similar chemical-resistance qualities, it is sometimes used in locations in which the environmental temperature extends to the upper range of PVC's capability (110F - 140F). In these instances, the increased material cost for CPVC may be justified by the comparative reduced construction cost for less-frequent pipe supports as compared to PVC. At the Louisville water treatment facilities, plastic piping products range in size from 1-inch to 12-inches in diameter.

Louisville residents expect fresh, clean water when they turn on their taps each day. At the same time, they want the Ohio River kept clean of pollutants. Plastic products are on the job to meet both of these important needs.

Plastic piping products to play big role in Brazil's new water park

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -
Plastic piping products had an integral part in providing fun for thousands of visitors to the giant Wet 'n Wild water park in this popular international city.

Millions of gallons of water are pumped and filtered through a thermoplastic piping system, allowing kids of all ages to roar down the Kamikaze water slide, body surf in the Surf Lagoon, and thrill to other state-of the-art rides, pools and attractions.

Narlon Parten of Southwest Pipe and Supply Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, the company that supplied the project, said that the water park in Rio de Janeiro is the fourth international Wet 'n Wild project for Southwest Pipe and Supply Co. Wet 'n Wild water parks have been completed in the Brazilian cities of Salvador and Säo Paulo, and in Cancun, Mexico.

The Rio project required more than 10,000 pounds of PVC/CPVC piping components ranging in size from 1/2 inch to 12 inches. Included were 144 12-inch Van Stone flanges and more than 200 10-inch and 12-inch fittings. In addition, metal butterfly and check valves also were used at the new water park.


Plastic Pipe Means Clean Air

Clean air was the main objective when considering a compressed-air piping system for Hawkins Chemical Inc.'s new chemical-blending facility for the food and beverage industry. After considering the various piping systems that offer "clean air," Hawkins Chemical chose a proprietary ABS system for their expansion in Minneapolis, MN.

PVC and CPVC cannot be used with compressed air because both can break into sharp pieces which can be accelerated by decompressing air. ABS has a rubber-based component which allows the pipe to split and release the energy without breaking up. This engineered material exceeded the design requirements of Hawkins Chemical engineers. In addition, the smooth inside diameter and no-leak joints will provide years of maintenance-free clean-air service.

The highly visible green pipe, valves and fittings are used in equipment airdrops throughout the plant for operating pumps, valves, and controls within the chemical blending process. The piping system at Hawkins withstands temperature swings of 30° F and is pressurized up to 140 psi.

Stainless steel piping was also considered for its clean-air properties. The Hawkins engineers knew stainless steel would be compatible with the various chemicals used and considered stainless steel to be a low-maintenance product. But, they also knew the threaded connections of stainless steel would add considerable dollars to the installation costs, and the air leaks through those joints would add to their energy bills each month, not to mention the high material cost of stainless steel.

While working with Mark Madison, vice president of sales and marketing at Indelco Plastics Corp., on the process piping and holding tanks for this project, Hawkins Chemical was made aware of the ABS system and its features and benefits. After careful consideration, the choice was easy to make.

Tim Jorges, maintenance supervisor of Hawkins Chemical, and his personnel installed more than 2,000 feet of the special plastic piping without the need of outside contractors and engineers.

They ran a few lines to a currently empty portion of the facility for additional expansion knowing that adding on to the system in the future is simple and cost effective. Hawkins Chemical slashed material and installation costs by using plastic as they continue to enjoy a "clean air" piping system, which was easy to install, is corrosion resistant and tough enough to handle the service conditions.