Smart Pipe® is a recently completed, innovative, new technology that has the potential for significantly reducing the cost, public inconvenience, and environmental threats associated with rectifying damaged and degraded high pressure pipelines. As new pipe or as a tight fitting liner, it is a composite material in which the key element is an ultra high strength/light weight fabric that is contra-helically wrapped onto a thermoplastic core pipe. Using a portable factory, the material can be manufactured at a job site, and installed simultaneously. As a liner, it is pulled into an existing pipeline in folded form, then re-rounded under internal pressure to become a tight fitting liner at the inner wall of a damaged/degraded host pipe. In this manner, a Smart Pipe® rehabilitation is fully capable of restoring, or exceeding, the original line pressure.
Smart Pipe® is best suited for rehabilitating long segments of disadvantaged pipe (e.g., general or stress corrosion cracking) in pipelines that operate above 150 psi (10 bar) in diameters of 6 inch (15 cm) and above. In this advanced form of trenchless technology, each segment of the host pipe needs to be exposed at only two points; i.e., the entry point and the termination point of a continuous pull-in operation. These two points can be miles apart; e.g., in a straight host pipeline, a continuous pull-in of up to 10 miles (16 km) is theoretically possible. Thus, it is particularly advantageous for pipelines that are in urbanized areas, wetlands, river and lake crossings, and other difficult to access and/or environmentally sensitive locations. Because the technology additionally provides an embedded sensor system for continuous monitoring of the integrity of the rehabilitated pipeline, the potential exists for entirely eliminating intelligent pigging, cathodic protection and hydrotesting in subsequent operational service.
In preparation for its first installations, engineering, computer simulation, and testing work has perfected all aspects of the Smart Pipe® manufacturing and installation procedures, and its subsequent in-ground service performance. This paper describes the manufacturing/installation technology, briefly outlines the analysis modeling and validation testing that have been utilized to establish the technology, and provides an example comparison with a currently existing conventional rehabilitation repair/replacement method.