Integrity of distribution infrastructures

The challenges

The use of polyethylene (PE) pipelines for gas distribution, like that of other polymers for routing fluids into water, heat, or hydrocarbon distribution networks, involves special-purpose equipment and technologies such as electrofusion. Subjected to a range of stresses, including thermal and mechanical, as well as aging, polymer pipelines raise various issues: identifying them, especially for the oldest ones on which markings are no longer readable, and predicting how their behavior will evolve over time.

For nearly 40 years now, RICE has been supporting the technological developments related to the use of PE pipelines,their laying and their operation at pressures of 4 and 8 bar, in the best safety conditions. Its global and multidisciplinary expertise has extended to any type of polymer used by the various industrial sectors.

Rice’s expertise is based on:
comprehensive knowledge of the polymer structures and material.
– an experimental approach, modelling and numerical simulation, as well as experience feedback.

Areas of expertise:
The lifespan of polyethylenes (PE) and polymers.
Digital modeling of polymers and their long-term behaviour.
Techniques for testing and qualifying polymers.
mechanical welding and joining techniques.
Inspection techniques.
Analysis of field incidents.
Implementation procedures in the field.
Quality controlprocesses.

Our competencies
Our study and test means

RICE possesses a package of computational, testing and analysis tools specifically developed and optimized for research purposes and managed by an experienced, multi-disciplinary team:

Test bench for investigating the behavior of polymer material tubes and assemblies subjected to internal pressure and multiple mechanical, thermal or chemical stresses.
Laboratories for the physical-chemical and mechanical characterization of polymer materials (PE, PA, PVDF): composition (polymer type, grade), from the macroscopic to the microscopic scale, rheological parameters, determination of welding energy on samples.
Welding tests under controlled conditions, accelerated photo and thermochemical cracking and aging tests.
Modelling and numerical simulation based in particular on CASTEM / ABAQUS / FORGE finite element computing software as well as experimentally adapted and validated behavioral laws.
RAMCES PE software to calculate the acceptability of overstresses on polyethylene gas distribution pipelines.

Our services

Checking manufacturers’ characteristics,qualifying equipment.
Optimizing the criteria for analysis of electro-fusion phenomena.
Characterization of the residual performance of tubes and joints.
Seeking alternatives to metal networks in specific industrial contexts.
Determining solutions to restore the integrity of the pipelines (materials, linings, etc.).
Analysis of incident feedback from the field.
Evaluation of network laying solutions
Evaluation of the performance of CCTV inspection techniques for PE networks.

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