Published: March 9, 2022

Project Title: Testing and Analysis of Pipeline Encapsulation Technologies

Funding Agency: DOE/ARPA-E: Rapid Encapsulation of Pipelines Avoiding Intensive Replacement (REPAIR)

Lead: University of Colorado Boulder

Partners: Gas Technology Institute, Cornell University, University of Southern Queensland

Industry Partners: Sanexen Environmental Services Inc.

CIEST PersonnelPatrick Dixon, William Flood, John Hindman, Cory Ihnotic, Jacob Klingaman, Katherine O'Dell, Kent Polkinghorn, Morgan Ulrich, Yao Wang

Primary Investigator: Prof. Brad Wham, Prof. Shideh Dashti (co-PI), Prof. Mija Hubler (co-PI)

Year: 2020-2024

Project Summary: Cast iron, wrought iron, and bare steel natural gas distribution pipes—legacy pipes—make up 3% of the nearly 2 million miles of utility pipes in use, but account for a disproportionate number of gas leaks and pipe failures compared to more recently replaced infrastructure. REPAIR seeks to reduce natural gas leaks from these pipes by developing a suite of technologies to enable the automated construction of new pipe inside existing pipe. The new pipe must meet utilities’ and regulatory agencies’ requirements, have a minimum life of 50 years, and have sufficient material properties to operate throughout its service life without reliance on the exterior pipe. REPAIR will advance the state of gas distribution pipelines by incorporating smart functionality into structural coating materials and developing new integrity/inspection tools. It will also create three-dimensional (3D) maps that integrate natural gas pipelines and adjacent underground infrastructure geospatial information with integrity, leak, and coating deposition data. The cost target is $0.5-1 million per mile, including gas service disruption costs.

The CIEST lab at the University of Colorado Boulder is leading a multi-institutional team, including Cornell University, Gas Technology Institute, and University of Southern Queensland, to develop a data-driven framework of laboratory testing and modeling. This framework will enable the gas industry to better evaluate products to rehabilitate cast iron and steel natural gas pipes and enhance their performance and longevity. The objective is to validate a 50-year design life for innovative pipe-in-pipe (PIP) systems by developing numerical, analytical, and physical testing protocols. The process will merge attributes of each approach to deliver a comprehensive framework for PIP technologies composed of a variety of materials and deposition methods. CU Boulder’s framework characterizes failure modes and establishes performance criteria for PIP rehabilitation technologies to support recommendations for PIP material properties suitable for acceptable design-life performance. 

View ARPA-E's program description here.

4 point bending test overall photo

Steel pipe specimen lined with Sanexen's ALTRA10TM and prepared for a 4-point bending test in a 110 kip frame 

4-point Bending Test with 12" OD Steel Pipe Specimen

Postdoctoral researcher sets up a digital image correlating camera to track displacement during a 4-point bending test on a steel pipe specimen