Plastics solve a number of problems including wear and abrasion, but many engineered plastics are also corrosion and moisture resistant, which can benefit applications in wet or damp environments as well, such as pipe supports.
Pipe supports for large diameter piping are benefited by the addition of plastic pads or liners in two major ways. Firstly, the movement of the pipe in three dimensions must be considered. While this might seem to be common sense – in the past this was overlooked in many pipe support designs. The result was when loads shifted or temperatures changed, the pipe would move and the metal-on-metal contact between the piping and the supports resulted in wear and abrasion issues and ultimately the premature replacement of entire sections of pipe.
Secondly, and perhaps just as important, is the contact of the pipe to the support in regards to corrosion. Water would be trapped between the support and pipe causing this corrosion. Solutions were attempted with rubber but it ended up absorbing water and did not solve the problem. The plastic solution for this application are usually Redco PTFE or Redco UHMW polyethylene.
Both plastics resist moisture, with Redco UHMW offering good impact strength and a good coefficient of friction, and PTFE offering an even lower low coefficient of friction allowing for more movement. The plastics are manufactured/fabricated into the supports and used on the inside diameter of the pipe saddle. This allows for the sliding and movement of the pipeline as well as for water to escape without being trapped against the pipe.
Engineered plastics are also used as part of the slide plates (or “pads) which are integral to the supporting legs of the pipe saddle. Redco PTFE is the dominant plastic here – often 25% glass-filled for added compressive strength and wear resistance which permits some movement of the pipeline and reduces strain on the supports.
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