The Best Way to Protect Your Pipeline from Abrasion Damage

Protecting the exterior surface of underground pipelines from abrasion damage due to rocks, boulders, and above-ground traffic and equipment requires an abrasion-resistant outer layer or coating. An effective way to ensure an abrasion-resistant steel pipe involves applying a protective layer, like Polyguard IRO™ (Impact Resistant Outerwrap) and IRO™ HD (Heavy Duty) products.

Two less expensive ways to protect a pipeline from abrasion include using selective backfill and protective material laid over the pipeline before backfilling operations. A pipeline project engineer should determine the most cost-effective method for protecting your pipeline from abrasion damage, which can lead to expensive repairs and shutdowns.

Why You Need Abrasion Resistant Pipelines

An underground pipeline's external coating or layer must protect the steel against its primary threat - corrosion. To control corrosion, the outer coating/layer system must withstand environmental stresses due to scraping, erosion, scratching, etc., without suffering premature failure. Therefore, pipeline engineers, designers, and owners must consider abrasion resistance when choosing a pipeline’s outer coating.

Abrasion damage resulting in a loss of coating protection often displays as corrosion. An outer layer or coating without abrasion resistance can crack due to forceful impact or wear away with the constant flow of sand and water, which can expose the substrate to salt, and water, ultimately resulting in corrosion. In addition, above-ground traffic, equipment, and other impacts can crack the coating and leave the steel unprotected from corrosion.

Choosing an abrasion-resistant outer layer or coating that can withstand heavy-duty environments will provide the best way to protect your costly pipes from abrasion damage. Abrasion resistance will ensure the longevity of the coating system and lessening potential costs due to repairs and shutdowns.

What Makes a Coating or Layer System Abrasion Resistant?

Abrasion resistance refers to a coating’s ability to resist wear due to erosion or impact, and allow the system to continue providing comprehensive protection to the substrate. Generally speaking, hard, flexible, smooth, and thick coatings can best prevent coating wear by abrasion, impact, and erosion.

  • The coating must provide enough hardness to withstand an impact that could fracture the system down to the substrate.

  • The flexibility of the coating should prevent brittleness by balancing out its hardness.

  • A smooth coating will limit abrasion since it takes rough surfaces coming into contact with each other to create an abrasion.

  • It will take longer to wear a thicker coating down to the substrate than a thinner coat.

Protect Your Pipes from Abrasion Damage with Polyguard's IRO and IRO HD

Abrasion-resistant Polyguard IRO™ (Impact Resistant Outerwrap, 0.013-inch thick layer) and IRO™ HD (Heavy Duty, 0.034-inch thick layer) protect a buried pipe's pre-approved field joint and mainline coatings (RD-6®, liquid epoxies, and Fusion Bond Epoxy (FBE), etc.) from abrasion damage for many applications, including:

  • Aggressive soil conditions

  • Thrust boring and microtunneling

  • Mainline coating protection

  • HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling)

  • Field-applied ARO (Abrasion Resistant Overlay)

  • Air to soil transitions

Polyguard recommends using this system as a protective layer for field joints installed by a trenchless method that could impact a high consequence area (HCA) like a building, road, water, or populated place.

Advantages of Polyguard IRO™ and IRO™ HD

IRO™ and IRO™ HD provide numerous advantages and features that help an underground steel pipe's successful longevity and design:

  • Excellent flexibility, gouge, and impact resistance:

  • The IRO and IRO HD products eliminate the chance for costly spot repairs or re-pulling pipes. They also provide exceptional mechanical protection of the mainline coatings and underlying field joints.

  • IRO and IRO HD products incorporate fibers to improve the system's flexibility, gouge, and abrasion resistance while maintaining the resin's effectiveness.

  • It minimizes repairs.

Straightforward installation:

  • Moisture-cured IRO™ and IRO™ HD do not need UV light or heating.

  • The system's simple application allows speedy coating protection and backfill.

  • IRO and IRO HD products permit pipeline operators to apply girth weld coatings at an ideal thickness to achieve optimum performance with the corrosion barrier.

  • IRO and IRO HD products produce smooth profiles to lessen damage during the pull-through.

  • IRO™ and IRO™ HD-controlled set times, packaging, and conformability help ensure efficient installations with consistent applications in any project environment.

It is essential to know that increasing the coating's thickness will reduce its flexibility and impact resistance.

Help with code compliance:

Polyguard IRO™ and IRO™ HD work with cathodic protection (CP) systems for utilization according to DOT and PHMSA codes.

  • 100-percent solids content

  • Non-shielding and non-hazardous

The Best Way to Protect your Pipeline from Abrasion Damage - Polyguard IRO™ and IRO™ HD

Protecting the exterior surface of underground pipelines requires applying a superior abrasion-resistant outer layer or coating, like Polyguard IRO™ (Impact Resistant Outerwrap) and IRO™ HD (Heavy Duty) products. Our outer layer products protect underground pipelines, mainline coatings, and pre-approved field joints from abrasion damage. Furthermore, our simple-to-install systems provide excellent flexibility, as well as gouge, and impact resistance.

Don’t hesitate to contact our pipeline experts for more on the best way to protect your pipeline from abrasion damage.