Graphene Proposed to Cut Pipeline Corrosion
Researchers based out of the University of Manchester and TWI Ltd. recently developed a way to incorporate graphene into a polymer liner that can extend the lifespan of marine pipelines.
Pipelines are customarily made with internal polymer layers, or composite and strengthening steel. When carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and water permeate through the pipe’s protective barrier, the steel may corrode over time, sometimes leading to infrastructure failure.
Graphene Coating Research
The research, published in Advanced Materials Interfaces, indicates that if graphene were mixed with plastic, or if a single layer of graphene was applied, gases could still get through, which could damage the steel over time.
But when researchers laminated a thin layer of graphene nanoplatelets to polyamide 11—a plastic traditionally used in these pipeline liners—the team was able to create structures that acted as sound barriers. The material was tested at 60 degrees Celsius, at pressures up to 400 times higher than atmospheric pressure. The result? An over 90 percent reduction in CO2 permeation compared to PA11 alone. Hydrogen sulfide permeation was reduced to undetectable levels.
Graphene is flexible and transparent, with higher conductivity than copper, and is used to block helium, a gas known for being exceptionally difficult to block.
“Graphene has many amazing properties, but it is not always easy to [realize] them on a large scale,” said Professor Peter Budd, Professor of Polymer Chemistry. “Our work represents an important step in taking graphene out of the laboratory and into the real world.”