QuakeWrap Inc. has been awarded a $150,000 Small Business Innovative Research Grant from the National Science Foundation to further develop InfinitPipe.
Developed by Dr. Mo Ehsani, president of QuakeWrap and professor emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Arizona, the patent-pending InfinitPipe allows onsite manufacturing of pipes that can be miles long without any joint. Joints are the primary source of leakage and environmental pollution in pipelines.
Conventional pipes are made with solid walls in short segments that are joined together in the field. The walls of InfinitPipe are made of a lightweight honeycomb core with carbon fiber as skin reinforcement. This reduces the weight of the pipe to nearly 10 percent of conventional pipes. The construction procedure does not require any heavy mixing equipment or furnaces, lending itself to onsite manufacturing. According to Ehsani, “The mobile manufacturing unit can produce the pipe in a continuous joint-free manner, burying the finished pipe in a pre-cut trench as the equipment travels along the trench.”
The primary market targeted for InfinitPipe is water transmission lines where pipes in diameters ranging from 2-8 feet are commonly used. Eliminating the shipping charges for such large diameter pipes is a major advantage of InfinitPipe. As a part of the study, a series of tests will be performed at the Louisiana Tech University’s Trenchless Technologies Center.