QuakeWrap Inc. Awarded $150,000 Research Grant for New Pipe Manufacturing Concept

Arizona-based QuakeWrap Inc. has been awarded a $150,000 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to further develop the revolutionary InfinitPipe.

Developed by QuakeWrap president Dr. Mo Ehsani, who is also professor emeritus of civil engineering at 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.

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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 the inventor, Prof. 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 to 8 ft 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 Technology Center.

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Ehsani said, “The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is enormous, considering the versatility and low cost of the pipes, in addition to the corrosion resistance that they provide. The ability to produce pipelines onsite has far-reaching implications for remote locations and developing nations which have little to no infrastructure for natural gas discovery and water delivery systems. As the mobile manufacturing units are developed and the process becomes more efficient, the resulting cost-savings, not only in terms of the pipe itself but also on equipment and freight costs, will be substantial. This, in addition to the long-term savings from reduced leakage and maintenance of these pipelines, will lead to an industry shift toward this greener, more efficient technology.” 

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