RP3.1-05: Compatibility of plastic piping with future fuels

Executive Summary
This project studies the compatibility of potential future fuel components, including ammonia, methanol, dimethyl ether, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide (syngas), in various types of plastic piping (PE, PVC and nylon) and their elastomers. This is achieved by exposing and immersing the various plastic piping grades (e.g. PE100) and elastomers (e.g. nitrile) to these fuels. The compatibility will be evaluated by quantifying micro and macro-structural change to the various materials, including swelling, tensile strength change, delamination, as well as if the fuels permeate through the materials.

Options to prevent or limit these changes to the structure, such as coatings, fillers and pre-treatment is also being investigated. The outcomes inform pipeline manufacturers and operators on the limitations and compatibility of plastic piping when working with these future fuel components, as well as establish safe operating parameters and treatment protocols to improve compatibility performance.

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Commencement / End Date August 2019 to May 2023
Outcomes / Impact

Australian gas distribution industry benefits from the knowledge on the compatibility of gas and liquid fuels compositions with the existing and planned plastic piping network. One significant outcome of the project will be development or revision to industry standards for these plastic piping types and their elastomers. The facilities and procedures developed in this project will be available to industry end users for undertaking compatibility testing of material with various liquid and gas fuels, for their own decision making purposes.

Partners University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Jemena, AGIG, APA Group.
Research Contact

Douglas Proud

Research & Utilisation Program Coordinator