RP3.1-11: Thermite Welded Electrical Conductor to Gas Pipeline

Executive Summary

This project constitutes a state-of-the-art literature review to define the risks associated with the process of thermite/aluminothermic welding and investigates how the risk can be managed most efficiently. The aluminothermic welding is used to safely and effectively weld the electrical conductors to live gas transmission pipelines to facilitate cathodic protection and electrical earthing protection.  It is reasoned that the fast-cooling rates and the low operator skill required will allow this method of joining to be suitable for use on a gas pipeline that may be carrying flammable gases at wall stresses approaching the yield of the material. Currently limits to aluminothermic welding for cable connections are applied in Australian standards. The requirements of AS 2885 and (less importantly AS 3000) add project costs that may be unnecessary. The project also reviews the current practice and standards of other (international) jurisdictions.

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Commencement / End Date July 2021 to May 2022
Outcomes / Impact

The project provided a roadmap for the research and development of an efficient aluminothermic welding process commercially deployable for the gas pipeline industry. It spelled out the required next steps and an input into the standard setting process for an update recommendation for AS 2885.2.

Partners APA Group, Anode Engineering, QGC Shell, SEA Gas, Jemena, University of Queensland.
Research Contact

Douglas Proud

Research & Utilisation Program Coordinator