When considering the arduous characteristics of the subsea environment, the use of engineering polymers are proven to greatly enhance the performance, efficiency, maintenance and health and safety of many applications from subsea pipelines and tiebacks through to Christmas trees, bend restrictors and buoyancy elements, to name but a few.
Often used in the development of new applications and technology, engineering polymers are also widely utilised to replace traditional engineering materials used within the industry, such as steel, iron and bronze.
The use of engineering polymers allows for highly advantages qualities including high dimensional stability in addition to being very lightweight, almost 1/7th the weight of steel. Engineering polymers are also highly resistant to wear and abrasion, in addition to having a high chemical and corrosion resistance, something which is very commonly found within the subsea environment. Furthermore, Engineering Polymers offer the quality of self lubrication and a very low co-efficient of friction, resulting in both smoother, longer running components and applications along with reduced or eliminated maintenance needs and costs.
Engineering polymers range in capabilities depending on loadings, bearings and operating temperatures, resulting in the need for material specification and selection advice to be a key attribute when it comes to engineering design and production of subsea equipment. In a region which still uses metals and traditional materials for many applications which can easily be outperformed by engineering polymers it is key to understand the capabilities and performance qualities of polymers or “Plastics” which can add and create high levels of value and innovation across the subsea environment.
Holistically understanding the full needs and requirements of the subsea application, coupled with in depth material selection is key to the enhancement in the performance of the subsea environment through the use of Engineering Polymers.