University of Arizona Professor Invents Lightweight Composites Infinite Pipeline

august 27 2012

Mo Ehsani, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the University of Arizona, has invented an infinite pipe that promises to bring down the costs of laying pipelines while reducing environmental damage. The new pipe, called InfinitiPipe, is of a lightweight plastic aerospace honeycomb under layers of resin-saturated carbon fiber fabric put together by a new fabricating process that allows pipes to be built in indefinite lengths on site.

Ehsani’s InfinitiPipe has moved the manufacturing process to the site itself. He had originally been working on a method to reinforce existing pipes using composite materials. This led to his creating a method for making composite pipes that involved wrapping layers of carbon fabric and plastic honeycomb around a mold called a mandrel. As the pipe was partially finished, it would be slipped down the mandrel while the next length was made.

Since the InfinitiPipe is made of lightweight materials, transportation costs are much cheaper than for concrete or steel. This makes on site manufacturing an economical proposition. Ehsani envisions a manufacturing unit installed inside of a truck where the pipe would be fabricated and the truck moving forward as the pipeline if fed out.

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