Abrasive wear within the slurry piping systems occurs when hard particles are forced against, or slide along, the pipeline wall, causing continuous shearing and cutting that leads to loss of wall thickness.

In harsher conditions, steel slurry pipes also need to be turned over at least every two months because pipes abrade more on one side than the other. In more extreme cases, these effects cause leaks, resulting in significant maintenance costs and downtime for pipe replacement.

The effect of these issues can be dramatically reduced with the use of properly engineered abrasion-resistant GRP piping.
Pipelines handling high levels of suspended solids, irrespective of the material of construction, present engineers with a challenge. Abrasion and clogging due to sedimentation are the most common of these.

IWC CEO Roger Rush said: "Abrasion-resistant GRP has a smooth inner surface and low roughness coefficient and this allows for higher pipeline flow velocities.

"The higher flow velocities ensure solids remain in suspension thereby preventing abrasion and clogging caused by sedimentation. GRP pipes also have low head losses reducing costs on energy required for pumping slurry.

"Furthermore GRP pipe can be designed to withstand abrasion that can occur externally for example piping used inside of flue gas desulphurisation plants."

GRP pipes are not just strong they are also lightweight. The weight of the pipe depends on the type of pipe chosen for the specific application, but they are generally about 1/8th the weight of steel, making them easier to transport and install.

GRP pipes are multi-faceted and therefore can be used to transport coal, copper, iron, and phosphate concentrates and can also to transport mine tailings. The pipes can be customised to handle different abrasive materials (settling and non-settling slurries), temperatures and chemical attacks ensuring the integrity and longevity of the pipelines.

"It is also possible to construct GRP pipes with a thermoplastic or fluoroplastic internal layer, using materials such as polypropylene, HDPE, PVC, PVDF, PFA or ECTFE," Rush added.

"These pipes are structurally and mechanically identical to those of pure GRP pipes, but are able to withstand extreme abrasive environments.