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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Heat Shrink Sleeves for Cold Weather?

Question:  Can Covalence heat shrink sleeves be installed on pipelines 
that will ultimately be in cold environments?

Answer: Absolutely.  A simple example of this could be seen here
Raychem originally got their first large scale pipeline project with the
Trans Alaskan Pipeline.  Those sleeves have been in service for more than 40 years 
now and they have certainly seen a lot of snow and a lot of cold temperatures.

When installing a product in cold temperatures; one of the main points of evaluation
is going to be 'low temperature flexibility'.  The question with ltf is:  how does the backing
and the adhesive perform, when bent at an extreme angle; at extremely low temperatures?

There could be cases (as an example) where a backing might crack or an adhesive might shatter
when exposed to extremely low temperatures and bent.  For the most part, however; this 
really only applies to 'installation' temperatures.  Once a shrink sleeve is installed, it will no
longer be able to bend in extreme ways (though pipe movement does occur; it doesn't 
occur in the same manner or to the same degree as a low temp flex test would require).  

So as one example, WPC100M passed the low temperature flexibility test at -50C (-58F). 
That is pretty stinking cold.

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