How to choose reinforced pipes?
17.09.2015 00:00

In today’s article, we will discuss reinforced polypropylene pipes and will try to find out which kind of pipes is the best.


First, let us find out what reinforced pipes are.


Reinforcement is a method of increasing the ability of the bearing structure with material that has higher strengths properties as of the main product material. 


In a simple word, it is a bulletproof vest put between the layers of polypropylene. Such a vest will not let the pipe to deform, to sag in winter during colds, to expand from heat or to swell up like a balloon because of inner pressure excess.


This kind of pipes is universal: it suits both hot and cold water and it is frost-resistant. There is no risk of explosion of this pipe because reinforced pipes will just melt down by the moment they reach 175 C, wherein their working temperature is only 95 C.


Main advantages of reinforced pipes:


-     Reinforcement forms rigid frame and does not let the pipe lengthen and grow in thickness.

-     When the pipe is heated until the softening point at high overpressure from within, a reinforced pipe does not deform due to the frame.

-     Unlike other pipes, reinforced pipe will not swell up and explode.


In the market, you can also find available such types of reinforced pipes, such as reinforced with fiberglass and reinforced with aluminum foil. Nevertheless, which one to choose? Let us find it out.


In the pipes reinforced with aluminum, the placement of a reinforcement layer can be different, for example, it can be an outside shell for polypropylene, or hide between polypropylene layers. In this case, the main advantage of fiber is that all layers of pipe (as a rule, there are three of them) become a monolith. Explanation: layers of aluminum foil are joined with polypropylene glue, and the quality of such pipe depends on glue compound, polypropylene’s ingredients and the thickness of foil – that is why it is hard to guarantee strength of the pipe, especially considering high risk of stratification of foil and polypropylene.


The pipe that is reinforced with fiber has totally different construction: inside and outside of such pipe there is polypropylene and in the center there is fiberglass. At the same time, middle layer is welded with inner and outer ones, because it contains same material pre-mixed with fiberglass. Two in one: polypropylene sticks fiber together, and it doesn’t let it deform, increasing rigidity of pipe. So it is worth considering this pipe as much more lasting than a pipe with aluminum reinforcement.


Stratification of an aluminum multilayer pipe results from high impact of the water on the pipe from inside, because aluminum foil pipes can be welded only by outer layer.


There are some other reasons you should be considering while choosing pipes.


For example, the expansion of fiber pipes is 10 times less as of foil pipes and is hardly visible to a human eye.  Furthermore, pipes reinforced with aluminum layer require prior use of cleaner and shaver, and this is why the quality of compounds can decrease heavily. 


When welding a foil reinforced pipe to a fitting, remember you are welding only the outer layer, which means the half of the pipe thickness. Another weakness of foil pipe is the requirement of a nozzle on the welding machine.


So, everything is clear with the aluminum reinforcement: it should be cleaned before installation and has a high predisposition to stratification. But what about pipe that is reinforced with fiberglass? Does it really have not any cons?


Actually, it has not any. Disadvantages of polypropylene pipes reinforced with fiberglass are almost all farfetched. Today, there are no any persuasive arguments against fiber reinforcement. So, the pipes that are reinforced with fiberglass can rightly be called a lasting type of reinforced polypropylene pipe.