Thermoset Composites in Cryogenic Applications
With specially formulated materials, Norplex-Micarta supports the LNG industry with several cryogenic materials. The most important of these is NP500CR which is preferred when the needs for superior thermal insulation and structural support converge with cryogenic temperatures. Because of its low moisture absorption, NP500CR performs at specific temperatures, and also when repeatedly cycling between low and high temperatures— properties not available with densified wood products, foam, thermoplastic or other alternatives. NP500CR is widely used in the LNG industry for pipe and storage applications (both stationary, over-the-road tanks, and shipboard bunkering) as well as insulator blocks for ladders, walkways and scaffolding where dangerous icing can occur. Furthermore, this material is used in engine rooms of LNG-powered ships.
Thermoset Composites as Gasket Material
Gaskets isolate one section of a pipeline from another, protecting them from cathodic corrosion caused when two pieces of metal contact each other. For high and low-temperature applications, a disk of Norplex-Micarta composite material is placed between the two flanges of connecting pipeline sections, separating
the metal when sections are bolted together. Norplex-Micarta gasket material is also used in high-temperature steam applications. Utilizing a unique processing
technique that combines glass cloth reinforcements and epoxy, the resulting thermoset composite has a tight molecular structure that functions well in acidic
and high-temperature environments. The tough, non-brittle material has a Tg of 210°C and provides excellent mechanical strength, while maintaining inherent
dielectrically insulating values. Tubing material and composite washers are also used to completely insulate flange connecting bolts.
During installation for pipeline and steam applications, gaskets, tubes and washers must withstand compressive forces as high as 5,000 psi as the sections
are sealed together. Shear force is an ongoing factor, as the metal components expand and contract with temperature changes. Gaskets fabricated from Norplex-Micarta materials can range in size from 0.25″ to 16′ in inside diameter, and 0.01″ to 0.25″ thick. Thermoset materials can also be designed to resist moisture or chemicals for long life in corrosive or wet environments or where galvanic concerns need attention.