Alert to the resumption in the planning and execution of major infrastructure works linked to the federal government's economic stimulus package known as PAC2, Braskem, the largest petrochemical producer in the Americas and the world's leading biopolymer producer, has developed a new polyethylene with applications for pipes and water mains at its Technology and Innovation Center in Triunfo, Rio Grande do Sul. A total of 5 million euro (R$16 million) was invested in testing at the company's pilot plants and in adaptations to its industrial facilities to prepare them to start production of the new resin. The new system employed in the process increased the product's performance, with durability now calculated at 100 years for tubes under pressure, compared to 50 years for the previous resin.
The improvements in mechanical properties - creep (cold deformation under load), impact strength and rapid crack propagation - ensure that the new resin will meet all of the required standards in this segment (ISO, DIN, EN and NBR). "In addition to PAC2, the growing demand for this specific type of resin is also being driven by the federal government's program to promote universal access to basic sanitation, which seeks to improve public health conditions by reducing the country's deficit in water and sewerage services," explained Marcos Celestino, an application engineer at Braskem.
The resin's main uses include pipes for water and natural gas distribution networks, pipelines to transport ore slurry and oil, sewage networks and water mains. In addition to the water and sewerage utilities (Sabesp in the state of São Paulo, DMAE in Rio Grande do Sul and Copasa in Minas Gerais), the end-users of the materials include companies like Vale, Petrobras and Odebrecht. Braskem's main clients using the resin to make pipes are Tigre, FGS, Kanaflex, Majestic and Polierg.
New resin for pipes and water mains