The project is to develop a reliable, cost effective and easily operable mechanical coupling for pressurised water supply pipes. A conceptual design has been patented and will be developed through materials technology, computer modelling and simulation, finite element analysis, testing and rapid prototyping engineering techniques. The coupling will be made from advanced polymer materials and be suitable for use with a range of plastic pipe materials, including PVC, PP, PE, GRP. There is technical risk in producing a viable prototype economically and in identifying appropriate materials having the right properties. Under an Exploratory Award the prime proposer has undertaken a Research Feasibility Study to confirm the viability of the design and its extrapolation to a range o f sizes. An Economic Impact Assessment has been carried out to determine the perceived industrial benefits, competitor systems and the relative prices.
The proposers consider that the coupling could be produced at a price competitive wit h existing systems and thus present an economically viable product. The couplings g fulfils a recognised industrial and environmental need for a jointing system that does not leak and is suitable for pressurised pipelines. Water leakage is a major problem throughout Europe, particularly in areas of low rainfall. Increasing pressure, through growing environmental concern and rising costs, is being brought to bear on the water industry to address the technical problems. The estimated market size is in excess of 6 million couplings per year, priced at E CU 28 minimum. The coupling is innovative in providing a leak free method of sealing pipes, with minimal excavation, operator skill and no specialist equipment required on site. The core group of SMEs represent a supply chain based consortium, who all have an interest in exploiting the results of the project.
Funding SchemeCRS - Cooperative research contracts
S63 9BL Doncaster
S1 1WB Sheffield
DN12 4JL Denaby Main