In some industries, piping is used for more than the transport of liquids. In particular, the mining and agricultural industries utilize piping systems to move product from point A to point B. In mining, coal, rock, gemstones and other minerals are often moved through steel or iron pipes. In the agricultural industry, processed corn and other grains may be run through a piping system into a silo.
The movement of solids presents a unique problem for the piping system. Millions of bits of jagged rock can take its toll on a metal pipe, regardless of the metal used. Continuous abrasion by the solid media can quickly erode metal pipe. This abrasion will lead to a shorter useful life of the pipes and require extended maintenance or replacement. The maintenance also necessarily leads to a shutdown of the transport system, leading to lower production.
Since most industrial piping systems are expensive and require numerous man hours to construct, a long term solution is required. Fortunately, some manufacturers carry a line of rubber lined pipes for abrasive materials. Rubber linings can be installed during the manufacturing process or in some cases retrofitted to an existing system. The preferred method of lining is through pressurized vulcanization of the rubber material. It is normally done by heating the rubber through steam pressure. This method has several advantages. First, the pressurized rubber provides a stronger bond to the metal. It also provides a tighter seal for the pipe. Secondly, vulcanization strengthens the rubber at the molecular level. Through vulcanization with sulfur atoms, the process cross-links rubber molecules in a three dimensional manner. This adds to the strength and elasticity of the rubber lining material.
Utilizing rubber lined pipes can also be an efficient solution for liquids. A rubber lining can act as an anti-corrosive safeguard for metal pipes. The rubber lining keeps liquids from contacting the metal of the pipe. In addition, the sealing property of the rubber prevents oxidation of the metal inner walls of the piping. Depending on the liquid to be processed through the piping, it is always best to consult with the lining fabricator to determine the best choice of sealant to be used.