Research on composite materials for offshore applications

Research on composite materials for offshore applications

Status: Complete



  • Liam McGurdy
  • Michael Mason
  • Anjali Gayathri Konara
  • Kit Strickland

Project Description

Steel members in offshore facilities are susceptible to corrosion and for aged facilities this process could eventually lead to non-compliant members or joints against existing codes. A possible solution for this problem is strengthening the non-compliant components by wrapping Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRP) around the external surface of the corroded members or joints. A potential question about this technology is whether it is effective in marine or subsea conditions. In the study, a total of 60 tubular steel members were wrapped with FRP in air or underwater. Later these were tested in the Structural Laboratory at UWA under different types of loading scenarios to understand and compare the performance of such repairs in different conditions. Loading of the specimens included concentric and eccentric axial compression as well as four-point bending. The test results revealed that the underwater repair performed equivalent to the conventional in air repair. Promising results from this study are encouraging future research on composite materials for offshore applications.

More than 90 specimens (tubular sections, I sections and plates) wrapped with fibre reinforce polymers in air or in water have been tested in our two RiverLab projects so far. Results of our experimental and numerical studies show that fibre reinforced polymers can be used efficiently for strengthening and repair of corroded or damaged structural members in offshore facilities. UWA and ICR.IAS JV hosted a workshop in Feb 2020 in UWA with more than 70 attendees Australia-wide from oil and gas operators, engineering firms, inspection companies and research organisations and the project results were discussed in detail. Oil and gas operators are interested in  different aspects of the project and UWA is now working on a comprehensive test plan as an industry-funded project for strengthening and repair of one of the existing offshore facilities.  

Figure 1. Underwater repair being carried out in a tank of water collected from Swan River

Figure 2. Bending structural test

Figure 3. Axial specimen after test

Figure 4.  I-beam repaired with SRS