Victaulic is known for engineering confidence with its reliable grooved piping solutions. What may not be common knowledge is Victaulic couplings are capable of withstanding direct fire exposure to temperatures equivalent to that of molten lava. Catsy Lam, Material Sciences Technical Leader, develops and tests the fire-resistant gasket materials for Victaulic pipe-joining solutions used worldwide. These solutions undergo rigorous validation tests conducted by national and international certifying agencies to ensure they meet specific fire exposure standards.
“I think there is no better way to convince any consulting engineers than providing technical test data and field data with detail explanation on the product design,” says Catsy, when asked why fire protection engineers have confidence in Victaulic solutions. “I address their questions or concerns with historical test data (if any) or new design of experiments.”
One of Catsy’s recent innovations included a fire-resistant gasket material for Maritime and Oil & Gas markets. “The custom formulated nitrile gasket material, otherwise known as the ‘heart of the joint,’ is compatible with flammable liquids that are commonly used in pipelines,” says Catsy. “It is capable of ensuring the highest degree of sealing during 1200-1400°F fire for 30 minutes without affecting joint integrity. The gasket is DNV and LR approved and it also meets API (American Petroleum Institute) 607 requirements.”
Key factors that determine the gasket’s resistance to extreme heat are:
- The compound formulation and manufacturing process
- The gasket material properties and the gasket design
These characteristics help achieve gasket integrity under extreme heat conditions. The gasket has very limited decomposition. It doesn’t break down inside the housings, it’s physical property changes are minimal, and it continues to provide leak-tight performance.
Victaulic gasket compounds are engineered to provide a unique balance between thermal resistance and pressure responsiveness—maintaining the highest degree of sealing performance at the maximum temperature limits. No matter the application of the solution, direct exposure to short term fire does not hinder the performance of these products. But even before a gasket is exposed to fire or extreme temperatures, it’s shielded by the coupling’s housings. Capable of withstanding direct fire exposure to temperatures more than 1400° F, coupling housings experience no adverse effects to structural or metallurgical features.
In 2017, Catsy co-authored a white paper “Performance Capabilities of Victaulic Mechanical Grooved Pipe Joints Under Extreme Fire Conditions,” highlighting Victaulic’s investment in research and development of new products, as well as materials and manufacturing processes to provide reliable, fire-resistant solutions. Customers have continued confidence in Victaulic couplings, from their gaskets to their housings, knowing they are engineered and manufactured with safety, reliability and durability in mind.
“The pipe joining industry is getting more and more competitive, with ever-changing process variables in different piping applications around the world,” says Catsy, a 13-year piping industry veteran. “Something that works today doesn’t mean that it will work effectively in the near future. New ideas will quickly become old ideas if there is not constant improvement and innovation. Remaining externally focused to understand customer needs will be helpful in this evolving environment.”
For more information, go to www.victaulic.com