Corrosion at pipe supports is one of the leading causes of process piping failures, which can have potentially catastrophic results (see related news). All styles of pipe supports, including beam supports and pipe saddles, create crevices where water is trapped and held in constant contact with the pipe surface. Once corrosion is initiated in these pockets, it can quickly undercut the paint film and cause rapid wall loss as it moves away from the crevice. If these conditions are not addressed, entire sections of pipe can fail and require replacement.
Deepwater developed the I-Rod pipe-support system specifically to combat crevice corrosion and ensure longer, safer lives for pipelines by eliminating crevices between pipes and supports.
I-Rod brand pipe supports have been in service since 1989; that same year, I-Rod was first specified by name for a new structure. Since then, I-Rod has been specified by all major operators in the Gulf of Mexico and a rapidly growing number of others worldwide. The I-Rod pipe support family now includes several varieties of the original product. All still utilize the original I-Rod thermoplastic, which has excellent compressive strength and a high melting point which makes it superior to other materials for this application. Many other materials have been used in an attempt to copy or improve upon I-Rod, but none has achieved the success of the original.
The Nu-Bolt assembly is our most popular I-Rod product, which provides corrosion protection at I-beam supports; the newest addition is the I-Clip, which clips onto new and existing saddle-clamp-style supports and grinnell clamps. Half-round I-Rod is available in 5-foot or 10-foot lengths or pre-cut-and-drilled for any standard pipe U-bolt.
Frequently asked questions
Q: “What is the difference between an I-Rod pipe support and a Nu-Bolt?”
A: I-Rod thermoplastic is the white, half-round rod we use for all types of pipe support, which is why we call the brand I-Rod. A Nu-Bolt assembly is simply one form of an I-Rod pipe support. The Nu-Bolt is comprised of one piece of pre-cut I-Rod fitted on a coated U-bolt with four nuts.
Q: “Is I-Rod made of Teflon??”
A: No. I-Rod is a high-impact thermoplastic material. Teflon and Delrin are commonly used in an attempt to copy I-Rod, but both fail, causing potentially dangerous pipe corrosion. Teflon specifically does not function due to lack of compressive strength. To view examples of I-Rod imitations made of Teflon which have failed in the field, visit the Press Release section.
Q: “Is the material on a Nu-Bolt neoprene?”
A: No. It is a cross-linked, heat-shrinkable polyolefin material. Neoprene would have to be vulcanized to stick to the U-Bolt; as a result, it would deform too much, causing problems with moisture retention. The purpose of the heat-shrink is to minimize damage to the pipe coating during installation.
Q: “What is the maximum operating temperature that I-Rod can withstand and still operate effectively?”
A: Normally, at temperatures above 90°C (194°F), crevice corrosion is not a problem because the water simply evaporates; therefore, that’s our upper recommended continuous service temperature. However, the material can be used where temperatures rise to 120°C (250°F) for short durations (under 24 hours, as when used with flare stacks), but may experience some slight deformation at the contact area. There is a high-temperature version of I-Rod available for extreme heat; please contact us if you have questions about this HT material. Click here to view the full specifications on I-Rod.
Q: “Does the I-Rod create a stress raising point on the pipe?”
A: No, not if the piping is correctly supported along its length. If there is noticeable sagging between support points, then the pipe is being overstressed and inadequately supported. Note: I-Rod has been used on hundreds of thousands of pipe supports for over 20 years, and we have never seen a problem.
Q: “How do I know I’m buying I-Rod and not some inferior copy?”
A: Every shipment of I-Rod is traceable and is sent with a certificate of authenticity. I-Rod is marked with distinct batch numbers.
Q: “How can I secure the I-Rod to the beam? Is there an epoxy glue I can use?”
A: Our double-sided tape usually works well for initial fastening. Otherwise, it should be mechanically fastened to the beam. We do not recommend any type of adhesive or sealant.
Q: “What is an I-Rod clip?”
A: Crevice corrosion at more substantial weight-bearing supports is a similarly serious problem, but with a completely different solution. I-Rod clip is a new product used to line saddle-clamp-style supports and Grinnell clamps. It is made of the same thermoplastic material (I-Rod), but shaped into a clip that can fit any radius. It is available in sizes to fit standard Grinnell clamps and pipe cradles. It can also be custom-sized or pre-installed.
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