Corrosion at Pipe Supports: Causes and Solutions
by James N. Britton (2002)
Corrosion at pipe supports is one of the leading causes of topside process piping failure. This paper will discuss the various corrosion mechanisms that occur at pipe supports if they are not adequately protected. I-Rod, a proven method of prevention with a long record of successful application will be presented. This paper also discusses inspection strategies for pipe supports and provides a simplified visual screening method that has proved useful in mechanical integrity programs.
The writer's company is engaged in the inspection of offshore oil and gas facilities in the Gulf of Mexico as well as other international production areas. A major part of those inspections is the integrity of topside process systems, piping, and associated vessels and tanks. There is no doubt that statistically, corrosion at pipe supports is the most common cause of external piping corrosion failure. It is for this reason that the writer's company developed the solution most widely employed in the Gulf of Mexico to eliminate this problem (I-Rod® brand pipe supports).
Types of pipe supports
1. Standard beam support:
The pipe is rested on, or secured to, a support member usually of a standard structural shape (I-beam, wide flange beam, angle, channel, etc.). The pipe may be secured to this member with a stabilizing U-bolt (Figures 1 and 2 below).