LAS VEGAS — Lubrizol Corp. has found new applications for its chlorinated PVC products, pushing its multilayer bendable pipes for water-service lines and its fire sprinkler systems in retrofit applications.
Lubrizol's Flowguard bendable pipes can be run like the coiled copper pipe typically used in water service lines, but the CVPC pipes have several advantages over their metal counterparts, said Mark Lemire, a piping system consultant at Lubrizol's TempRite Engineered Polymers business.
Copper pipes can break down during use, damage easily, and can kink, Lemire said in an interview at the International Builders Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Las Vegas.
The bendable, three-layer pipes — made of aluminum surrounded by CPVC — have great impact resistance and flexibility and can be bent without breaking, he said.
The company's Blazemaster fire sprinkler system is another example of using plastic in an area typically cornered by metal.
"We're much better off than steel in fire sprinklers because of our ability to offer owner-occupancy advantages," said Gary Johnson, fire protection business manager for TempRite.
Typically, when an apartment building or hotel needs a new sprinkler system, the owner will have to close entire sections at a time because running steel pipes requires cutting huge holes in the walls, he said.
When working with CPVC pipes, construction can be done room-by-room; the pipes can bend and the project requires less repair work, he said.
"It's very light, very clean … you can keep it all in one room and the owner can continue to rent that floor," he added.
That allows building owners to save money. "It's a huge benefit," he said.
Metal is continuing to lose market share to CPVC products, but using the material in construction projects requires builders to avoid chemical incompatibility, Lemire said.
Lubrizol promotes a compatibility program as a way to ensure that engineers, architects and everyone else involved in the building project know what materials they can use, he said.
Builders can use the program to check the compatibility of complementary products, like leak detectors and thread sealants, with Lubrizol CPVC products. Complementary products also carry a logo so they can be easily identified.
"This protects people. We don't want any premature failures," Lemire said.
The company launched a Lubrizol CVPC iPad app at the show that includes a compatible product finder tool, as well as information about the firm's products.