Thin Walled Corrosion Resistant Steel (CRES) Pipe Proactive Joint Reinforcement
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-042
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam -
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-042 TITLE: Thin Walled Corrosion Resistant Steel (CRES) Pipe Proactive Joint Reinforcement

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Materials/Processes

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMS 312, In-Service Aircraft Carrier Program Office and PMS 378/379, Future

OBJECTIVE: The objective is to develop an innovative technology that prevents leakage in a thin walled CRES welded joints within Jet Propulsion Grade JP-5 fuel lines by proactively reinforcing the joints before they leak.

DESCRIPTION: Thin walled CRES 316L pipe (ref. 1) has been used in JP-5 fuel systems (ref. 2). The pipe joint design uses a belled end fitting creating an inherent crevice. The thinness of these pipes may lead to poor weld quality at the pipe joints which could cause additional crevices within the pipe joint. Crevices create areas for corrosion to form and may eventually result in leakage at the weld joints. Thin walled CRES pipe is currently on other ships in the Fleet and there is a need to create an easily applied method to proactively reinforce the welded joints to preclude any leak that may result from possible crevice corrosion without causing further damage to the pipe. In many instances, there is often limited access space surrounding the pipe joint.

Pipe joint leakage failures were identified on CVN 77 within the first three years of service. The JP-5 fuel system installed on CVN 77 and planned for all FORD Class Carriers have over 28,000 welded joints per ship. Unpredictable failures are expected to occur. A proactive approach to reinforce the thin walled CRES pipe joint at the weld will prevent leaks from occurring..

Any material and technique developed must be safe for use in fuel piping and applicable to pipe sizes ranging from 2 to 12 inches. Joint types include couplings, tees and elbows, which may be made using sockets or belled end fittings. The joint reinforcement for the intended pipe system must be able to withstand internal pressures up to 190 psi and tolerate contact with JP-5 fuel without contaminating the fuel or weakening the reinforcement. In addition, many pipe joints are located in confined spaces on the ship, which may pose a challenge for installation of a reinforcement method. The targeted goal for life expectancy of the joint reinforcement is the life of the ship (50 years) with a threshold life expectancy of 25 years. Currently, there is no product known to the Navy available to meet this need.

The thin walled CRES pipe proactive reinforcement shall achieve the competing objectives of providing a cost effective leak preventive solution, efficient application and installation methods, and lower maintenance cost ($15k objective and $20k threshold total costs per joint for a 3" pipe when replacing multiple joints). This topic is not intended to require a repair concept to stop an existing leak, but rather to reinforce a weakened pipe joint. While it is desirable for this joint reinforcement concept to be applied while the ship is underway, it is not required.

Epoxy resin patches and welding options are already available to repair defective pipe joints and provide pipe reinforcement. A variety of damage control for fuel lines related leak repairs exist. However, the damage control related repairs are expensive and generally do not provide a permanent repair (ref. 3). Composite materials could be used for this pipe repair application (ref. 4). The bulk of research into this area is directed at large pipe repair for the petroleum or construction industry where metal sleeves are an option (ref. 5). Although this type of sleeve may not be an option for this application, the related research may be helpful. Another potential area to investigate is metal deposition which can be applied similarly to welding (ref. 6) or applied with high pressure gas (ref. 7 and 8).

PHASE I: The company will develop a concept for an inexpensive and easily applied thin walled CRES pipe proactive joint reinforcement that can withstand pipe pressure up to 190 psi and tolerate contact with JP-5 fuel. The concept should demonstrate how the reinforcement could be applied with limited access to the pipe joint. The concept should also present reasonable cost estimates for the reinforcing technique to prevent leakage. Feasibility will be established by material testing and/or analytical analysis/modeling.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II contract statement of work, the small business will develop a prototype for evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals identified in the Phase II work plan and the Navy requirements for the thin walled CRES pipe proactive joint reinforcement. Reinforcement performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation, modeling and/or analytical methods over the required range of parameters including numerous deployment cycles/simulated longevity tests. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into a design that will meet Navy requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology for Navy use.

PHASE III: The company will be expected to support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use. The company will develop a thin walled CRES pipe proactive joint reinforcement according to the Phase III development plan for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. The company will support the Navy for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Navy use.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: If successfully demonstrated, there may be a commercial market for this thin walled pipe joint reinforcement in any industry that employs thin walled CRES piping, such as petroleum production or distribution.

1. "Pipe and Tubing, Carbon, Alloy, and Stainless Steel, Seamless and Welded, Military Specification Mil-P-24691 Grade 316L", 23 September 1987,

2. "Turbine Fuel, Aviation Grades JP-4 and JP-5, Military Specification Mil-DTL-5624U", 18 September 1998,

3. Rick Carlton, "Types of Navy Patches for Damaged Pipes",,

4. Chris Alexander and Bob Francini, "Assessment of Composite Systems Used To Repair Transmission Pipelines", International Pipeline Conference, September 25-29, 2006.

5. Bill Bruce and Bill Amend, "Advantages of Steel Sleeves over Composite Materials for Pipeline Repair", Pipelines International, June 2011

6. Matt Boring and Randy Dull, "In-Service Weld Metal Deposition", Edison Welding Institute, 2012,,d.dmg

7. D. D. Hass, J. F. Groves and H. N. G. Wadley, "Reactive vapor deposition of metal oxide coatings", University of Virginia, Surface and Coatings Technology,

8. Metal Deposition, Georgia Institute of Technology,

KEYWORDS: Thin Walled CRES; Reinforce the welded joints; Welded pipe joints; Leakage across pipe joints; Pipe reinforcement; Damage control for JP-5 fuel piping; JP-5 fuel

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