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Stainless steel repair sleeves

29/05/2018

Repair sleeves are found within the tool box of virtually every water utility. They are a quick and cost-effective way to repair leaking water pipes without replacing them. Often fabricated from molybdenum-grade stainless steels, they reduce water wastage and are yet another way in which molybdenum helps to sustain the earth’s resources.



Repair sleeves are found within the tool box of virtually every water utility. They are a quick and cost-effective way to repair leaking water pipes without replacing them. Often fabricated from molybdenum-grade stainless steels, they reduce water wastage and are yet another way in which molybdenum helps to sustain the earth’s resources.

Water is an increasingly precious commodity and the leakage of treated water from underground pipes is all too common a problem facing utility companies everywhere. Most companies have programs to replace leaking pipes but conditions in the ground can mean that some sections require replacement after as little as 25 years.

Older systems are much more prone to leakage – for example, about 35% of the water pumped to customers in Washington, DC, never reaches them. In fact, it is estimated that in the US alone, some 21,000 kilometres of pipe need to be repaired or replaced every year.

When a leak occurs, it is often easier and much more cost-effective to repair the pipe rather than attempt to replace the failed section. Stainless steel has long played an important role in repairing leaking pipes, in the form of a ‘collar’ fastened around the pipe in the same way as one would apply a bandage to a finger.

A Type 304 or Type 316 stainless steel band is fastened on top of a rubber gasket which surrounds the leaking section. Tightening the clamp applies more sealing pressure to the outside than the water is exerting from the inside, and the leak stops.

Almost always made from stainless steel, the sleeves are specified in molybdenum-containing Type 316 stainless steel in areas where corrosion from the surrounding soil is a concern. Manufacturers have recently begun offering sleeves in molybdenum-containing 2205 duplex stainless steel, as it is even stronger and more resistant to stress corrosion cracking. High strength is important due to the tightening pressure exerted to stop the leak.

You can read more about molybdenum’s role in water pipe repair sleeves in MolyReview, in which we showcase some of the most interesting and amazing uses of molybdenum. This post is adapted from the full article, to jump straight to it, click here.

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