Inspectioneering Journal

Carbon Nano-Tube Epoxy Filler Improves Engineered Composite Repair System Performance

Continuously improving a critical component of a composite repair system greatly improves the system’s performance and value to the industry

By Matthew Green, Global Technical Director at Neptune Research, Inc. This article appears in the January/February 2015 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


Engineered Composite Repair (ECR) systems are moving into mainstream usage at a faster pace than ever. This increased usage and exposure is working to push them into new frontiers and commands a more demanding understanding of their basic functions. A fully inspectable ECR system was recently developed for use in high temperature environments (up to 300ºF, or 149ºC, continuous operating temperature). As a result, a new filler epoxy material needed to be developed that would retain its toughness and durability in this high temperature environment. Because the existing materials simply did not meet the needs of the industry in many situations, one had to be developed.

The challenge was to develop a high quality filler material that would be a fit to the high temperature ECR system and complement usage, while at the same time, improving the overall properties of the material and the system as a whole. Filler material (typically an epoxy-based resin) plays a vital (and varied) role within an ECR system and affects the overall effectiveness of the final repair.  It serves to provide an effective load transfer medium from the host pipe (in the defect region) to the composite wrap, thereby reducing the effective strain in the thinned pipe. It should provide an effective seal in the event of a through-wall hole in the defect area, while also serving as a corrosion coating where applied directly to the pipe. In general terms, these results are not overly difficult to achieve with many materials, but when you add the robust requirements to perform these functions at continuous temperatures up to 300 ºF (149 ºC), and to be compatible/resistant to a host of aggressive chemicals and processing conditions, it is much more difficult to achieve.

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