Stainless Steel Piping
Safe, reliable, durable and environmentally friendly
To accommodate the enormous increase of clean water demand in urban cities, the distribution network has to be highly safe, reliable, durable, and environmentally friendly. Current pipe networks mainly consist of plastic (such as PPR and PVC), galvanized, and copper pipe, however, these materials don’t meet the standards of drinking water transmission. In some developed countries, stainless steel had been widely accepted as the best material for such application. Germany and Japan, for instance, have 80% and 90% of their water pipe networks using stainless steel, respectively, while the percentage in China is around 3%.
Advantages Over Other Materials
The popular acceptance of stainless steel is due to the following advantages over other materials:
Stainless steel pipe’s strength is 1.5 times higher than galvanized pipe, 2-3 times higher than copper pipe and 8-10 times higher than PPR pipe. Strength is an important factor and determines how shock resistant the pipe is.
Stainless steel pipe is highly corrosion resistant. Even under high-velocity water flow of 60m/s, stainless steel’s corrosion rate is below 0.003mm/year. This ensures stainless steel has more than 70 years of service life. As a comparison, other materials can only be used for 10-20 years.
Low water resistance
Due to the smoothness of the inner pipe wall, stainless steel has a 40% lower water resistance than that of carbon and copper pipe. Low water resistance reduces scale and bacterial deposits on the inner pipe wall, improving overall water quality and also reduces the amount of electricity consumed by pump stations by half, provided that all downstream pipes are stainless steel.
Low Leakage Rate
Benefitting from its high strength and anti-corrosion features, stainless steel pipes and fittings have extremely low leakage rates. According to Best Practice: Water Leakage Prevention Controls published by New York City*, replacing current pipe networks with stainless steel components is a major priority to prevent water leakage, which can cause water waste, secondary disasters such as poor water flow, road collapse, and flooding of buildings and inundation. Tokyo, an example used in the Best Practice document, decreased its leakage rate from 20% in 1956 to 3% in 2010, mostly attributed to the usage of stainless steel pipes in its network.
Stainless steel is 100% recyclable, while plastic pipe can only be landfilled or incinerated, both causing pollution to the environment.