Water pipes are typically made of polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PET) with the addition of inorganic fillers such as calcium carbonate (CaCO3). With this process, the pipes have the necessary stiffness, but have disadvantages such as high density and, above all, deficient properties at the level of the flexion module. When buried, the pipes end up ovalising with the weight of the soil or even suffering from material rupture.
One way to achieve better mechanical properties in terms of flexion, but maintaining the necessary rigidity, would be to introduce polyethylene terephthalate (PET) to replace calcium carbonate. Thus, we seek to develop a material composed of PP and PET with the appropriate characteristics for the manufacture of water pipes. Such process is not industrialized, and it regarded as a novelty for this project. Not only is the material being developed on a laboratory and pilot scale, but the process is further developed until proof of concept in industrial injection and extrusion processes. For the creation of this material, it is necessary to develop suitable compatibilizers to overcome polymers natural immiscibility. This will be one of this project’s main tasks, along with the processing studies of PP-PET mixtures.
An additional advantage of introducing PET is that it can be introduced in the recycled PET formulation, which makes the project more attractive from an environmental and economic point of view.