As a building material, electrical conduit is used in a wide range of applications across industrial construction, from bridges and data centers to utilities and wastewater treatment plants, where it serves to organize and protect cables and wires in raceways. Conduit provides mechanical protection, and caustic environments demand corrosion protection through chemical resistance.
In the US, close to 15,000 wastewater treatment plants provide the critical infrastructure required to maintain public health. With extreme chemicals and unrelenting temperatures, it’s a damp and caustic environment with maintenance and construction that demands durable materials.
If electrical conduit does not provide ample chemical resistance, it fails to provide corrosion protection, leaving the conduit, wire and cable subject to compromise. Subsequently, a compromised conduit and cable system has the potential to impact municipal water supplies.
What is Chemical Resistance?
Chemical resistance is the ability of a material to resist the destructive properties of harsh compounds without degrading. In industrial construction, there’s exposure to thousands of chemical compounds, and some of the more common include saltwater, petrochemicals and bleach. Think of chemical resistance as strength to resist a chemical attack. Simply put, electrical conduit chemical resistance equals corrosion protection.
Why does epoxy chemical resistance matter?
Engineers and contractors have a wide array of electrical conduit materials to select from for industrial projects. Depending on the project needs, conduit types to choose from include galvanized rigid steel (GRC), PVC SCH 40, PVC SCH 80, PVC-coated steel, aluminum conduit and epoxy fiberglass conduit.
While PVC electrical conduit is often the choice for corrosive environments, fiberglass conduit provides similar chemical protection. Plus, it is not subject to the current PVC shortage. Fiberglass electrical conduit is available now with shorter lead times and competitive pricing.
Fiberglass conduit is a wise choice for harsh, challenging environments because of its epoxy chemical resistance. This is due in part to its unique fabrication processes.
Fiberglass conduit is created by tension-winding strands of fiberglass over a rotating mandrel. The strands are laid in a precise pattern and impregnated with epoxy resin as they are wound onto a straight mandrel. They are then cured under high temperature, creating a conduit product with flexural strength that also resists chemicals and corrosion. This process ensures that fiberglass conduit comprised of epoxy resin is much more corrosion resistant than PVC conduit and polyester and vinyl ester resins.