Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Development of new flexible sub sea insulation systems from polymeric materials

At a glance

Funding body: Knowledge Transfer Partnership
Principal investigator: Martin Ansell
Co-investigator: Pete Walker
Researcher: Keyur Somani
Industry partners: Simon Shepherd, Pete Mellersh, Alderley Holdinhs Ltd
Dates: 2006-2008


The aim of the research is to improve the flexibility of syntactic phenolic foams (© Contratherm) for the sub sea insulation of oil pipelines at temperatures up to 160ºC and at pressures of up to 260 bar.

Numerous experimental routes have been pursued for the modification of the mechanical, thermal and environmental properties of syntactic foams. New, more flexible syntactic foam systems have been developed using several approaches to the chemical modification of the phenolic matrix. Syntactic foams have been developed with enhanced resistance to water uptake at high temperatures and pressures Contributions have been made to the design, development and evaluation of sub sea structures for the sub sea industry for pipeline thermal insulation. A number of prototype fire-resisting foams have been developed and evaluated under extreme conditions in fire tests.


Somani, K., Mellersh, P., Shepherd, S. and Ansell, M.P. (2006) "Effect of high temperature and high pressure on the water absorption and thermal conductivity of phenolic syntactic foam", Proceedings of American Society for Composites, 21st Annual Technical Conference, 17-20 September, The University of Michigan, Dearborn, MI, USA.