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PIBinside: Oppanol - A bandage against rust

Published on 2007-03-23. Author : SpecialChem

A bandage that can seal up a pipeline? With the BASF polyisobutene (PIB) product Oppanol®, this is not a dream but already reality. Over the past few years, the Dutch firm Stopaq Europe B.V., a BASF customer, has developed an adhesive band that employs Oppanol as the main constituent. This product protects pipelines from corrosion and hairline cracks. The Stopaq® Wrapping Band can reliably seal all defects, even the smallest ones, since the polymer makes the surface completely impermeable to water and gases.

"From the desert to the Arctic Sea, PIB remains flexible under any climatic conditions. For this reason, insulating tape made from Oppanol is suitable for the sheathing of pipelines on every continent," explains Dr. Erwin Czech, BASF Sales Manager for polyisobutene in Europe. Moreover, the polymer is nontoxic and so poses no risk to the employees who wrap the adhesive tape around the pipelines. "Normally, pipelines are sealed with an epoxy resin lacquer," continues Czech. "This lacquer raises health concerns, while at the same time, the solvents in the unprotected lacquer can simply evaporate in the heat of Saudi Arabia. Climatized tents therefore have to be set up over the pipelines when mending work is being carried out - this is unnecessary with the Stopaq Wrapping Band." In addition, grains of sand do not affect the function of this "patch," since Oppanol even adheres to extremely rough surfaces. Should the occasional leak in the pipeline system occur, the Oppanol self-healing effect is triggered automatically. The flow properties of Oppanol ensure that even the minutest of cracks is automatically closed up, and the pipe remains sealed. "The impetus for developing Stopaq Wrapping Band originally came from Shell," recalls Frits Doddema, the Stopaq export director. The petroleum company approached Stopaq founder Frans Nooren in 1996 and asked him whether there was any way in which Stopaq's sealing material could be used to prevent water seepage in cellars and protect pipelines from rusting. Nooren searched for a suitable material for this application and came up with Oppanol. In the meantime, Stopaq has gained customers throughout the world, primarily the Middle East. "In Saudi Arabia, we are actually the sole supplier of corrosion prevention solutions for all pipelines that run underwater - and that accounts for more than half of the entire pipeline network in the country," states Doddema proudly. Doddema sees the cooperation with BASF very positively. "Good cooperation is an essential factor in our success." With BASF as a solid partner, Stopaq intends to expand its future business activities still further toward Russia. "We are constantly pursuing the further development of our products and looking for possible new fields of application." "Stopaq has succeeded in combining the properties of a tried and tested material such as Oppanol in new ways to make it useful for innovative applications," says Czech. "The invention is a prime example of creativity."

BASF Performance Chemicals - always one idea ahead!

The product range of the BASF Business Unit Performance Chemicals for Automotive and Oil Industry includes engine coolants, brake fluids and other specialized fluids, mineral oil dyes and markers, refinery chemicals, diesel and gasoline additives, low molecular weight polyisobutene (Glissopal®) and medium and high molecular weight polyisobutene (Oppanol®). Our products are marketed worldwide.

BASF - The Chemical Company

BASF is the world's leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals to crude oil and natural gas. As a reliable partner to virtually all industries, BASF's high-value products and intelligent system solutions help its customers to be more successful. BASF develops new technologies and uses them to meet the challenges of the future and open up additional market opportunities. It combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility, thus contributing to a better future. BASF has over 95,000 employees and posted sales of €52.6 billion in 2006. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA), New York (BF) and Zurich (AN).

Source: BASF

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