The need from the Oil & Gas Industry
Unlike crude oil tankers, and for obvious practical and economic reasons, FPSOs cannot put production on hold and head ashore for regular dry docking services; hence the oil & gas industry’s growing interest in cold repairs, such as bonded composite reinforcements.
These have been widely used for decades in the aerospace industry on metallic aircraft, which means that the offshore oil industry can draw on more than 40 years of the highest standards, extensive experience and cutting-edge professional skills in product design, development and testing.
However, one of the main obstacles to the full development of this advantageous technology for offshore application remains the marine environment. When an aircraft undergoes bonded composite repair, usually performed indoors, the temperature and humidity are kept well inside the restricted range with the use of conventional heating or air conditioning.
Control of the atmospheric parameters has a direct influence on the final mechanical performances. Offshore, on the other hand, where humidity is usually close to saturation, there are no means of controlling the standard environmental parameters, and design performances are therefore difficult to guarantee.
Moisture (water) degradation is probably the major single cause of in-service failure in bonded structures and has a drastic effect on the bonded composite reinforcement.
Degradation due to aging in the presence of water can appear sometimes after just a few days and is characterized by a drop in the bonding performance of the polymer, most particularly at the polymer/substrate interface.
Although bonded composite reinforcements provide a real alternative to conventional « hot » structural repairs, they remain vulnerable to the humidity inherent to the offshore environment.
ColdShield is designed to remain impervious to marine conditions, especially during the two critical phases of installation and servicing. In addition, the prequalified installation procedure has been turned into an industrial process intended to be faithfully reproduced on site for reliable and repeatable performances.