Tucson-based QuakeWrap Inc. is taking part in national research funding for small businesses developing innovative technologies that solve key environmental issues.
An infrastructure innovation coming out of the research labs of Arizona-based QuakeWrap, Inc., and promising to help solve a major problem in city drinking water systems, has received federal funding from the research arm of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).
The proposal, “Trenchless Water Main Point Repairs with SuperLaminate,” will explore the use of specialized fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) laminates for repair of water main leaks that cost cities and counties millions of dollars a year in drinking water loss.
The new repair method, if successful, will stop identified leaks in city main water pipes without the need for expensive excavation. This capability is referred to as “trenchless” in the large pipelines repair industry, and the ability to avoid digging up and replacing pipe to stop leaks saves municipalities and other government organizations millions of dollars in infrastructure renewal and drinking water system costs.
“The difference between our proposed pipe repair and past repair systems is like the difference between landlines and mobile phones,” said Prof. Mo Ehsani, QuakeWrap President/CEO and professor emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Arizona. “This project is developing an economical solution for repairing smaller diameter municipal water pipes, where due to their size, manned entry is not possible,” Prof. Ehsani said.
The research grant will fund the development of QuakeWrap’s flexible FRP sheet, called SuperLaminate™, for use with a device which can deliver the laminate into a smaller leaky pipe, “like a stent placed in an artery,” Ehsani says. Ehsani and QuakeWrap Pipeline Division Manager Firat Sever, Ph.D., PE, are the lead investigators for the research project.
QuakeWrap is one of 21 small businesses nationally that are receiving first stage or Phase I funding from the US EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The program awards contracts annually through a two-stage competition. QuakeWrap’s water main repair proposal is the only one funded that deals with the repair of broken or leaking pipes.
This is not QuakeWrap’s first innovation. InfinitPipe® is a corrosion resistant, continuous composite pipe manufactured on-site, with no joints, at whatever length is needed. This trenchless innovation eliminates both excavation costs and pipe joints, which is the biggest cause of leaks in older pipelines.
The original US EPA news release naming all 21 companies awarded the Phase I SBIR grant is here:
Video showing the repair system in early concept can be found on the QuakeWrap YouTube channel here:
QuakeWrap Inc. is the original innovator and developer of Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) products for infrastructure repair and renewal, and also provides engineering services, sealed drawings, tested materials, and specialized installation by an in-house construction company, FRP Construction LLC. QuakeWrap’s President/CEO, Professor Mo Ehsani, is civil engineering professor emeritus from the University of Arizona and has spent over 20 years pioneering advanced construction technologies utilizing FRP. QuakeWrap’s numerous patent-protected FRP products – including the innovative PileMedic® and PipeMedic® repair systems – are field-proven to rehabilitate, retrofit and strengthen assorted structures worldwide, with award-winning results.