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Features and Benefits
Molecular Orientation of thermoplastics is a well known technique in the polymer processing industry. It has been widely applied to fibre and sheets, and perhaps the most well-known example, to PET bottles for carbonated beverages. In 1972 Yorkshire Imperial Plastics, UK, (now Uponor) applied the same techniques to PVC pipe manufacture, resulting in the production of a pipe with greatly improved performance characteristics when compared to conventional PVC pipe. Oriented PVC pipe was first commercialised in the 1980s.
In Australia, Vinidex commenced manufacture in 1985, and in early 1986 supplied and underwrote a major test installation through Northern Riverina County Council, Temora NSW, comprising a 64 kilometre pumping main to supply potable water to the surrounding rural district. The product now has developed a convincing performance record. Since then, Vinidex has continuously been at the forefront of oriented PVC pipe technology and has developed an in-line biaxial orientation process which is used in the manufacture of the current generation of Supermain pipes.
The Supermain manufacturing process comprises of two stages; the initial extrusion of a feedstock pipe followed by an expansion process which results in bi-axial molecular orientation of the material. The random long chain molecules of PVC become preferentially aligned in the expansion or hoop direction and a marked increase in strength is attained in this direction. For pipes, hoop strength is the primary factor determining resistance to internal pressure. The result is a lighter weight pipe with an increased bore for greater flow capacity when compared with other PVC pipes. Orientation also results in improved impact resistance, greater ductility and high fatigue strength. These environmental and engineering advantages mean Supermain is the high-performance, cost-effective pipe material choice for pressure applications.
The graphic below illustrates the general principle of orientation.
With the molecules preferentially aligned in the hoop and longitudinal directions, the biaxially oriented PVC material demonstrates significantly enhanced strength and toughness.
High Flow capacity – Supermain pipes have excellent hydraulic performance. Their flow capacity exceeds that of any other commonly used pressure pipe in water and sewer applications. This has the potential for reduced pumping costs.
Light weight – Supermain pipes are light weight with excellent ease of handling and laying. Occupational health & safety risks are also reduced
High impact strength – Supermain exhibits extraordinary resistance to impact. Tests on Supermain show impact rupture energies up to 10 times that of standard PVC-U
High toughness – The enhanced toughness and ductility of Supermain pipes means they have excellent resistance to accidental damage
Corrosion resistant – Supermain pipes are totally unaffected by soil and water chemicals and will not be affected by anything that can normally be found in sewage effluent.
No adverse effect on water quality – Supermain pipes will not affect the taste, smell, appearance or health aspects of drinking water.
Complete pipeline system – A complete range of fittings and accessories is available for both International Series and Series 2 outside diameter Series of Supermain pipes
Material and energy efficient – A CSIRO study  found that Supermain pipes have lower embodied energy than alternative pipes based on equivalent hydraulic performance.
No heavy metals – All Vinidex pressure pipes including Supermain are manufactured using stabilisers and other additives that do not contain any lead or cadmium compounds.