19 March 2024

Quality and sustainability converge at Kiwa's material research laboratory

As an authority in energy and water distribution, Kiwa has been involved in testing and certifying materials used in gas, water and other pipeline systems for years. Kiwa's material experts have accumulated a wealth of experience, utilized in residual lifetime and failure assessments, resulting in a well-equipped material research laboratory that serves the entire energy and water sector. Harald Ophoff, account manager at Kiwa Technology, provides further insight.

In the realm of pipeline infrastructure, quality and sustainability are paramount. Harald Ophoff states: ‘Companies responsible for managing networks for transporting chemical products, gases and water aim for maximum reliability to ensure sustainable delivery and minimize health risks. Our material experts possess the expertise and experience to assess the impact of fluids and gases on liner materials and complete pipeline systems, including components made of plastic and metal, translating findings into practical advice. Our material lab is the cornerstone of these services, conducting various tests to determine material quality and residual lifetime.’

Kwaliteit en duurzaamheid komen samen in Kiwa's laboratorium.jpg

In-depth insights

This process begins with identifying key factors influencing the lifespan of component or pipeline materials, according to Ophoff. ‘Whether it's chemical reactions, exposure to extreme temperatures or other environmental factors, our material experts can map the interaction between the material and transported medium accurately through tailored test programs, providing clients with in-depth insights into the cause of specific damage or failure or the residual quality of their pipeline system.’

Accurate estimates

One of the most valuable aspects of Kiwa's service is providing customized advice. ‘We support clients with information on material applicability for new projects. By assisting them with in-depth analyses and practical expertise, they can make accurate estimates of the remaining lifetime of pipeline materials, aiding them in finding cost-effective and sustainable solutions. For instance, we assist clients in researching corroded copper water pipes or leaks in multilayer heating systems or PVC systems for chemical distribution.’

Rubber technologist

While Kiwa Technology's material lab primarily focuses on polymer and metal product analysis, it has significantly expanded its scope. ‘We've onboarded a Ph.D. rubber technologist and clients can rely on us to evaluate the lifetime of rubber components, helping prevent unnecessary repair and replacement costs. This extends to civil works and rubber seals for drinking water and gas pipelines. We can also play a crucial role in failure analysis and product analyses in the energy transition to sustainable gases and fuels.’

Fire safety

A new discipline within Kiwa's material lab is conducting research on sprinkler installations. ‘Our colleagues at Kiwa Fire Safety & Security are leading experts in security and fire safety, inspecting and certifying alarm and fire safety systems. As an independent third party, we can now also assist their clients with material research on leaking sprinklers in existing installations. A well-functioning sprinkler system is be crucial and an erroneously activated system can cause significant damage. Here too, our material experts can aid in failure and damage investigations in the lab and on-site.’

Materiaalonderzoek in Kiwa's laboratorium.jpg