Composites are poised for use in large-scale offshore construction.
Composites have been considered –– if not actually tried –– for primary structures on platforms, including the platform construction itself. "There have been several previous studies of the possibility of replacing parts of platforms with composites, and these all suffered from a lack of design guidelines and performance information,” says Geoff Gibson of the Centre for Composite Materials Engineer-ing at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
As composites durability data is collected and offshore constructors and fabricators install more composite topside piping and components, familiarity with the products increases. “Large composite structures are lightweight and easily manageable,” says Gibson. “The logistics related to the assembly of composite platforms could prove to be very favorable, leading to even greater cost savings.”