The basics of static in PE fuel gas pipe

In order to determine a solution for your static problem in PE pipe, one must understand how static is created in the pipe, what it will do and what is necessary to suppress it.

While these explanations are based on static in PE pipe, static charges also occur in metal pipe in much the same manner. Therefore, if you are experiencing static in metal pipe transporting natural gas, these explanations also apply.

The explanations below are only the most basic explanation.

What is static electricity?

Static electricity is so called because it is electricity that is residing on an electrical insulator. Because it is residing on an electrical insulator it cannot conduct or move. It is therefore - static. However, it is important to remember that it is still electricity!

Why static in PE pipe must be addressed

The natural world is designed to be at electrical neutrality. If you do not dissipate the electrical imbalance of a static charge, Mother Nature will eventually ground the charge. When it does so, it can result in an ignition, an electrical shock or create an electrostatic pinhole in the pipe.

The 4 threats of static electricity in PE pipe - Ignitions/Shocks/Pinhole leaks/Electronics burnout

  • Static ignitions threat. The static in PE pipe ignites leaking gas. Static is therefore an ignition risk.
  • Electrical shock threat. The static in PE pipe has shocked workers. Static is therefore a shock risk
  • Electrostatic leaks. The static in PE pipe has been shown to create pinhole leaks in PE pipe. Static is therefore an integrity risk.
  • Burnout of electronics. The static in PE pipe arcs through to service meters and burns them out.

The 4 basics of static in PE pipe

  • Static is initially generated on the inside of the pipe by the passage of gas through the pipe.
  • The static initially generated on the inside of the pipe, in turn, creates a charge on the outside of the pipe.
  • Once the static is generated on the PE pipe surface it remains stationary since it is residing on a electrical insulator.
  • If the static charge on a pipe is exposed to an electrical grounded material, an arc to ground will occur.

Video class on static in PE pipe

This video is a summary of the class taught by Dirk Smith on static in PE pipe. It is a more comprehensive explanation of the basics of static in PE pipe given above. For more in-depth understanding please go to our Research on static in gas pipe page or contact us.

You can click HERE to view it on YouTube.