The complex relocation of Halley VI Antarctic Research Station requires new pipework and relies on Armaflex insulation materials to prevent pipes from freezing. Temperatures at Halley rarely rise above 0 °C although they do reach +10 °C on sunny summer days. Typical winter temperatures are below -20 °C with extreme lows of around -55 °C.
The Halley Research Station is an international research platform for monitoring atmospheric changes and space weather in the Antarctic. Built on a floating ice shelf in the Weddell Sea, Halley VI is the world’s first relocatable research facility.
As part of the Halley VI relocation project a new wastewater system for the living accommodation is being installed. Armacell were contacted by the relocation project engineers from British Antarctic Survey regarding a solution for insulating the wastewater system in severe weather conditions.
The piping scheme bores deep into the ice shelf where the temperature requirements remain close to -20 ºC throughout the year. AF/Armaflex Class O was recommended as the main thermal insulation material. Armaflex elastomeric foam products have the benefit of remaining flexible and operational down to -50 ºC, expanding and contracting with temperature changes without becoming brittle. Armacell recommended the use of a multilayer construction with a primary layer of high temperature HT/Armaflex to accommodate the heat tracing temperatures.
A top layer of Arma-Chek R provides a flexible mechanical resistance barrier to protect the pipe against impact damage and movement of the ice. Armacell recommended 25 mm HT/Armaflex sheet and 19 mm thick AF/Armaflex Class O tubes for pipe diameters of 76 and 114 mm. The flexible Armaflex insulation materials significantly reduce the energy input needed for the heat tracing by preventing heat losses to the surrounding ice.
The insulation system of HT/Armaflex, AF/Armaflex Class O and Arma-Chek R ensures a flexible pipe that can be coiled up for transport ready for installation on site. Non-standard AF/Armaflex Class O tubes sizes were manufactured at Armacell’s UK factory especially for the project and spooled onto large drums for transport to the Antarctic. Once the research station has been moved to the new site, the wastewater pipeline constructed by the BAS team in the UK is ready to install and will service Halley for many years.
View Pipework thermal insulation: Armafix Product Entry