Few events signify perfection better than the Olympics. To qualify to be a part of the 29th Olympiad requires a flawless performance, as well as a track record for outstanding achievement — not just for the participants who compete, but also for the products and materials chosen for the construction and operation of the numerous competition venues at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.
That includes the piping required to run the elaborate water treatment system designed especially for the main competition pool found inside the National Aquatics Center. After rigorous product and performance testing, it was determined that The Lubrizol Corporation’s (NYSE:LZ) Corzan CPVC pipe and fittings possessed the best combination of attributes to effectively and reliably perform in this demanding environment.
Corzan pipe and fittings possess a unique balance of properties, including corrosion resistance (even in highly aggressive, chlorinated water), high-impact strength, low maintenance requirements, superior flame and smoke characteristics and the ability to maintain water quality without concerns of leaching or biofilm formation. In addition, Corzan CPVC is immune to the corrosive effects of many chemicals, including sodium hypochlorite, which is used in the National Aquatics Center’s water filtration system. Its resistance to such aggressive chemicals — which can corrode metal equipment and result in leaks, and at times, cause premature failures — made CPVC an attractive alternative to metallic systems.
Since Beijing has long-term plans for the Olympic pool that involve its use long after the games are finished, it needed a reliable piping system that could perform consistently even under the harshest conditions. CPVC, with its nearly 50-year track record, has proven compatibility in a wide array of corrosive industrial environments, including a number of water treatment facilities around the globe.
Installation time was a primary consideration, because delaying the start of the games was not an option. A fast and easy solvent cement joining system saved countless hours compared to the soldering required on metallic systems. In addition, CPVC is lightweight, which makes it easier to maneuver on the job site. Depending on the diameter of the pipe, CPVC is between one-sixth and one-eighth the weight of metal. As a result of these labor-saving attributes, more than 4,300 feet of CPVC in various diameters was installed in less than six months.
Not surprising given the size and scope of the Olympics undertaking, total installed cost also was a consideration. The total cost for the Corzan CPVC pipe and fittings used in the pool’s water treatment systems was approximately $500,000 — a sizable investment, but only a fraction of the cost of copper or high-alloy metal piping.
Both in the construction and operation of the Olympic facilities, China is making major efforts to demonstrate that it is a good steward of its natural resources. The selection of Corzan CPVC piping supports this initiative. The material’s manufacturing process requires substantially less total energy to produce (from raw material feedstocks to pipe production) than competitive materials. Corzan CPVC piping is also energy efficient with natural insulating properties that help maintain desired water temperature. Its superior hydraulics, due to the combination of a smooth interior pipe surface and a large internal diameter, result in lower energy use and efficient water conveyance. Finally, from a water quality standpoint, the system also maintains water purity, eliminating concerns of leaching as found in some metallic alternatives.