Epoxy syntactic foam, a composite material combining glass microspheres with other fillers in an epoxy binder, has been used with increasing success in insulating offshore pipelines and subsea equipment for the past decade or more. The advantages of epoxy include excellent resistance to high temperature and high pressure sea water as well as good thermal insulting properties. The exceptional strength of epoxy has made service at great depth possible. However, the rigidity of conventional epoxy-based material has so far limited its application to subsea equipment and J-Lay or S-Lay pipelines. As the offshore industry moves into deeper water and larger fields, the desirability of making advanced epoxy insulation flexible and extending its use to more efficient reeled deployment methods is becoming obvious. This paper describes research directed toward identifying new, highly flexible insulating materials suitable for service up to 300°F (150°C) and as deep as 10,000 ft (3000m). A critical part of the research program has been to develop a methodology for testing affording confidence for very long periods of service. Preliminary test data are presented, along with predictions of how this new class of products will be further developed.

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