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How Does Nitrogen Purging Make Pipelines Safer?

Close-up of a pipe in a factory

Numerous industries rely on pipeline safety to carry out their daily operations; among these are oil and gas, chemical manufacturing, and food processing. Clean, efficient, and secure pipelines free from contaminants are key to preventing accidents, reducing downtime, and maintaining top product quality. Here, nitrogen is a major player.

“Nitrogen purging,” as its name suggests, involves using nitrogen gas to clean and prepare pipelines. By removing unwanted gases, moisture, contaminants, and other impurities lying within pipes, their operations and lifespan are dramatically improved. In today’s blog, we will use our knowledge as bottled gas suppliers to explore how nitrogen purging works and why it is so important to many businesses and sectors.

A row of grey cylinders with gauges

How Nitrogen Prevents Oxidation and Combustion

Nitrogen is an inert gas, and this is one of the main reasons why it is employed in purging pipelines. These often transport flammable and dangerous reactive substances that, once in contact with oxygen, will pose significant safety threats and lead to oxidation. This latter triggers a real knock-on effect, as it likely causes corrosion, which weakens the pipeline to the point where leaks and breaks could occur. So, by replacing oxygen with nitrogen, oxidation is preventable, resulting in improved integrity.

As for combustion, nitrogen is extremely handy. The substances we mentioned above, when exposed to oxygen, can become dangerous. As nitrogen is a non-reactive gas, using it for purging the pipeline before and during their maintenance and repairs– when they are opened and exposed to air this lowers the risk of fire and explosions; contributing to a safer environment for both workers and the integrity of the pipeline itself.

A close-up of a pipe

Dry and Secure: Nitrogen in Moisture Removal

Moisture in pipelines often leads to both unpleasant and serious consequences, such as corrosion, freezing (which causes blockages and interruptions), and, of course, contamination of the substances flowing through the system. When nitrogen is introduced to purge the pipeline, it absorbs and carries away any moisture residue as it runs through it. This results in drying the pipeline, reducing any potential moisture-related problems.

Just because it is not classed as a hazardous substance, it is important not to underestimate the corrosion caused by moisture, as it equally leads to leaks and other failures. To ensure the pipeline’s longevity, efficiency, and reliability, it is then essential to maintain a dry environment by resorting to nitrogen purging and its many benefits.

A row of clear bottles on a conveyor belt

Maintaining Top Product Quality

Nitrogen bottles are incredibly valuable in food preservation, as they extend the quality and shelf life of many spoilage-prone goods by preventing oxidation. However, the food industry is not the only one that greatly benefits from nitrogen’s properties; pharmaceuticals and chemical manufacturing use this gas to retain the utmost purity and quality of their products, protecting sensitive drugs from degradation caused by oxygen.

When it comes to pipelines, oxygen and moisture will inevitably compromise product quality, causing spoilage, reduced efficacy, and, ultimately, financial losses. Nitrogen purging, on the other hand, helps to maintain product quality, efficacy, and safety for longer by creating an inert and contaminant-free environment within the pipeline system.

A rusty pipe with holes in it

A Key Element to Extend Pipeline Lifespan

Nitrogen purging done sporadically will not consistently benefit the pipelines. To fully take advantage of this effective method, it needs to be carried out regularly during maintenance activities. Only then will it extend the durability and resilience of the system by protecting pipelines from corrosion, oxidation, contamination, moisture, and other varied forms of damage.

Pipelines are a substantial investment for any business that relies heavily on them, and their replacement will be costly financially and harm productivity with significant downtime. By adopting nitrogen purging as a routine maintenance practice, businesses across different sectors can reduce the wear and tear on their pipelines, resulting in their extended lifespan and optimised investment.

As we have learned, corrosion is one of the principal factors leading to pipeline degradation, leaks, and failures, so it is easy to understand why nitrogen purging emerges as an excellent technique to avoid it. By keeping the internal surfaces of pipelines dry and free from reactive gases, nitrogen slows down the corrosion process so that the system remains in good condition for longer periods. This not only saves on repair and replacement costs but also improves the overall safety and reliability of pipeline operations.

Ensure Your Pipelines’ Efficiency with Adams Gas

Nitrogen is an extremely versatile gas that not only proves invaluable in motorsports or air conditioning but also in improving the safety, efficiency, and longevity of pipelines, addressing some of the most difficult challenges faced in their management and care.

If you need a reliable source of nitrogen to carry out your pipeline maintenance activities, we at Adams Gas offer a wide range of solutions to help you carry out your most diverse activities. If you need a consistent, reliable gas partner, turn to us. Contact us to receive advice, learn more about our products and their applications, or place an order. We will be happy to assist you.