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University of Arizona professor invents infinite light pipe

A professor at the University of Arizona has invented a theoretically infinite tube that promises to reduce the cost of laying pipes and reduce environmental damage. Powered by Mo Ehsani, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at the University of Arizona, the new pipeline, called Infiniti Pipe, is a lightweight plastic honeycomb aerospace under layers of resin saturated carbon fiber fabric produced by a new manufacturing process allowing the pipes to be built on the site of indefinite length.

Because it is out of sight, sometimes we forget how much pipe is buried under our feet. Spread across and between towns and cities there are thousands, if not millions of miles of pipeline carrying fuel, water, sewerage, cables and all kinds of other things that make the veins and arteries of modern civilization. The problem is that any large tube intended to have any force, such as those made of steel, concrete or heavy plastic, can only be done in very short lengths. This is partly due to the weight of some materials, but mainly because they are transported by truck.

This means that a pipe, no matter how long, consists of a series of short sections with hundreds or thousands of joints - each potential leakage. It also means that pipelines often have to be manufactured in distant places and then shipped and transported to construction sites over long distances and at great cost.

Ehsani InfinitiPipe addresses this problem by advancing the process of manufacture to the place itself. The originally had been working on a method for reinforcing composite materials using existing pipes. This led to the creation of a method for the manufacture of composite pipes involved tissue envelope layers of carbon and plastic honeycomb around a mold called a mandrel. As the tube is partially finished, which is slid down the mandrel while the next length was made.

Ehsani then realized he was right. "I thought, why not just fall out of the chuck and keep doing this tube?" Ehsani said. "Never stop."

(Machinec Report)

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