Tucson-based QuakeWrap Inc. pioneered the use of carbon-fiber composite wraps to strengthen structural beams, walls and pipes 25 years ago.
Now, the company is looking to adapt its technology to patch small-diameter water mains from the inside — like a surgical stent place in an artery — with the help of a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Under the $100,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant, QuakeWrap will study the use of specialized fiber-reinforced polymer laminates for repair of water main leaks that cost cities and counties millions of dollars a year in drinking water losses.
QuakeWrap, which was founded in 1994 by University of Arizona civil-engineering professor emeritus Mo Ehsani, already uses its special carbon-fiber laminates to patch large pipes, inside and out.
“This project is developing an economical solution for repairing smaller diameter municipal water pipes, where due to their size, manned entry is not possible,” Ehsani said.
The new, “trenchless” repair method is designed to stop identified leaks in city main water pipes without the need for expensive excavation for repair or replacement.
The research grant will fund the development of QuakeWrap’s flexible composite sheet, called SuperLaminate, for use with a device that can deliver the laminate into a smaller leaky pipe, much like a stent, Ehsani said.
The company also offers a corrosion-resistant, continuous composite pipe manufactured on-site, with no joints, to whatever length is needed.
Ehsani, president and CEO of QuakeWrap, is lead investigator on the research project along with Firat Sever, manager of the company’s pipeline division.
QuakeWrap is one of 21 small businesses nationally to receive the annually awarded first stage, or Phase I, funding from the EPA’s small-business research program.
Raytheon hits hypersonics goal
Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems hit a major milestone in its development of hypersonic weapons this week: The company and the Pentagon’s advanced-technology agency completed a successful initial design review for the Tactical Boost Glide program.
The review with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, established the company’s technical approach for an upcoming critical design review, moving the system a step closer to development and use, Raytheon said.
The U.S. and other nations are racing to develop hypersonic missiles, which generally fly at Mach 5 or faster at high altitudes.
A boost glide weapon uses a rocket to accelerate its payload and achieve hypersonic speeds, then the payload separates from the rocket and glides unpowered to its destination.
The U.S. military will use hypersonic weapons to engage targets from longer ranges with shorter response times, and with greater effectiveness than current weapon systems, Raytheon said.
Earlier this year, Raytheon received a $63 million DARPA contract to further develop the Tactical Boost Glide program, a joint effort between the agency and the U.S. Air Force.
Raytheon said in June it is partnering with Northrop Grumman on development of an air-breathing hypersonic missile under a DARPA-Air Force program.
Cox rolls out new products
Local cable provider Cox Communications on Wednesday rolled out several new products and announced faster speeds for its data plans in Arizona.
The company is now offering a mobile app for use with its panoramic Wi-Fi service that allows customers to manage their internet access and set bedtime modes and parental controls.
Cox also rolled out panoramic Wi-Fi pods, devices designed to eliminate dead zones in coverage. Cox says its panoramic Wi-Fi offers faster connections and better signal coverage, though it comes with extra fees.
The company also has launched a new streaming media player for its Contour TV service, allowing customers to access Netflix and other streaming services through their cable box or wirelessly.
Cox also upped the internet speeds for several of its data packages, boosting its premier package from 150 megabits per second to 200 Mbps and its preferred package from 100 Mbps to 150 Mbps. By October, speeds on its high-end ultimate package will increase from 300 Mbps to 400 Mbps.