Some 145 m below the surface of the North Sea ICI subsidiary Linear Composites Ltd has been planting "artificial seaweed" along a section of oil pipeline. The project is aimed at protecting the sands around the pipeline from erosion by water movements. The "seaweed" consists of bunches of polypropylene strands in blocks at about half-metre intervals. Being lighter than water, the polypropylene floats upwards, trapping particles of sand and other materials which are suspended in the water. The particles drop to the sea floor, gradually building up into a small sand bank. In the pilot scheme, which began in the Piper field in July this year, there was evidence of a small sandbank forming within the first few weeks. ICI expects to see an evantual accumulation up to two metres high. The strands are placed on either side of the pipeline, held down between the warp and weft of a heavier matting material. The matting, which is laid down in lengths 4.4 m wide, moulds itself to the shape of the sea floor. It is anchored by weights and, where necessary, by stakes driven into the sea bed. The strands wave to and fro with the ICI started research into sea floor erosion some ten years ago, but put most of its efforts into developing a system to reduce the erosion around the legs of oil rigs. This system is already at work in the North Sea. It also attempted to apply the artificial seaweed idea to shore erosion, fastening polypropylene strands to a line to form a lightweight breakwater. This project failed because the line could not be kept in position.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    IPC Magazines

    66-69 Great Queens Street
    London WC2E 5DD,   England 

    IPC Magazine Limited

    King's Reach Tower, Stamford Street
    London SE1 9LS,   England 
  • Publication Date: 1977-9-22

Media Info

  • Pagination: 1 p.
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 75
    • Issue Number: 1070
    • ISSN: 0262-4079

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00165288
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: New Scientist
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 23 1977 12:00AM