What is the difference between 3PE and FBE expory coated steel pipes

When people buy steel pipe for piping systems, we always see that the pipe is required to be epoxy coated, such as 3PE or FBE.

So what do you know about epoxy coated (3PE or FBE) tubes? When should you use it? What is the cost of 3PE, FBE anticorrosion processing?

Here's the simple answer:

FBE pipes are coated with epoxy paint. So we say fused bonded epoxy tubes.

3PE tubes are internally coated with epoxy, with an adhesive layer in the middle, and externally coated with polyethylene.

Use of epoxy coating tube

3PE and FBE epoxy coated/coated steel tubes are widely used in pipeline systems for transporting oil, gas, water and other fluids. They have strong resistance to chemical corrosion, moisture resistance, corrosive environment and so on.

What kind of pipe can be coated with 3PE or FBE?

Almost all types of steel tubes can be epoxy coated, for example

Stainless steel pipe

ASTM A312, ASTM A269 Stainless Steel Tubes

Carbon steel API 5L pipe lines from Grade B to 80

ASTM A53 pipe

ASTM A106 pipeline

ASTM A252 pipes

ASTM A135 and A134


Alloy steel pipe


Nickel alloy tube

CRA composite pipe or liner

What is FBE (bonded epoxy) coated steel pipe?

FBE coated tube is a fusion bonded epoxy coated tube. It is an external heating resin for pipes. Dry powder in the form of 400-600 microns in thickness on the heated surface of the pipe. Once FBE is applied to the pipe surface, the FBE film provides a very hard surface with good adhesion to the pipe surface. The FBE layer is uniform and has good resistance to chemical reactions.

FBE epoxy coated tube characteristics

The advantages of FBE coating tube are easy to spray, no pollution, high temperature resistance (-40°C to 85°C);

High strength and bending resistance;

Strong adhesion, good integrity, resistance to soil stress and wear.

FBE coated steel tubes are usually buried in soil and under water at temperatures ranging from -40 °C to 85°C.

The FBE tube, on the other hand, has a defect that it is not well resistant to mechanical properties and wet conditions.

How many types of FBE epoxy coated tubes are available?

It developed from the 1950s to the 1960s. FBE tubes come in two types: one layer and two layers. FBE double-coated piping is recommended for offshore pipelines and piping systems operating in harsh environments with high impact resistance and flexibility. Provide coating with proper protection from damage during transportation and construction.

FBE single-layer coated pipe is a general type of FBE coated pipe. It provides a rough, non-slip surface for pipes that require a concrete coating. A special melt-bonded epoxy powder, mixed with solid epoxy and other adhesive materials, facilitates adhesion to pipe surfaces.

What is 3PE epoxy coated tube?

3PE epoxy coated steel pipe has 3 layers of coating, the first is FBE coating, the middle is an adhesive layer, the outside is a polyethylene layer. 3PE coated tube is another new product developed on the basis of FBE coating since the 1980s. It contains an adhesive and a PE (polyethylene) layer. 3PE can enhance the mechanical properties of pipes, high resistance, waterproof, wear-resistant, anti-aging.

It protects the pipe from heat loss, which accounts for only a quarter of the pipe.

3PE epoxy coated tube includes 3 layers:

For melt-bonded epoxy with the first layer, the thickness is greater than 100μm. (FBE > 100μm)

The second layer is an adhesive, which is used to bond epoxy and PE layers. (AD: 170 ~ 250μm)

The third layer is PE layer, which is polyethylene, with the advantages of resistance to water, electrical resistance and mechanical damage. (from 20-3600 mm)

Therefore, 3PE coated tubes have the advantages of FBE and PE. It is increasingly used to transport water, gas and oil through underground pipelines.

In the case of manufacturing equipment, manufacturers of 3PE coated steel tubes can also make FBE coated tubes.

Features and advantages of 3PE epoxy coated tubes

Let's see why 3PE coated tubes are superior to FBE coated tubes.

Long service life

3PE epoxy coated steel pipe has good stability and aging resistance under normal operating temperature and pressure conditions, so the service life can be extended to more than 50 years.

Corrosion resistance

Due to the high structural stability of PE element, it can resist the corrosion of natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, man-made gases and other chemicals, without the need for secondary anti-corrosion equipment. The chemicals in the soil won't have any effect on the pipes.


3PE is a soft material that can be extended five times before breaking. It is also easy to bend and undamaged. 3PE coated steel pipe can bypass objects and reduce installation costs.

Good shock resistance and earthquake resistance

Polyethylene does not break easily at low temperatures, so it is safe to use in the temperature range of -60℃ to 60℃. So it can adapt to pipe drop, winter work. PE pipe will not easily break due to its good impact performance.

Excellent wear resistance

Experiments show that the wear resistance of PE pipeline is 4 times that of pipeline. Especially in the field of mud transportation. PE coated tubes have better wear resistance than painted tubes.

3PE has a smooth surface and a color matching coefficient of 0.009. Due to the smooth inner surface and non-viscous energy of the 3PE coated steel pipe, it has higher transport capacity and reduces pressure loss and water transport. Low water permeability improves isolation from seawater compared to other coated systems and FBE piping.

Good environmental performance

3PE coated steel pipe will not add heavy metal stabilizer in the manufacturing process, PE material is non-toxic and harmless, is a kind of green material, itself can be recycled, will not cause pollution to the environment.

Excellent resistance and antistatic performance.

These characteristics make PE piping suitable for flammable and explosive conditions.

Secure and reliable connection

3PE coated steel pipe is mainly made of hot melt and hot melt connection to keep the overall connection between the interface and the pipe. No water or gas leaks.

Light weight, easy to move, convenient construction

The weight of 3PE is only 1/8 of steel pipe, so the process of moving, bending and welding is convenient and fast. The whole project cost is low, and the economic benefit is obvious.

Because 3PE and FBE coatings can extend the life of the same steel pipe from a few years to decades, more than this is in demand for pipeline projects in recent years. The global average loss due to steel pipe corrosion is about 3% of the global average, according to the latest data, annual GDP was about $2.2 trillion in 2015. The oil, gas and oil industries lost about 45 percent of the $1 trillion in 2015. According to statistics, more than 70 percent of oil fields are vulnerable to corruption. The US, for example, has lost as much as 26 per cent of its direct economic losses, while China accounts for 10 per cent.


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