Polymers to Industry
Polymers to Industry
Media Compatibility Icon
Media Compatibility
Ask George Icon
Media Compatibility Icon
Media Compatibility
Ask George Icon

Holding Back the Floods

Holding Back the Floods

In winter we typically experience an interesting mixture of weather, and in the last week alone we've seen heavy snowfalls, black ice and freezing rain. The warmer temperature is now melting the snow across the UK but has resulted in some areas of the country being on flood alert and flood warning.

Flood Gate Seals are particularly in high demand at this time of year as it's critical that the Flood Gates (or Stop Gates) are fully operational. Flood Gates are adjustable and control the water flow in flood barriers and water courses such as reservoirs, rivers and streams, and are used to direct water into a bypass if a river may flood.

At MacLellan Rubber we're often asked for help in identifying material selection solutions to challenging problems. The recent weather reminded us of a project we worked on for the Environment Agency a few years ago.

Catterall Flood Gate

The Environment Agency had completed a refurbishment of Catterall Flood Gate and, at the point of testing the gate, found that the rubber seals which were supplied and fitted by the contractor a short time before, had started to crack and degrade.

Degrading rubber seal

With winter due to set in and the inherent threat of flooding, the situation was considered critical and the challenges were clear. They needed a material appropriate to the application and suitable for:

  • the exposed environmental conditions;
  • the abrasive wear of the flood gate opening and closing; and
  • the loads that would be applied once the gate was closed.

The material needed to be fabricated easily and supplied in a single 12.5 metre length.

Grade 0694 Neoprene Rubber Sheet

After much discussion with the Environment Agency we recommended a MacLellan Grade 0694 chloroprene (better known as neoprene) rubber sheet conforming to BS2752:2003 C60, which is a premium polymer that has exceptional ozone resistance, superior wear and load bearing characteristics and is used when surety over the compound is required. 

MacLellan recommended and worked with a local converter to carry out the manufacturing of the seals, having supplied the Grade 0694 neoprene sheet material a full 12.5 metre long in one single piece. The programme took just size weeks from order to supply.

What went wrong prior to MacLellan's advice being sought will not be a shock to any of us with too many years in the sealing industry.

  • The material supplied to the contractor was a commercial grade polymer with all of the inherent weakness that made failure inevitable.
  • Parties involved did not seek professional advice on what was undoubtedly the lowest cost element of the project.

At MacLellan Rubber we're proud of our technical ability and offer advice to those companies who seek it. We work with our partners, both customers and manufacturing plants, to provide the best product for the job.

If we don't know the answer, we know someone who does. And in critical applications, knowing is the right thing. Anyone can guess, anyone can get it wrong!

Products used:

Flood Gate Barrier

Water Seals and UV Resistance