Balmoral syntactic foam

Commentary - 14 Dec 2022

Syntactic and composite syntactic foam specification details


Our buoyancy products achieve their uplift by using advanced ‘syntactic’ and ‘composite syntactic’ foams, typically encased in a protective external skin.

Material, process and engineering development of these foams enables optimum buoyancy and hydrostatic collapse performance at depths exceeding 5000msw.

A syntactic foam is composed of a resin matrix and hollow glass microspheres while a composite syntactic foam comprises syntactic foam and fibre reinforced epoxy or thermoplastic macrospheres. Both compositions exhibit very high strength to weight ratios.

A suitable foam system is based on project specific parameters such as service depth, design life, uplift requirements, operational conditions and safety factors. The safety factor is the crucial aspect when specifying both syntactic and composite syntactic foams.

As an example, Balmoral distributed buoyancy modules comprising syntactic materials are designed, manufactured and tested in full accordance with the API 17L1: Specification for

Ancillary Equipment for Flexible Pipes and Subsea Umbilicals and API 17L2: Recommended Practice for Ancillary Equipment for Flexible Pipes and Subsea Umbilicals which specifies a minimum hydrostatic collapse pressure (HCP) safety factor of 1.5x maximum service pressure that is typical for the offshore industry.

Balmoral syntactc foam block

Quality assurance

A range of quality assurance testing is carried out in the purpose-built Balmoral Subsea Test Centre and laboratories on material samples during manufacture and on finished buoyancy products prior to release.

To demonstrate life of field fitness-for-purpose, and in accordance with API17L, Instrumented Buoyancy Loss (IBL) testing is conducted that includes the effects of water absorption, hydrostatic creep and elastic compression allowing determination of the expected end-of-life buoyancy.

Our technical team is always available to discuss buoyancy projects and would be happy to answer any queries you may have on the subject.

Our highly experienced technical team would be delighted to answer your queries. Please contact us for further information.
Find out more about ultra-low density, high performance syntactic foam solutions
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Balmoral Comtec Ltd
Balmoral Park, Loirston, Aberdeen AB12 3GY | +44 (0)1224 859000 |
Registered number SC301819