Laboratory Testing to Examine Deformations and Moments in Fiber-Reinforced Cement Pipe

by Scott M. Munro, P.E., Engineer in Training; Jacques-Whitford, Dartmouth, NS, Canada B3B 1W8.,,
Ian D. Moore, (corresponding author), P.E., Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Professor and Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Engineering; GeoEngineering Centre at Queen's-RMC, Queen's Univ., Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6,,
Richard W. I. Brachman, P.E., Ph.D., Associate Professor; GeoEngineering Centre at Queen's-RMC, Queen's Univ., Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6.,,

Serial Information: Issue 11, Pg. 1722-1731

Document Type: Journal Paper

Abstract: Two 381 mm (15 in. nominal) diameter fiber reinforced cement pipes have been tested under embankment loading conditions to study pipe response in both low stiffness, fine grained backfill, and a high stiffness graded granular backfill. Pipe deformations and strains were measured and interpreted to provide insight into the effect of soil backfill on the deformations and moments that develop. Not surprisingly, the use of silty clay backfill resulted in greater pipe deflections while the stiffer granular backfill lead to greater load transfer to the surrounding ground. Calculations using elastic soil-pipe interaction theory were effective in estimating the observed changes in pipe diameter at typical service loads (overburden pressures of 100 kPa, i.e., 14.4 psi in the lower stiffness backfill and 200 kPa, i.e., 28.8 psi in the high stiffness backfill). Measured strain distributions show that the fiber reinforced pipe exhibited ovaling response similar to that seen for flexible and semiflexible pipes. As expected, tensile strains were observed on the outer surface at the springlines and the inner surface at the crown. Strains observed at the haunch were negligible, indicating that the bending moments within the pipe have conventional hourglass distribution, with negligible moments at shoulders and haunches. Differences in strain measured at the inner and outer surfaces were used with the elastic pipe modulus to calculate the experimental bending moments. Comparisons of those experimental bending moments with the bending moment calculated for a rigid pipe indicate that these FRC pipe structures are semirigid so that moments are reduced as a result of support provided by the surrounding soil. A design expression for moment arching factor (MAF or moment divided by the rigid pipe moments) developed in an earlier paper was found to provide reasonable estimates for the experimental moment values. Moment estimated using the design soil moduli of McGrath and MAF provide moment values that are reasonable and conservative relative to those that were observed.

Subject Headings: Laboratory tests | Backfills | Pipe sizes | Soil-pipe interaction | Deformation (mechanics) | Rigid pipes | Cement | Strain | Fiber reinforced composites | Pipelines | Moment (mechanics) | Material tests | Stiffening | Load factors |

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