Performance of Low Stiffness Plastic Pipe in Stiff Soils

by Larry J. Petroff, Spiral Engineered Systems, Norcross, GA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Pipeline Materials and Design


Large diameter pipe made from ductile plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) can be effectively utilized in subsurface installations with much lower stiffness than traditional pipe products. The handling and installation strength of these pipes are better characterized by a relative stiffness term such as Ring Stiffness Constant rather than by Pipe Stiffness. Experience with the installation of this pipe in stiff soils shows that the ratio of change in vertical diameter to change in horizontal diameter may slightly exceed one, but the 'boxy' or 'squared' deformed shapes, intimated by some, have not been observed in field installations. Finite Element Method analysis shows that extremely deformed shapes occur under unusual conditions usually coupled with poor installation techniques.

Subject Headings: Synthetic materials | Finite element method | Stiffening | Plastic pipes | Pipelines | Buried pipes | Polyethylene | Soil deformation

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