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T e c h n o l o g y
Cutting Edge Technical Information For Utility Construction & Rehabilitation
Thermoplastics At Work
A Comprehensive Review Of Municipal PVC Piping Products
By Shah Rahman, EIT, Regional Vice President, Underground Solutions, Inc. Technological advances in the piping industry over the course of a century have made wooden pipes and brick sewers a concept of the past, while opening the door to better engineered piping products which provide the user with more cost-effective solutions. Traditional piping materials for water and sewer systems are steadily being replaced by modern materials which provide better performance, ease of installation, and overall, a better “bang for the buck.” Environmental effects such as corrosion pose a dramatic threat to the buried pipe infrastructure in North America. It has been estimated in a study performed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that corrosion accounts for more than $36 billion of loss annually in water and sewer systems throughout the U.S. Today, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a thermoplastic material, is the most widely used product in water and sewer systems in the U.S. and Canada. This article will provide design engineers and specifiers with an information base on various PVC pressure and gravity piping standards and products, for open-cut and trenchless construction and rehabilitation. The contents should contribute to the decision-making process for standard and product selection when PVC has been specified or is under consideration. Other pertinent information such as available joint-types is also discussed. unique quality of thermoplastics enable them to be heated, processed, formed and reshaped many times, without any permanent changes taking place in the material’s physical/mechanical properties. Thermoset plastics on the other hand, are processed by a combination of chemicals and heat, and once formed, can not be reshaped. Thermoplastics, such as PVC used in pipe manufacture, are referred to as rigid plastics. The term rigid indicates that these materials do not contain any plasticizers, which would make them more ductile, and hence unsuitable for buried municipal applications. Both thermoplastic and thermoset pipes are flexible conduits (the pipe/soil interaction is identical) and are designed accordingly. In the set of curves, B, in Figure 1, it can be seen that the stress-strain relationship is somewhat different for viscoelastic materials than it is for elastic materials. Clearly, you can no longer see a directly linear relationship between stress-strain, and the gradients of the curves depend on the loading time. In other words, for a given stress level, the longer the loading time, the larger the strain reached. Creep is defined as continuing deformation (increasing strain) with time when the material is subjected to a constant stress. The consequence of creep is that failure of the material will occur after load is applied for a certain amount of time. So time dependency is a major factor to consider in viscoelastic material behavior. An important fact is that the time to failure is inversely proportional to the applied stress. In thermoplastic pressure pipe, it is therefore possible to find and apply a stress level that is low enough to ensure that the theoretical time to failure will surpass the design life of the pipeline.
Properties of viscoelastic materials
Thermoplastics such as PVC are viscoelastic. Viscoelastic materials exhibit elastic as well as viscous-like characteristics. A material that deforms under stress, but regains its original shape and size when the load is removed is classified as elastic. Viscous materials, on the other hand, after being subjected to a deforming load, do not recover their original shape and size once the load is removed. In reality, all materials deviate from the linear relationship between stress and strain (Hooke’s Law) at some point in various ways. Defining the direct relationship between stress and strain when a load is applied to a material is the most common way to evaluate the strength of that material. Graph A in Figure 1 illustrates the linear relationship between stressstrain in elastic materials. In an ideal elastic material, strain returns to zero as soon as the material is unloaded, and the linear relationship is not typically timedependent. But it should be noted that in all materials, this behavior is valid only up to a certain stress point, called the yield point, after which the strain in the material will increase dramatically by creep, before finally failing.
The availability of plastic pipe in the late 1950’s in North America was the beginning of an industry that would eventually revolutionize the field of municipal water and sewer piping. Plastics are formed by the polymerization of molecules containing hydrogen and carbon. The three main types of plastic pipes widely in use in North America include polyvinyl chloride (PVC), high density polyethylene (HDPE), and glass-reinforced pipe (GRP, also called fiberglass pipe). PVC and HDPE fall into the group of thermoplastics, while GRP is a thermoset pipe. The
Figure 1: Stress-Strain Relationship in Elastic and Viscoelastic Materials.
In thermoplastic pipe applications, creep is not free, but is prevented because the deflection of the pipe is kept constant, as is the case in buried PVC gravity (or pressure) pipe. Consequently, it can be seen from Figure 1 that the initial stress decreases with time, and is referred to as the relaxation property of thermoplastic piping materials. These basic properties of viscoelastic materials such as PVC and HDPE enable engineers to design pipelines that ensure both structural
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integrity and the long-term design life of their municipal piping systems.
In 2000, more than five billion pounds of PVC resin was used in the manufacture of PVC pressure and gravity pipe. A vinyl chloride molecule is comprised of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine, configured as shown in Figure 2a. PVC is obtained by polymerization of single units of the vinyl chloride molecule, which join to create long chains, Figure 2b, and ultimately form PVC resin, Figure 2c. PVC pipe is manufactured by first blending the resin with stabilizers, pigments, lubricants, processing aids and functional additives, and heating this mixture to a temperature in the 400 degree F range. This causes the components to properly fuse and convert into a malleable state. In this molten form, the material is mechanically extruded into pipe, whereby the pipe meets the physical/mechanical properties outlined in various ASTM, AWWA and other standards.
Following the completion of the extrusion process, the pipe is allowed to cool, after which QA/QC testing is performed per requirements of the standards to which they are made, before final delivery to the end user.
Figure 2a, b, c: Vinyl Chloride Molecule, PVC Chain, Resin.
tity of each ingredient clearly “spelled out.” This is no longer the case; the listings of PPI TR-2 now enable manufacturers to produce pipe formulated within the allowable minimum/maximum ingredient ranges; consequently, it is likely that no two manufacturers have the identical formulation. This is a result of the search for more effective and less costly sources of ingredients. The ultimate goal is to produce pipe that meets all the requirements of the standards to which they are made.
The Plastic Pipe Institute’s document TR-2/2004, PPI PVC Range Composition Listing of Qualified Ingredients, lists the Hydrostatic Stress Board’s (HSB) allowable content of various ingredients for PVC pipe manufacture as defined by a minimum/maximum range. These lists are compiled through results of extensive industry-wide testing. In the earliest days of PVC pipe manufacture, each PVC composition was a fixed and very specific composition, with the use level and iden-
Basic PVC properties
The basic properties of PVC compounds are outlined in ASTM D1784, Standard Specification for Rigid Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) and Chlorinated Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (CPVC) Compounds. The specification defines a five-digit cell class designation system that describes minimum characteristics for a particular compound. The five designated properties include: base resin, Izod impact strength, tensile strength, elastic modu-
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Thermoplastics At Work
lus in tension and deflection temperature under loading. For example, in the cell classification 12454, the third digit, 4, indicates that the pipe has a minimum tensile strength of 7,000 psi. The fourth digit, 5, indicates a minimum modulus of elasticity in tension of 400,000 psi. Similarly, a pipe manufactured to cell classification 12364 would have a minimum tensile strength of 6,000 psi, and a minimum modulus of elasticity of 440,000 psi. All conventional PVC pressure pipe standards in the U.S. are manufactured to a cell class of 12454 only, highlighting the importance of a minimum tensile strength of 7,000 psi; this is the optimum value which yields the maximum longterm strength when factors of safety are applied to PVC pipes operating under pressure. Gravity pipe standards on the other hand are made to both cell class 12454 and 12364. For all practical purposes, gravity pipe manufactured to either formulation perform very well under buried conditions. hoop direction. Also, the resulting HDB is increased from 4,000 psi to 7,100 psi. Consequently, this stronger material can have a thinner wall than a conventional PVC pipe of the same pressure capacity. The manufacture process of PVC-O in the U.S. is called an Offline Process, while a second method, the Online Process, is more widely used in Europe. In the U.S., PVC-O if considered a proprietary product since only one company makes it. PVC-O pipe is not used in gravity applications. PVC-M: Modified PVC is produced by incorporation of additives or “impact modifiers” to enhance the toughness of the material. Resistance to fracture by absorption and dissipation of energy is evidence of the toughness of the pipe material. PVC-M is made and used mainly in Europe and Australia, while only one manufacturer in the U.S. produces this type of pipe for non-buried applications. limit of 25 gal/in-dia/mile/day within a sewer system to account for losses at manhole connections and through other appurtenances, not through the pipe joint itself. Most other gravity pipe material industries encourage infiltration/ exfiltration limits in the 200 gal/india/mile/day range. ASTM D3139, Joints for Plastic Pressure Pipes Using Flexible Elastomeric Seals, is typically the standard to which PVC pressure pipe joints are made and tested. AWWA C605, Underground Installation of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Pressure Pipe and Fittings for Water, also provides guidelines for post-installation testing of PVC pressure pipe systems for potable water distribution and transmission. Fusible Joints: Until recently, HDPE was the only available thermoplastic pipe option which used butt-fused joints in North America. In late 2003, the water/wastewater industry saw the introduction of Fusible PVC/C-900/C-905. A first of its kind, this product combines a proprietary formulation with a unique fusion procedure that allows lengths of PVC pipe to be joined together in a continuous string for installation through a variety of trenchless methods, including HDD, sliplining, pipebursting, guided boring, and jack and bore, as well as direct bury applications. While Fusible PVC is primarily for non-drinking water applications like recycled water, force mains, gravity drains and sewer applications, Fusible C-900/C-905 are specifically for use in potable water systems. The pipes are manufactured to all requirements of AWWA C900 and C905, and are NSF certified. Figure 4 shows a buttfused PVC joint.
PVC pipe joints
There are various types of joints available for PVC pressure and gravity pipe standards, used according to the application Bell-and-spigot gasket joints: Traditionally, this has been the joint type most associated with PVC pressure and gravity pipe standards used for open-cut municipal applications. The beveled spigot end of the adjoining pipe is slipped into the bell up to the guide mark indicated on the spigot; the elastomeric gasket is usually prepositioned in the bell and provides a completely water-tight compression seal, Figure 3.
Types of PVC pipe
There are three distinct types of PVC pipes manufactured in the world, each differentiated by either the way in which it is manufactured (which dictates the directional orientation of the molecules), or by the content of modifiers in its chemical formulation (which affect the ability of the pipe to withstand large impacts by absorption and dissipation of the energy). They include: PVC-U: Unplasticized PVC is the most common type of PVC used in the manufacture of pipe. That which we refer to simply as PVC in North America is in fact unplasticized PVC. The manufacture process described earlier in this article is that of PVC-U. The molecular structure of PVC pipe is a random arrangement of long chain molecules, where molecular entanglement is prevalent throughout the length of the pipe. In general, the PVC molecules do not exhibit any definite directional orientation, and therefore, a generally uniform strength prevails in both the radial (circumferential) and longitudinal directions. Testing has shown that the modulus of elasticity in fifteen year-old PVC is only slightly higher in the longitudinal direction than in the radial directions. PVC-O: Molecularly oriented PVC is made in the U.S. by expansion of conventional PVC pipe; during the expansion process, the molecules become oriented in a generally radial or circumferential direction. This molecular re-orientation increases the strength of the pipe in the
Figure 3: Elastomeric Gasket-Joint
The elastomeric gaskets are made per ASTM F477, Elastomeric Seals (Gasket) for Joining Plastic Pipe. With proper assembly, there is usually enough of a gap between the spigot-end and the neck of the bell to allow for expansion as well as angular deflection. Gravity pipe and fittings are made and tested to the requirements of ASTM D3212, Joints for Drain and Sewer Plastic Pipes Using Flexible Elastomeric Seals. Uni-Bell’s Handbook of PVC Pipe: Design and Construction, recommends an infiltration/exfiltration
Figure 4: Butt-Fused Fusible PVC Joint
Fusible PVC pipe manufacture is possible because of two significant developments. First, a unique patent pending formulation which meets all guidelines for components as detailed in the Plastics Pipe Institute’s (PPI) Technical Report No. 2, PPI PVC Range Composition of Qualified Ingredients — all ingredients in the formulation meet the qualification standard. This allows PVC pipe to be extruded in standard diameters and wall
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thicknesses. The pipe exhibits all basic characteristics of conventional PVC pipe for pressure capability, tensile strength, external load capability, etc. —- its cell classification is 12454B, per requirements of ASTM D1784. The second development was the fusion procedure. The UGSI fusible line utilizes standard butt fusion equipment for the joining of the pipe. A unique set of temperatures, pressures and duration of fusion steps allow for the pipe to fuse and create joints that are essentially as strong as the original pipe material. The fusion procedure takes about the same length of time as other thermoplastics fusion joints such as HDPE. Other Joint Types: Solvent-welded joints are typically used for plumbing applications. However, some older utilities in the U.S. still allow solvent-welded PVC pipe to be used in municipal gravity applications. ASTM D2672, Joints for IPS PVC Pipe Using Solvent Cement, and ASTM D 2855, Practice for Making SolventCemented Joints with Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Pipe and Fittings, are commonly used for solvent-welded joints. Another type of joint, used only for
PVC plumbing products, is the threaded, screw-on type. ASTM D2464, Threaded Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Plastic Pipe Fittings, Schedule 80, is an example. There are two proprietary restrainedjoint PVC pipes, TerraBrute and CertaLok, details of which are provided in Table 4. Both products are used in pullin-place trenchless applications.
PVC pressure pipe standards
PVC pressure pipes find their use in potable water distribution and transmission, as well as in sanitary sewer force mains. The hydrostatic design basis (HDB) of PVC pressure pipe is the hoop stress value from which the long-term pressure rating of the material is established. It is the starting point for deterTable 1: PVC Pressure Pipe Standards mining the presStandard HDB (psi) Factor of Surge Available sure capacity of Safety Allowance Diameters (in) a given wall ASTM D2241 4000 2.0 NO 4 – 36* thickness. AWWA C900 4000 2.5 YES 4 – 12 AWWA and AWWA C905 4000 2.0 NO 14 – 48 ASTM standards AWWA C909 7100 2.5 YES 4 – 24 for conventional ASTM F1483 6810 / 6040 2.0 NO 4 – 16 PVC pressure * Diameters of 1/8-inch through 3.5-inch available with solvent-welded joints pipe have an
HDB of 4,000 psi. For PVCO (molecularly oriented PVC) standards, an HDB of 7,100 psi range is used. Due to this difference, PVCO has a thinner wall than PVC pipe of the same diameter. There are currently five widely used PVC pressure pipe standards: ASTM D2241, AWWA C900, AWWA C905, AWWA C909 and ASTM F1483. The first three are conventional PVC, while the latter two are PVC-O. Table 1 summarizes some of the properties of each of the previously mentioned standards: While ASTM D2241 was, and still is, used primarily in the rural water market after its introduction in 1964, AWWA C900 was the first widely specified PVC
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pressure piping standard for larger, urban utilities. Introduced in 1975, AWWA C900 incorporated a higher factor of safety than its predecessor, and also included a surge allowance. In the diameter range of 4-inch through 12-inch, this standard is most widely used in distribution systems, which is characterized by looped systems, with numerous and frequent lateral connections; hence this standard incorporated a surge allowance and a higher factor of safety. C905 was published in 1988, and because of its diameter range of 14-inch through 48inch, the standard was designed for use in transmission and force main lines. Transmission systems are characterized by fewer service connections than found in distribution networks, generally higher velocities, and fewer barrier effects. Like ASTM D2241, it has a factor of safety of 2.0 and no surge allowance. The fewer barrier effects in transmission lines enable easier accounting for surges, which is incorporated into the system design.
Table 2: ASTM Gravity PVC Pipe Standards
PVC gravity pipe standards
Non-pressure PVC pipes have been in use in the U.S. since the early 1960’s. Today, PVC gravity pipe is used in sanitary sewer, storm sewer and highway drainage and culvert applications. There are two main groups of PVC gravity pipe —- solid wall and profile wall. There are seven widely used solid and profile wall pipe standards: ASTM D3034, ASTM F679, AASHTO M278, ASTM F794, ASTM F949, ASTM F1803 and AASHTO M304. Solid wall pipe, as the name suggests, is made of a continuous wall of PVC of uniform thickness. Profile wall pipe, on the other hand, is braced spirally or circumferentially with structural shapes, but provides a smooth-wall interior. Profile pipes economize on the amount of material needed for fabrication; by altering the shape of the wall, the same stiffness as solid-wall pipe is achieved, using less material. Profile wall pipe generally fall into three categories —- open profile (OP), closed profile (CP), and dual wall corrugated profile (DWCP). OP pipe have their rib-enforcements exposed on the outside of the pipe. CP pipe make use of a closed profile that provides a continuous outer wall where the wall sections are hollow and are often described as an I-beam or honeycomb. DWCP pipe has a smooth-wall waterway, braced circumferentially with an external corrugated wall. While all PVC pressure pipe standards are manufactured only to cell classification 12454 (tensile strength of 7,000 psi, modulus of elasticity of 400,000), some
sewer pipe standards allow manufacture of both cell classifications 12454 and 12364 (minimum tensile strength of 6,000 psi, minimum modulus of elasticity of 440,000 psi). For all practical purposes, pipe manufactured to either formulation perform very well under buried conditions. Table 2 summarizes various properties of the previously listed ASTM standards. AASHTO M278 is similar in scope to ASTM D3034, with the exception that the former also allows for perforated wall. As an AASHTO standard, the application of this type of pipe is for subsurface drainage and surface drainage (culverts) of transportation facilities. AASHTO M304 ranges in diameters of 4-inch through 48-inch, but what sets it apart from ASTM standards is the wide variation of allowable pipe stiffness. While all ASTM solid and profile wall standards have a minimum pipe stiffness of 46 psi, AASHTO M304 pipe stiffness can go
down to as low as 12 psi for the largest diameter of 48-inch. In addition to the requirements for watertight joints, this standard also calls for soil-tight joints, per AASHTO Specifications for Highway Bridges, Division II, Section 23. Profiles can be of all three described for the ASTM profile pipe standards: OP, CP, and DWCP.
Trenchless PVC products
The reality of underground piping construction today has evolved into a combination of both open-cut and trenchless processes. While open-cut installations continue to be the standard method of installing pipe particularly for new construction, advances in the field of trenchless technology have given engineers and contractors numerous tools with which to alleviate the challenges of underground construction in highly developed urban settings. To meet the demand for trenchless construction, several PVC piping
Table 3: PVC Trenchless Products by Installation Method
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pressure after placement into a deteriorating host pipe. In gravity lines, this procedure ultimately provides a close-fit liner with the host pipe that gives some structural support as well as improved flow characteristics. The only PVC lining system for water distribution and transmission, Duraliner, gives a stand-alone structural system capable of withstanding internal pressure of up to 150 psi, Table 6.
Table 4: PVC Proprietary-Joint Segmental Sliplining Products
This comprehensive state-of-the-art review of PVC piping products attempts to provide design engineers and specifiers with up-to-date information, which will be helpful when using, or considering the use of PVC pipe, for water and sewer capital improvement projects as well as rehabilitation of deteriorating pipelines. With the rapidly rising need for rehabilitation of failing buried piping systems, innovations particularly in the field of trenchless technology are taking place, and consequently, new types of piping solutions are becoming available in the marketplace. listing of three widely used proprietaryjoint segmental slipliners. Horizontal Directional Drilling Products: For the purpose of pull-inplace applications, in addition to Fusible PVC discussed earlier, there are two other proprietary restrained-joint products, Table 5. Close Fit Pipe Lining Products: Closefit pipe lining is the generic name of a trenchless pipeline rehabilitation process where new thermoplastic pipe that is modified in cross section before installation, is reformed to its original size and shape by the application of heat and About this article: This paper contains excerpts from two previous publications by the author, Shah Rahman: State-of-the-Art Review of Municipal PVC Piping Products — presented at the ASCE Pipeline 2004 Conference in San Diego, CA, summer 2004. Chapter 6 - Pipe Materials, in Trenchless Technology : Pipeline and Utility Design, Construction, and Renewal by Mohammed Najafi, The book will be published by McGraw-Hill in winter 2004. Rahman wrote the chapter in its entirety, and the material was reviewed by Dr. Reynold Watkins of Utah State University. About the author: Shah Rahman is regional vice-president of technical marketing for Underground Solutions. Rahman is a civil engineering graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, and also holds a graduate degree in marketing from Southern Methodist University. Prior to joining Underground Solutions, he spend four years as the marketing director and a regional engineer for the Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association. Rahman can be contacted at (972) 243-1300.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: PVC pipe: Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association, (972) 2433902, or circle reader service number #159
Table 6: Close-Fit Pipe Lining PVC Options www.undergroundconstructiononline.com October 2004 Underground Construction 61
Table 5: Restrained-Joint PVC Products for HDD
products have been developed in recent years. Examples are listed in Table 3. The three main types of trenchless processes for which the available PVC standards and products are designed include sliplining (rehabilitation), horizontal directional drilling (new construction) and close-fit pipe lining (rehabilitation). Sliplining Products: Sliplining can be categorized into four unique types — segmental, spirally wound, man-entry profile strip and continuous. The process is used for rehabilitation of both gravity and pressure systems. Table 4 provides a
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