SERVICE LIFE OF HDPE CORRUGATED PIPE
The design service life of corrugated high density polyethylene (HDPE) drainage pipe has been a subject of considerable research over the past
several years. While significant long-term performance data is available for smooth-walled polyethylene pipe, the data for corrugated drainage
pipes has been somewhat limited until now. The long-term results shown in the corrugated pipe service life ad are based on the utilization of
some of the current widely-accepted methods employed by the plastic pipe industry, while modifying them somewhat to take into account the unique
geometry and installation conditions of buried corrugated pipe.
The process for long-term service life prediction is two-fold: First, the anticipated service conditions of the drainage pipe must be assessed,
including such factors as environmental conditions, soil and traffic loads, and the resulting long-term stresses and strains evident in the pipe.
Second, the capacity of the material and the manufactured pipe product must be assessed.
The service conditions of the pipe will vary by geographic location, based on temperature and soil and traffic loads. While deep installations may
result in large compressive stresses on the pipe, shallow installation are more subject to bending and tensile stresses. Although these stress
levels are typically lower in magnitude than the compressive stresses associated with deep burial conditions, they are considered a limiting
condition as the material is more prone to failure in tension rather than compression.
The capacity of the material to resist failure is the second factor that must be addressed. Based on its wide use as a piping material (i.e. gas,
water, industrial, oil field, etc.) polyethylene is a highly scrutinized material and its mechanisms of failure are well known. For corrugated
drainage pipe, the primary mechanisms of material failure are slow crack growth and oxidation or chemical failure.
Taking into account the service loads on the pipe and capacity of the HDPE material given its known mechanisms of failure, the latest research suggests
the service life of corrugated HDPE pipe is well in excess of 100 years, even at deflections greater than 5%. For more information, please see the
below published papers from independent studies presented at Plastics Pipes XIII in Washington, DC, as well as the Pluimer paper published at the
ASCE Pipelines Conference in Chicago in 2006.
Evaluate The Long-Term Stress Crack Resistance of
Corrugated HDPE Pipes
Y. Grace Hsuan, J-Y Zhang and W-K Wong
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering,
Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA
Establishing 100-Year Service Life for
HDPE Drainage Pipe
Technical and Engineering Manager, Plastics Pipe Institute,
105 Decker Court, Suite 825
Irving, TX 75062
New Test Method to Determine Effect of Recycled Materials
on Corrugated HDPE Pipe Performance as Projected by the Rate Process Method
Dr. Gene Palermo
Palermo Plastics Pipe Consulting - Friendsville, TN
Patrick Vibien, Dr. Ken Oliphant, Tony Kosari
Jana Laboratories - Aurora, Ontario, CANADA