The Pipe Bursting Process
Pipe bursting involves using a winch to pull a heavy duty polyethylene pipe through an old pipeline of equal or smaller size. The old pipeline
is shattered using a high-powered tool with special bursting heads that smash through the old pipe while pulling through the new replacement
pipe. When pulled into the old pipe, the bursting head breaks the pipe into pieces, enlarges the hole and pushes the fragments into the
surrounding soil. This limits pipe bursting to pipes that can be fractured and to soil conditions that will absorb the old fragments.
The pipe bursting process links: Pneumatic
Developed for the natural gas industry in the late 1970s, pipe bursting has found new applications in the municipal area for replacement
of watermains and gravity sewers. Recent advances in bursting head technology has produced three kinds of pipe bursting technology each
of which uses a different bursting head: hydraulic, pneumatic or cone cracking. While the range of pipe size and length is constantly
increasing, pipe rehabilitation projects have involved pipe diameters of 3" to as much as 30" and straight pulls of HDPE pipe as long as
1500 feet. As pipe bursting technology advances, different types of pipe material can be replaced. At the moment, pipe materials include
vitrified clay pipe, asbestos cement pipe, truss pipe, reinforced and unreinforced concrete pipe, and cast iron pipe.