Extensive testing on PVC sewer pipes towards identifying the factors that affect their operational lifetime

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Abstract

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sewer pipes have operated for decades in a hostile environment, raising concern among sewer managers over the longevity of their drainage systems. Inspection data (CCTV and Panoramo®) reveals that severe defects have already surfaced, yet it is unknown if the material properties of PVC sewers have been affected. In order to address this issue, extensive testing (among others flexural and tensile tests, FT-IR, X-ray, viscosity measurements) was conducted on eight exhumed PVC sewer pipes (16–43 years old) with known defects and one brand-new for reference purposes. Visual examination during excavation revealed various failure causes, including uncontrolled handling of the pipes during construction or due to digging activities in the direct vicinity of the pipes. The test results indicate that physical ageing is extensively detected while other degradation mechanisms had minimal or no effect on the investigated pipes. However, mechanical testing on exhumed 3-layer pipes show that the incorporation of layered wall constructions is potentially a critical factor for the structural status of the pipe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalStructure and Infrastructure Engineering
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Ageing
  • degradation
  • inspection
  • plastic pipes
  • polymer testing
  • PVC
  • sewers

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