A New Qualification Method for Butt Fusion Joining of Polyethylene (PE) Pipe and Fittings in the United States [PE]
# 2010 Vancouver
Historically, the procedure for butt fusion joining of polyethylene (PE) pipe in the United States
has been qualified on the basis of two fundamental tests that are widely recognized within the
North American industry. These are the tensile impact (TI) test method found in ASTM F2634
and the bend-back or reverse-bend (RB) practice as described in ASTM F2620. Both of these
methods have been widely used within the industry and both have some specific limitations as it
relates to qualification of butt fusion joining conducted in the field. ASTM F2634 is a highly
sophisticated testing method involving precision instrumented laboratory equipment. This
makes it impractical for an on-site qualification for butt fusion procedures in the field. The RB
test, on the other hand, lends itself to field implementation but as the method is applied to larger
diameter, heavy-walled pipe, safety considerations become a limiting factor.
This paper examines a test method referred to as guided side bend (GSB) testing that has been
developed on an international scale that appears very promising as an alternative to the bendback as described in ASTM F2620. The test method will be fully described and data will be
presented comparing tensile impact results and traditional bend back results to those obtained
using the GSB test method. Discussion of the test results and safety considerations of the
proposed test method will be addressed and conclusions drawn regarding its future applicability
within the United States.
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