Zhanjie Wang, Robin Bresser & Cindy Wang
Papers # 2010 Vancouver
The performance of utility pipelines for gas and water during natural disasters such as earthquakes has always been a matter of great concern. In 2008, two unexpected and serious natural disasters occurred in China. The first was the unprecedented cold weather in January, covering 6 provinces in southern China which are normally warm regions in winter and the second was the earthquake in May in Sichuan, which measured 8.0 on the Richter scale and killed over 80 000 people. Following these events investigations of pipe failures have been actively carried out in these areas. The results from the analysis of the water supply networks in some parts of Guizhou, the gas distribution systems in Dujiangyan, and the urban water supply in Mianzhu, Sichuan indicate that there was less damage to PE and DI pipes than pipes made from brittle materials such as concrete and gray cast iron (CI) which exhibited major failures. It was found that whilst the main reason for the failures of the pipelines was due to the destructive power of the natural disasters, other factors such as improper pipe materials, poor product quality and inappropriate installations also contributed. Only a few failures were observed on pipes with a higher toughness, which were correctly installed in good geological conditions and those most recently installed. The results show that in order to improve the resistance of plastic pipes to natural disasters we should only use high quality pipe materials and improve the structural design of the system. To achieve this we need to enhance the product quality management and assist users in selecting those higher quality products and construct the installation in accordance with the code requirements. Meanwhile we should continue to carry out the fundamental research of plastic pipes and propose new product testing methods to simulate the effects of these natural disasters.