Richard St-Aubin, Dr. Thomas O’Rourke, Dr. Brad Wham, Blake Berger
Papers # 2018 Las-Vegas
Molecularly oriented polyvinyl chloride (PVC-O) pipe has been found to withstand large ground deformation during seismic events without damage. The properties of PVC-O pipe that support this performance have been investigated in a multi-year testing program undertaken at the Geotechnical Lifelines Large Scale Testing Facility at Cornell University. The objectives of the program were to characterize the material properties and mechanical performance of PVC-O pipelines, and to evaluate the pipe’s response to the most severe form of earthquake-induced ground deformation in a full scale physical simulation of fault rupture. Based on the results of the first phase of testing, the pipe was modified to improve its performance, and the testing program repeated. The final results show that the modified design PVC-O pipelines can accommodate large ground deformation and are suitable for installation in seismically active areas.
Buried infrastructure is vulnerable to the soil movements caused by seismic events, and can fail if properly designed piping materials are not specified. Plastic piping systems have many of the qualities required to withstand seismic events including flexibility, enhanced deformation capacity, and corrosion resistance, however molecularly oriented pipe (PVC-O) is particularly well suited for this application due to its higher strength and ease of installation. Given these characteristics, IPEX and Cornell University embarked on a comprehensive research project to evaluate how AWWA C909 PVC-O pipe reacts to seismic ground deformation, and also to study the performance of an innovative new joining system designed to enhance the seismic performance of the pipeline.