Norbert Jansen, Albert Lueghamer
Papers # 2018 Las-Vegas
Demand for polyethylene (PE) pipe continues to grow on a global basis. The performance properties of this tough, durable piping material are widely recognized by the engineering and design community on a worldwide scale and the range of applications expands. The evolutionary trend in PE piping systems has been very well documented through major advancements in resin technology, pipe extrusion capability, joining mechanisms and installation techniques. With each advance in these critical areas, the breadth of applications for PE piping systems has continued to grow.
The most recent step in the continuing evolution of PE piping systems is the introduction of extremely large diameter (< 3500 mm). Conventionally extruded solid wall PE pipe, believed to be limited to 2500 mm currently and wall thicknesses that were once thought infeasible.
This paper will summarize the success and many of the innovations that were required to advance PE pipe production to this latest level. Without advancements in feedstock resin capability and extrusion technology, conventional extrusion of PE pipe in this size range would be problematic. It goes without saying, that extremely large diameter PE pipe requires extremely large diameter fittings and a means of joining those components. Furthermore those large PE pipes requires a mind-set change on delivery to the job site. This paper will conclude with an overview of some of the applications for which these new extremely large PE pipe systems are preferred as compared to metallic, concrete or even more exotic piping materials. From an understanding of the factors that have contributed to the introduction of these extremely large diameter PE pipe systems, we believe the evolutionary trend for PE will be sustained well into the future.