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HDPE vs Steel Pipeline

HDPE Carbon Steel


Limited in size (max. diameter 2500mm)
Required smaller trench (due to thinner
Required wider trench.
concrete coating)
Liquefaction of the backfill material, caused
PE pipe would "pop up" through the backfill by wave action, would be another reason to
use steel pipe.
High thermal expansion but creeps and
loses strength (above 40C).
Highly resistant to abrasion (HDPE 1986)

Unit conversion
Unit1 Unit 2
Flow rate 1.019 m3/s 36 ft3/3

Potential issues to raise:


1. How one could possibly do a demanding underwater job (at least successfully) for a two
thousand four hundred cubic feet per second flow quantity with a pvc pipeline? Likewise,
Im rough guessing that it might take in parallel something like 15 or 20 of even the very
largest hdpe pipelines available (assuming they were acceptable in all other respects for such
installation?) to come close to handling that magnitude of flow volume at reasonable flow
velocity for plastic pipes!
2. Most HDPE outfalls are installed by the Float and Flood method and this needs to cater for in the
design as air in the pipe during operation could bring the pipe to the surface.
3. Behaviour of HDPE pipe under axial tension, bending moment, bending stress.
4. Design concrete collars on the pipe. When computing the volume of concrete per linear foot
pipe anchorage, use the submerged weight of concrete. Concrete weighs 150 pounds per
cubic foot in the air and 87.6 pounds per cubic foot submerged.