Installation Technique for Ductile Iron Pipe


Ductile iron is a descendant of cast iron and was introduced into the construction marketplace in 1955. Ductile iron has all of the properties of cast iron such as machinability and corrosion resistance, but adds significant improvements including more strength, lighter weight and enhanced durability. According to the Canada Pipe Company LTD, ductile iron pipe is recognized as one of the best construction materials on the market today and is chosen for thousands of water and wastewater systems over other pipe materials such as PVC, polyethylene, steel and concrete.

Ductile Iron Superiority

  • Water and wastewater pipes are subjected to a dozens of natural and man-made forces such as internal pressure, excavation, cyclic loads, frozen ground, earth pressure, deep trenches and construction handling. According to the Ductile Iron Pipe Research Association, ductile iron pipes provide exceptional strength and durability against these forces due to an improved manufacturing process that alters the graphite qualities of iron. Ductile iron pipe is made with a spherical graphite form rather than the flake form normally found in cast iron pipe, which makes ductile iron the clear choice for many applications.

    Ductile iron's superior strength can be shown by its maximum psi tensile strength of 60,000 as opposed to a standard PVC pipe psi tensile strength of around 7,500. This ductile iron pipe strength enables it to resist elemental pressures, thus reducing the need for maintenance.

    Ductile iron pipe permits the greatest inside diameter of any pipe material, giving it superior hydraulic capabilities as well. Ductile iron pipe can be tapped and installed on site without losing its superior physical attributes, and requires less support than other pipe types. Unprotected ductile iron pipe may still corrode over a long period of time, so manufacturers use a polyethylene casing to coat the pipe, protecting it from corrosive substances found in the ground.

Ductile Iron Pipe Installation

  • Before beginning your iron pipe installation, decide what type of installation you will use. Ductile iron pipe is installed in a trench in one of five possible ways. Type one installation is the simplest and requires only that the pipe be placed at the bottom of the trench covered by loose fill dirt. Type two occurs when the pipe is placed at the bottom of the trench with backfill lightly consolidated to the central line of the pipe. In type three installation the pipe is bedded atop four inches of loose soil, with consolidated backfill placed up to the top of the pipe. Type four is when the pipe is bedded atop sand, gravel or crushed stone, while compacted backfill is placed up to the top of the pipe. Type five is where the pipe is bedded atop loose granular material with compacted granular material placed up to the top of the pipe.

    According to th Canada Pipe Company LTD, to assemble the joints of two push-on pipes, thoroughly clean out the receiving bell and beveled plain ends of the two pipes, trimming off any sharp points with a file. After ensuring the casket--which seals the connection between the two pipes--fits, insert it into the recessed area of the bell with the small end facing the bell face. Apply lubricant to the inner surface of the gasket on one pipe and the beveled plain end of the other. Guide the plain end into the bell while maintaining a straight alignment. After the ductile pipe is installed, proceed with the necessary deflection.

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