Pipelines are essential for keeping our societies running, diligently delivering resources like water and natural gas at all hours of the day. It’s vital that these webs of pipes function efficiently without problems. The development and innovation of new materials for pipelines have been important as society grows. Let’s take a look at the different materials used for pipelines.
Wrought iron, also called cast iron, was one of the earliest materials used for pipelines before plastic pipelines were invented. Iron is not typically used for new pipelines, but there are still many iron pipelines in use.
Wrought iron pipes have diligently served us for decades, transporting water and wastewater even as they’re being phased out for HDPE and PVC pipes. The reason they’re being phased out is because of the problems associated with metal—deterioration and corrosion break down pipes and cause damage.
Steel and Concrete
Steel and concrete are typically used together to make concrete pressure pipes. Concrete pressure pipes combine the tensile strength of steel with the compressive strength of concrete. This combination improves structural flexibility, and the concrete casing protects the steel from corrosion. Renowned for their long performance history with low failure rates, concrete pressure pipes provide precise sequencing without special bedding or backfill procedures.
Perhaps the most common material used for pipelines these days is plastic, which is the base material for HDPE and PVC pipes. While many have concerns about plastic, these pipelines are much more environmentally friendly than their counterparts. They’re resistant to heat and chemicals, inherently tough, and non-conductive to electricity. This makes plastic pipelines a safe and efficient option for minimizing failures without being as material-intensive or bulky as concrete pressure pipes.
As we progress into the future, pipelines will remain an essential part of innovation and development in our society. For that reason, we should keep an eye on how pipelines and their materials evolve to become safer and more efficient than ever before.