Pipe Failure

Smithers Rapra has extensive experience investigating plastic pipe system failures, and can provide a root cause diagnosis.

The transportation of liquids and gases from one point to another has become an integral part of our lives. Plastic pipe systems (extruded pipes and injection moulded fittings) are used in many service installations including potable water, water heating, sprinklers or compressed air and in underground applications such as sewerage and land drainage. The application will dictate the type of pipe system specified - for example systems based on UPVC, CPVC, ABS, etc. 

With most pipe system installations consisting of kilometres of pipe and potentially thousands of fittings, failures over time are an unfortunate but common occurrence.

Our experience shows these typically originate from four key sources:

  • Faults in the original pipe or joint components (manufacturing)
  • Faulty installation / engineering (workmanship)
  • Contamination effects, e.g. solvent cement effects (environment)
  • System operating outside of design criteria (end-user operation)

The consequences of such failure can vary dramatically dependent on the final application and location - from small scale failures in the home to potentially catastrophic industrial installation failures with significant associated damage and financial loss.

Supported by our extensive microscopy, analytical, material and product testing laboratories Smithers Rapra are able to fully characterise polymer composition and mechanical performance in order to assess the cause of product / material failure. This can involve recommendations for remedial or corrective actions to minimise the risk of further failure. Our capabilities and experience investigating plastic pipe system failures provides valuable support to the service installation sector.

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