Repairing Pipes One Burst at a Time

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Pipe bursting is a method that is of replacing underground pipes like sewer, water and natural gas. It is a trenchless method that foregoes the need of the typical construction trench. This actually completely replaces the trench that is used in conventional pipe laying.

There are five main parts of the equipment that is used for pipe bursting. First the expander head, then the pulling rods, a pulling machine, a retaining device and also a hydraulic power pack.

The first time pipe bursting was developed was in the 1980’s. It was used to replace small cast iron gas lines through the drains. Since then, it has grown in popularity and acceptance as it was proven to be a very effective method for replacing pipelines of all kinds of sizes, materials and functions.

The expander head has a much smaller leading end than the bursting end so it is small enough to fit inside the pipe that needs to be replaced. The reason for the smaller leading end is that it is made to guide the expander through the current pipeline as well as fit through the drains. This is a more recent development, manufactured because the earlier models would get lost in the pipe sometimes which would result in in complete pipe bursting and thus project failure.

The ‘fins’ on the leading end of the expander pipe are what first makes contact with the pipe and these fins are the primary breaking point. It’s a good way to make sure that the pipe is actually broken alone the entire area.

In the receiving pit, a machine must be set up to pull the expander head and also the new pipe into the actual line. The machine has heavy links like a chain that pulls the expander through. Each link on the chain weighs a few hundred pounds each.

The hydraulic power packs are used to power the entire operation.

The method of pipebursting can also be used to increase the efficiency of a pipeline can replace a smaller pipe with a bigger one. Pipes can be upsized from about 100mm to 225mm as well as of up to 36 inches larger in diameter and greater. This method can also be used in a variety of site conditions and soil. Even now, advancements are being made for even bigger pipes and smaller pipes as well.

The method is also known as pipe splitting because that uses the same idea to replace pipes that otherwise would need cutting like steel, iron and plastic. Typically, pipe splitting uses cutters to slice open the pipe while an expansion part opens the pipe making space for the new pipe.

All kinds of repair to drains really is much more efficient with this trenchless pipe replacement method because it takes a much shorter time as well as not having to rip up an entire foundation to get to the pipeline. Keeping up with sewer repair is imperative to keeping our generation functioning well and this method makes it much easier to do that.

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