Thursday, September 05, 2013
Call for information on polyethylene gas pipes
A project to manage the risks posed by elderly
polyethylene (PE) pipes to distribution networks is calling on
engineers to come forward with their data.
Launched in July 2010 by National Grid-Gas and Scotia Gas
Networks, the objective of "IFI63 PE Asset Life Research" is to
develop a scheme to manage and rank risks to PE distribution
networks. The scheme also aims to demonstrate to regulatory
authorities that control of these primary assets is being
maintained in a safe and planned manner.
MACAW Engineering Ltd is leading the project, which is
being delivered by a team of recognised industry experts from
MACAW, Exova (UK) Ltd, Plasticpipes Ltd and MWH UK Ltd.
An important aspect of the project has been to gather
information on the history of PE materials and their use in the UK.
This information has been recorded in a database and is now
available online via the IGEM website.
MACAW is asking Gas Engineers, either currently working or
retired, to help improve the accuracy of the database by
commenting, correcting or adding to the knowledge base.
Polyethylene (PE) pipes laid over the past 44 years now
constitute around 60 per cent of the gas distribution supply
networks in the UK.
Whilst confidence remains high in the long-term integrity
of PE pipe and fitting materials, it is recognised that some parts
of the installed network are now approaching their original minimum
50 year design life.
It is known that early PE materials were supplied to a
lower standard of stress crack resistance than current pipe
materials. Similar materials installed in the US and Europe have
shown signs of failure at particular points of elevated stress due
to extra bending loads.
In particular, we are seeking information on:
- Information on where the early tan Aldyl A pipe (1969 -
1971) was installed
- Where has orange PE100 pipe for up to 7 bar been used and
in what sizes?
- Pipe & Fitting manufacturers may have further
information on when certain PE grades were used, particularly in
- Dates when particular jointing and installation
techniques were started and possibly stopped
- Information on other installation techniques that are not
- There are many fusion tools described but the list is
unlikely to be complete. Any others?
- Any information on pipe bursting and live mains
insertion. Dates, sizes, locations, etc.
- Installation and dates of PE above ground to meter boxes,
house entry tees, etc.
To view the TimeLine Database and help with this project, please
or contact the project team by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any information you can provide to improve the TimeLine Database
will be appreciated. Hopefully, in time, the Database will
become more comprehensive and accurate.