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Unveiling the Strength: A Guide to Reinforced Concrete Pipes

Reinforced concrete pipes are utilized in various ways. From being used in sewer systems to irrigation for farmlands, these pipes are known for their strength and durability, which are built to last.

However, these pipes require proper handling during transportation and when installed. This article will dive deeper into reinforced concrete pipes.

1. An Overview of Reinforced Concrete Pipes

Reinforced concrete pipes are piping used to direct liquid or water flow. They are typically installed in roadways, irrigation and sewage systems, and many more. These pipes are made of pre-casted cement reinforced with steel rebar.

Unlike the common pipes that require regular replacements over a few years or so, RCPs don’t require replacement that often. Reinforced concrete pipes are very resilient and are known to last for a long time.

Residents and road users alike aren’t disturbed often when it’s time to replace the pipes since, on average, it takes a century before RCPs require replacing.

2. How do you install reinforced concrete pipes?

Installing RCPs requires much preparation before they can be placed in their designated areas. There are five steps that contractors follow when they are about to install reinforced concrete pipes. This will cover the installation steps one by one: 

2.1. Transportation and Handling

The task looks harder than it seems because you don’t want to damage the bell and the spigot of the pipes. Proper transportation of RCPs isn’t done by dragging them to the site. Instead, they’re unloaded with the use of nylon slings or any material that’s capable of carrying them.

1.2. Excavation

Set up trenches before placing them in the pipes. The space must be wide enough to accommodate two pipes at a minimum to verify the slopes.

Aside from verifying the slopes, proper spacing ensures that any subsequent trenching will not interfere with installing the pipes or put workers at risk. The pipe slope is established during excavation and is then followed by laying down the bedding material.

Take note that the bedding material must have a consistent surface and doesn’t have any debris. Uneven surfaces with debris can damage the pipes. Another note is that pipes must not be supported on their bells to prevent damage.

1.3. Preparation of the Joining Surfaces of the Pipes

Before installation takes place, both RCP sections, the bell, and the fixture must be cleaned. There must be no dirt present on the surfaces. Uneven surfaces will cause the pipes to not properly home in and connect. Once the dirt is removed, workers will add lubricant to the bell section of the pipe using either gloves or brushes.

The pipe fixture is then cleaned and lubricated once the bell is done to ensure a clean and easy connection with the joints. There must be a sufficient application of lubricants on the pipes. The last thing you want is to see the gasket rolling off and damaging the bell section of the pipe.

1.4. Installation

Once the joining surfaces are prepared, it’s time to install the RCPs into their designated spots. Installation requires a minimum of two workers to manage the RCPs. Each pipe is lowered into the excavation by a crane or a backhoe. The workers act as guides to place the pipe segment into place properly.

Normally, connecting the pipes is done by inserting the new pipe’s spigot end into the installed pipe’s bell end. Sections are then fastened into place by either crowbars or pipe pullers. 

However, this is not the case for all RCPs. Some RCPs require the bell gasket to be stretched using a rounding device. The device passes over the gasket’s circumference multiple times to ensure it’s ready. 

1.5. Backfilling the RCPs

With the final step, the trench gets filled cautiously with compact yet fine backfill material through lifts. The trench is filled up until about a foot above the top of the pipe. Once that’s done, more filling materials are placed on top of the backfill material to finish the job.

The backfill material must not contain boulders or organic material such as roots. These can damage the pipe and affect its durability and longevity.

Also, heavy construction equipment must not drive over the area where the pipes are. Wait until there’s enough backfill or if the pipe is placed so deep that it will unlikely get damaged.

2. What’s More Cost-Friendly? Metal Pipes or RCPs?

RCPs are easily more cost-friendly. When factoring in replacing the pipes, RCPs win in the long run, as they take up to a century before needing replacement

On the other hand, metal pipes are a bit random in the longevity department. Metal pipes can be random in terms of longevity because of the chemical properties of the water in the area.

Even if the pipes are galvanized to withstand corrosion, they’ll still need replacement once the water’s chemicals remove the protection.

3. Aside from the City’s Sewage System and Irrigation, Where Do RCPs Use?

These large concrete pipes are also used in storm sewers and water treatment plants. It would be best to use large pipes to direct excess water flow from storms or provide clean and treated water and an exit towards a river.

4. To Wrap It All Up

Indeed, RCP installation is a meticulous and precise process since it aims to install them without letting them sustain damage. A well-installed reinforced concrete pipe will last for a lifetime. It will take up to a century before these pipes require replacement.

Thus, the durability and longevity of RCPs make them an efficient and cost-friendly way to maintain water flow systems.

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