When touting the benefits of polyethylene (PE) pipes, the question of cost invariably comes up. While its sticker price may be comparable to steel and PVC, the long-term cost benefits of using PE pipes and fittings are unique to the material. Furthermore, PE products made with higher resin grades, such as PE 100-RC, offer even better cost reduction benefits often overlooked in the United States, which has traditionally preferred steel or PVC.
This article will explain the technical qualities of PE 100-RC, practical benefits during installation, and long-term cost reduction during operation.
A better alternative
For decades, steel was the go-to material for in-plant piping systems, water storage, transmission and distribution mains, service lines, and residential and commercial buildings (1). However, our understanding of corrosion and its effects on system performance revealed drawbacks to the ubiquity of steel and other materials susceptible to corrosion. Large corrosion patches are the primary cause for failure, while pitting can reduce pipe flow capacity. Using materials that resist corrosion is the most cost-effective way to create an efficient water supply system (2).
In contrast, one of the core benefits of using PE 100-RC is its corrosion resistance. Fittings made with this material do not corrode, rust, rot, pit, tuberculate, or support biological growth. The material’s corrosion resistance also means that fittings do not need frequent replacements or maintenance, as seen with other materials. Other benefits of PE 100-RC include stress crack resistance, long service life, chemical resistance, and improved durability. These features also help streamline installations.
Reduce costs with a streamlined installation
Beyond corrosion, pipes and fittings made with PE 100-RC are easy to install thanks to their durability and stress crack resistance. Installers can weld PE 100-RC fittings together to help create leak-free joints to avoid problems such as infiltration and exfiltration.
Electrofusion fittings made with PE 100 offer a better installation experience thanks to electrofusion welding. The electrofusion welding method uses a specialized fitting with a fully embedded heating wire around the welding zone that ensures precise welding and risk reduction. Installers secure the fitting to the pipe and connect it to an electrofusion processor. The processor then generates heat to the fitting, which produces a homogenous weld between the pipe and the fitting.
Reduce costs with PE 100-RC
PE 100-RC helps create piping systems with lower pumping costs throughout its service life. Fittings made with PE 100-RC are less susceptible to biofouling, pitting, or other factors that increase the inner roughness coefficient. The roughness coefficient is one factor that decides the water flow capacity. While most pipe and fitting products use materials with a roughness coefficient that changes as the inner surface collects debris, PE 100-RC products stay smooth.
Another benefit of using PE 100-RC is maintenance cost reduction. For example, welded PE 100-RC fittings are considered leak-free and homogenous compared to other joining methods. Additionally, products made with this material have a proven service life of over 100 years. Due to its robustness and excellent service history, industries with a mission-critical need for sustained water supply have become early adopters of PE 100-RC.
PE 100-RC fittings by AGRU
AGRU America uses PE 100-RC to manufacture high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pressure pipe fittings. These products use the newest generation of Plastic Pipe Institute (PPI) and National Science Foundation (NSF) recommended materials and are part of the AGRULINE product line. AGRULINE pipes and fitting meet a range of standards, including ASTM D3261, ASTM D2513, ASTM F2880, NSF 61, FM Approval, and AWWA C906. Furthermore, PE 100-RC pipes and fittings are more accessible and cheaper to install than steel and reinforced concrete and offer higher safety in regions with expected seismic activity. AGRU differentiates itself as a plastics manufacturer through flexible, solution-oriented service. AGRU’s approach allows the company to be a one-stop shopping point for all piping needs. For example, AGRULINE components are designed for interoperability and stocked to ensure reliable on-time delivery. AGRU also offers technical support and training for fusion welding.
- 1. “Corrosion Manual for Internal Corrosion of Water Distribution Systems.” (1984).
- 2. Kodikara et al., “Lessons Learned from Large-Diameter Pipe Failure Case Studies.” Pipelines. (2017).
- 3. Maingi, “High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) as a Replacement Material for Carbon Steel Pipes in Geothermal Projects.” KenGen. (2017). https://publications.mygeoenergynow.org/grc/1033763.pdf.