What is a Concrete Pipe? Types and Applications of Concrete Pipes

Concrete pipes are pipes made from concrete. They provide various advantages including, easy installation, superior corrosion resistance, highly durable, environmentally friendly, sustainable, custom-designed fittings, high strength, and low maintenance costs. Because of all these benefits, concrete pipes have become a popular choice for Storm Sewers, Culverts, Underground Detention and Retention Systems, Sanitary sewers, and sometimes water pipelines. In this article, we will discuss concrete pipes, their types, and their applications.

What is a Concrete Pipe?

Concrete pipe is a rigid pipe having very good strength and high longevity (life in the range of 70 to 100 years). They are suitable for various loading conditions and are designed and manufactured based on ASTM C-76, AWWA, and AASHTO M 170. Concrete pipes are being used for a long time mainly in the water and wastewater industries. The oldest known concrete pipe used in a sanitary sewer in the United States (Mohawk, New York) is a 6-inch diameter pipe that is still operating successfully (Reference: https://www.rinkerpipe.com/TechnicalInfo/files/InfoBriefs/IB1003LifeConcretePipe.pdf).

Types of Concrete Pipes

There are four types of concrete pressure pipes found in industries. they are:

  • Prestressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe (PCCP)
  • Reinforced Concrete Cylinder Pipe
  • Reinforced Concrete Non-Cylinder Pipe
  • Pretensioned Concrete Cylinder Pipe

Prestressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe (PCCP)

Prestressed concrete cylinder pipes have a structural, high-strength concrete core, a steel cylinder with steel joint rings welded at each end providing water-tightness, steel prestressing wire, and a portland cement-rich mortar coating. They are usually manufactured in the range of NPS 16 to NPS 144.

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This is the most widely used type of concrete pressure pipe for the transport of water and wastewater in the world. Their typical use includes

  • Water distribution systems,
  • Raw and potable water transmission lines,
  • Gravity and pressure sewers,
  • Industrial process lines,
  • Power plant cooling systems,
  • Water and wastewater treatment plant process lines,
  • Impoundment spillway conduits
  • Sewer outfalls,
  • Raw water intakes, etc

PCCP is suitable for both freshwater and seawater and can be installed in the normal direct-buried condition; as an aerial crossing over canals, rivers, and other obstacles. AWWA C301/C304 provides the design and manufacturing reference for PCCP.

Reinforced Concrete Cylinder Pipes (RCP)

Reinforced concrete pipes are widely used in roadway and site development for transferring a large volume of liquid. They are produced in the size range of 12″ to 144″. Typical applications of reinforced concrete pipes include:

  • Irrigation Industry
  • The construction industry for the transfer of non-potable water underground.
  • City waters in a Storm drain, flooding situation, monsoon water.

In general, reinforced pipes are precast. AWWA Standard C300 provides the design and manufacturing guidelines for RCP pipes.

Reinforced Concrete Noncylinder Pipes

AWWA Standard C302 provides the reference for reinforced concrete non-cylinder pipes. AWWA Manual M9 provides the design guidelines for this type of concrete pipe. One or more reinforcing cages are used along with steel joint rings to manufacture reinforced concrete non-cylinder pipes. They are generally used for a working pressure of up to 380 KPa. These concrete pipes are widely found in tunnel applications, wastewater treatment plants, irrigation industries, combined sewer overflow, underground detention tanks, etc.

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Pretensioned Concrete Cylinder Pipe

AWWA Standard C303 provides the reference of Pretensioned Concrete Cylinder Pipes. They are also known as bar-wrapped concrete cylinder pipes. The interior of the pipe is provided with centrifugally applied mortar or concrete lining. Around the outside of the cylinder, a steel bar is helically wound tightly and securely welded to the steel joint rings. Next, a cement-rich dense mortar coating is applied to the cylinder and bar wrap. These types of concrete pipes are used in cooling water system pipelines, distribution pipelines, open-cut tunnels, sanitary main and trunk gravity lines, wastewater intake lines, etc.

Advantages of Concrete Pipes

As already mentioned, concrete pipes are highly durable and strong pipes. Other benefits of using concrete piping are:

  • Non-flammable
  • Highly resilient
  • Low cost
  • Easy installation
  • Design and Construction flexibility
  • Weather resistant.
  • Corrosion resistant.
  • Can resist both tensile and compressive stress.
  • Can be cast in situ.
  • Suitable for all types of water.

However, concrete pipes can be corroded at the crown by the bacterial decomposition of organic matter present in sewage. Also, they are heavy and transportation and installation costs may be a bit higher.

Anup Kumar Dey

I am a Mechanical Engineer turned into a Piping Engineer. Currently, I work in a reputed MNC as a Senior Piping Stress Engineer. I am very much passionate about blogging and always tried to do unique things. This website is my first venture into the world of blogging with the aim of connecting with other piping engineers around the world.

2 thoughts on “What is a Concrete Pipe? Types and Applications of Concrete Pipes

  1. Dear Mr Anup Kumar Dey,

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  2. Concrete pipes are truly a game-changer in the world of pipe systems. The advantages they offer, such as easy installation and superior corrosion resistance, make them a top choice for various applications. From storm sewers to underground detention systems, these pipes prove their worth. The different types of concrete pipes, like PCCP and RCP, cater to specific needs. Their durability and longevity of up to 100 years are simply remarkable. It’s impressive how concrete pipes continue to evolve and meet the demands of modern infrastructure.

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