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Ductile Iron vs PVC–Superior Toughness of PVC Pipes

The US is currently going through a major period of infrastructure debate with old systems now in desperate need of repairs / replacement. One particular lobby group is heavily involved in pushing Government bodies and local authorities to replace outdated pipe systems with old technology Ductile Iron pipes. This lobby group is actively pushing claims of Ductile Iron being superior to PVC Pipes. 

My esteemed US colleague, Greg Baird, Aging Water Infrastructure Consulting LLC has spent some time reviewing these facts and offers some well researched and proven truths. In a series of blogs, we’ll look at some of the claims and give you the well researched, well proven facts on Ductile Iron vs PVC for pipes.

CLAIM - One way to ensure our nation (USA) gets it right for the long term is to use Ductile Iron pipe instead of weaker, less proven PVC for our water infrastructure projects.

The truth about PVC

Considering their relative low weight, PVC pipes are strong and durable. This makes PVC pipes suitable for all types of long-term applications, including domestic water, sewerage, stormwater and deep underground piping systems. It stays strong through a range of temperatures, resulting in fewer burst pipes and other maintenance issues.

Under normal circumstances, modified and oriented PVC pipes possess high resistance to impact damage when compared to pipes made ductile iron. View a video of Extreme Field Testing PVC Pipes vs Ductile Iron.  Even though PVC pipes do exhibit a reduction in impact strength at very low temperatures, this is not relevant to water supply in Australia. The long-term tensile strength is significantly higher than that of corroded ductileironand other thermoplastic pipe materials.



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