Johnathan Andrew Cholewa
A thesis submitted to the Department of Civil Engineering
In conformity with the requirements for
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
(April, 2009)


Polymer pipes, typically high density polyethylene (HDPE), can be pulled-into-place, avoiding traditional cut-and-cover construction, using pipe bursting and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) pipe installation techniques. Of particular interest, are the ground displacements, induced by cavity expansion, associated with these techniques and the strains that develop in existing pipes in response to these displacements. Further, the axial stressstrain response of the new HDPE pipe during and after the cyclic pulling force history required to pull the pipe into place is of interest.

Surface displacements and strains in an adjacent polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe induced by static pipe bursting were measured during the replacement of a new unreinforced concrete pipe, buried 1.39 m below the ground surface, within a test pit filled with a wellgraded sand and gravel. For the pipe bursting geometry tested, the maximum vertical surface displacement measured at the ground surface was 6 mm, while the distribution of vertical surface displacements extended no more than 2 m on either side of the centreline. The maximum longitudinal strain measured in the PVC pipe was less than 0.1% and its vertical diameter decreased by only 0.5%, suggesting that pipe bursting did not jeopardize the longterm performance of the water pipe tested.

In addition, results from identical stress relaxation and creep tests performed on whole pipe samples and coupons trimmed from a pipe wall were compared, and these demonstrated that the coupons exhibited higher modulus than the pipe samples. Therefore, isolated pipe samples, as opposed to coupons, were tested to quantify the stress-strain response of HDPE pipe during the simulated installation, strain recovery, and axial restraint stages of HDD. Axial strains were found to progressively accumulate when an HDPE pipe sample was subjected to the cyclic stress history used to simulate an HDD installation. It was shown that existing linear and nonlinear viscoelastic models can serve as predictive design tools for estimating the cyclic strain history of HDPE pipe during installation. For the specific conditions examined, the tensile axial stresses redeveloped in the pipe samples, once restrained, were not large enough to lead to long-term stress conditions conducive to slow crack growth even when the short-term performance limits were exceeded by a factor of 1.5.

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