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Title:An Investigation into Freezing and Bursting Water Pipes in Residential Construction
Author(s):Gordon, Jeffrey R.
Water systems
Abstract:Pipe bursting due to freezing is a severe problem in the U.S. Insurance company estimates show that more than $4 billion has been spent in repairs due to pipe bursting in the last ten years. The problem is more severe in the southern US than in the northern US, where more effective and consistent measures are taken for plumbing pipe protection. This research shows how pipe bursts occur. A commonly held view, that ice growth simply pushes against pipe walls, is not correct. Pipe bursting occurs when 1) freezing temperatures create ice blockages in water pipes, then 2) further ice growth applies dangerously high pressures to a confined water volume. This understanding of the rupture mechanism has been confirmed in two years of laboratory and field studies. Pipe bursting is preventable. As always, placement of water pipes in conditioned, heated spaces remains the principal strategy for preventing bursting. Because pipe bursting is shown to be due to elevated water pressure, several other prevention approaches can be taken.
Issue Date:1996
Publisher:Building Research Council. School of Architecture. College of Fine and Applied Arts. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Series/Report:Research Report 96-1
Genre:Technical Report
Sponsor:Insurance Institute for Property Loss Reduction
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-23

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