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HDPE PE100 pipes – the best solution for water conservation

As per the World Watch Institute, India will be highly water stressed country from 2020, as the availability of water per person per annum has been reduced from 6500 cubic meters to 2500 cubic meters.
Though traditional water pipes have served the water distribution networks for many years, but the inherent corrosion problem and high leakage rates during the life cycle makes it necessary to look for new generation PE100 materials for leak proof, maintenance free and energy efficient pipeline systems.
Among all piping materials, HDPE is the best option due to leak proof fusion welded joints, flexibility, no corrosion/encrustation, uniform pumping cost over the service life and 50-100 years service life. Due to their high service life specified HDPE piping systems offers the lowest whole life costing per litre of delivered water. This encompasses cost of components, cost of installation and cost of ownership in terms of lowest leakage rate and maintenance.
Among all HDPE materials (PE63, PE80 and PE100), specified PE 100 is the best choice for water distribution networks due to lowest weight per unit length among all HDPE, Highest flow area for same pipe OD, highest hydrostatic strength (HS), resistance to Slow Crack Growth (SCG) and Rapid Crack Propagation (RCP).
Specified PE100 black in pre compounded form offers the advantages of uniform distribution and dispersion of carbon black, which works as UV stabiliser. Improper distribution and dispersion by physical blending of colour concentrate with natural pipe material in a pipe extruder may result in premature failure as the agglomerates of carbon black in the pipe wall work as initiation point for failure of pipe.

What is HDPE PE100 ?
According to international standard for PE water pipes ISO 4427, an HDPE material can be certified as PE100, only if it passes 10000 hours Long Term Hydrostatic Strength (LTHS) test extrapolated to 50 years to show that it has a Minimum Required Strength (MRS) of over 10 MPa for a lifetime of minimum 50 years. The test procedure and methodology are well defined in the standards ISO TR 9080 and ISO12162.

Indian PE Pipe Market – Roadblocks against specified PE 100 pipes
Water Pipe Standard of BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) IS 4984 allows any HDPE grade passing 48 or 165 hours short term test to be accepted as PE100. Anywhere else in the world, the norm is to pass 10000 hours test (MRS Classification test) to be certified as PE100.
BIS standard IS4984 accepts any grade self certified as “PE100” and meeting the short term tests, even if it is not tested for MRS classification or SCG (Slow Crack Growth).
Accordingly, only natural HDPE pipe grades are manufactured in India and accepted as PE100 based on self certification without any scientific testing as per international norms.
BIS is not keen on making MRS classification mandatory, until there is a test facility set up in India (while the whole world gets it tested from 3 rd party laboratories).
However, for gas pipes, BIS standard specifies 10000 hours pressure test !
Only about 5% of total PE100 water pipes made in India are made with certified and compounded PE100 material. Whereas in neighboring Nepal , 100% of HDPE water pipes (PE80) are made with certified and compounded materials.

During 1980's HDPE pipes were banned in several states of India as “brittle material” due to rampant usage of reprocessed material and bad manufacturing practices. Today, when HDPE PE100 has become the leading material for water transportation in Europe and many Asian countries, India 's holding on to poor quality standards for HDPE pipes only will lead to more failure in pipelines and wastage of our most precious natural resource – Water.

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