Geosynthetic Reinforcement to Protect Underground Pipes against Damage from Construction and Traffic

More than 5,000 significant pipe incidents happened in the United States from 1999 to 2009 that resulted in fatalities, injuries, and significant property damage and loss. Of those serious incidents 25 percent were caused by excavation damage. Therefore, protection of underground pipes against damage from construction and traffic are important and necessary. Unfortunately, no effective method is available so far. This research project will develop a technology using geosynthetic reinforcement to protect underground pipes (either existing or new pipes) against damage from construction or traffic. The geosynthetic reinforcement is laid across the trench between the surface and the top of the pipe. The objective of this research is to determine the level of protection provided to a flexible pipe by a geosynthetic layer. The hypotheses are: the geosynthetic reinforcement over a buried pipe will reduce the stresses and strains in a flexible pipe, caused by a penetrating (simulating excavation during construction) or dynamic surface load (simulating traffic). This research objective will be pursued at the CEAE Department at the University of Kansas using the large-scale geotechnical test box (3 m long x 2 m wide x 2 m high). In this research, the following factors will be investigated: (1) type of backfill in trench (sand and gravel), (2) type of surface cover (sand and gravel); (3) mechanical properties of geosynthetic, (4) depth of geosynthetic, and (5) type of loading (penetrating and cyclic loading). Earth pressure cells, displacement transducers, and strain gauges will be installed around or on the pipe and the geosynthetic to investigate the effects of the above influence factors. The successful completion of this research can advance the technology of using geosynthetic reinforcement to protect underground pipes, and potentially help engineers develop a system that can avoid catastrophes.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Kansas, Lawrence

    Transportation Research Institute
    2117 Learned Hall, 1530 W 15th Street
    Lawrence, KS  United States  66045
  • Principal Investigators:

    Parsons, Robert

    Han, Jie

  • Start Date: 20120601
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20131231
  • Source Data: RiP Project 33526

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01483130
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mid-America Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC07
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 5 2013 1:01AM