Fuel Gas: Polyethylene (PE) Pipe

Fuel gas systems convey natural gas or propane for laboratories, cooking, space heating, and...

Polyethylene (PE), the most popular plastic resin in the world, is the second most widely used...

Benefit of Material to Systems Application

High density polyethylene (HDPE) gas pipe systems are specifically engineered and certified for use underground outside of buildings. Unlike above-grade gas piping installations that require metallic piping, underground systems need to perform in harsh and corrosive environments, where metallic pipe requires additional and costly cathodic protection systems to protect the pipe. With continuous lengths of corrosion proof, flexible piping, simple assembly, and the lowest installed cost compared to other underground gas piping material, PE is by far the most common material for this application, with nearly universal use.

System Application and Material Usage

Polyethylene (PE) gas piping is manufactured according to ASTM D 2513 and is available in common sizes such as 1/2” CTS (copper tube size), 3/4” IPS (iron pipe size), 1” CTS, 1” IPS, 1-1/4” IPS and 2” IPS and is for installation outside, underground only. Polyethylene (PE) is not approved for indoor use or for encasement in concrete slabs.

Underground gas piping should be installed with sufficient clearance from any other underground structure to avoid contact, to allow for maintenance, and to protect against damage from proximity to other structures. In addition, underground plastic piping should be installed with sufficient clearance to be insulated from any heat source to prevent impairing the serviceability and reliability of the pipe.

Careful attention should be paid to layout, minimum bending radius, and routing to prevent excessive stressing of the piping where there is heavy vehicular traffic, or where soil conditions are unstable and settling of piping could occur. ABS or PVC piping may be used as sleeving for additional protection.

Piping should be protected from physical damage where it passes through flowerbeds, shrub beds, and any other such cultivated areas where such damage is reasonably expected.

Install polyethylene piping so as to minimize thrust forces caused by expansion and contraction of the piping. Typical polyethylene piping will expand or contract 1 inch for every 10°F temperature change for every 100 feet of pipe.

Bury or cover pipe in graded trenches with a minimum 12 inches of coverage, or install in a conduit or other shield to protect the piping from physical damage. If flooding the trench to consolidate the backfill, do not allow the pipe to float from its firm bearing on the trench bottom.

To facilitate locating, bury an electrically continuous corrosion-resistant tracer wire (minimum AWG 14) or magnetic tape with the polyethylene pipe. Bring one end above ground at a building wall or riser. The wire or tape should not be in direct contact with the polyethylene pipe.

Design of PE gas pipe (yellow PE 2406/PE 2608) is governed by 49 CFR 192 and is commonly used as a SDR 11 that has a maximum operating pressure of 80 psig. The maximum test pressure is up to 1.5x the MOP of the system for short durations.

PE pipe used for fuel gas is typically joined with heat fusion, electro-fusion, or mechanical couplings that are specifically designed for use with PE pipe that use an insert stiffener and offer full restraint of the PE pipe.

Manufacturers and Suppliers Participating in OPUS

F.W. Webb Company

F.W. Webb Company is a multi-faceted distributor of plumbing and heating, HVAC and controls,......
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Ferguson specializes in providing PVF, Plumbing, HVAC and Related Specialty Products and......
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Hajoca Corporation

Founded in 1858, the Hajoca Corporation is the largest privately owned wholesale distributor of......
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Jomar Valve

Founded in 1966 by former Navy Commander Joseph Martin, Jomar Valve set out to change the way......
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MORSCO is a leading U.S. distributor of commercial and residential plumbing, HVAC, and PVF, with......
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The Commonwealth Group

The Commonwealth Group is the industry’s newest, 100-percent member owned, $8.5......
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Weldbend Corporation

Weldbend Corporation is a manufacturer of carbon steel welding fittings and forged steel......
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WinWholesale, Inc. is comprised of over 525 wholesale distribution locations. Along with Noland......
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Applicable Joining Methods

Heat Fusion Weld

Thermoplastic pipe which cannot be solvent cemented maybe joined using heat fusion.  Fusion...
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