Pipes and Underground Structures
Ohio is a major player in the pipe industry, with firms producing pipe from concrete, metal, clay, and thermoplastics. In fact, 80% of U.S. thermoplastic pipe manufacturers are headquartered in Ohio. ORITE developed the Center for Pipe and Underground Structures (CPUS) in January 2000 to help solve industry challenges and as a way for consolidating ongoing research efforts in the area. Major facilities include a one million pound load frame cell and a field installation of instrumented thermoplastic pipe buried under 20 and 40 feet of cover to assess performance over time. CPUS researchers often travel to field sites to inspect pipes and culverts, often installing sensors and taking measurements of load response. Inspections may involve the use of small vehicles (pipe crawlers) designed to travel inside a pipe to inspect where researchers cannot travel. In addition, the center maintains laboratory equipment for testing pipe materials and conducts extensive computer modeling of pipes, including finite element modeling of soil-structure interactions.