Traces of Bentonite Prevent Bonding of Electrofusion Pipeline Joints

December 2017, Vol. 244, No. 12

By Kaitlin Spak and Richard W. Klopp, Exponent, Menlo Park, CA

Underground pipelines are often installed using drilling techniques that minimize surface disruption. An investigation to determine the root cause of field failures in a polyethylene gas distribution line led to the discovery that a common ingredient in drilling mud could lead to ineffective bonding of electrofusion joints, which are common in the polyethylene pipeline industry. Results from the investigation and a cleaning method that was developed to reduce the chance of contaminated joints are shared here by engineers at Exponent, the firm that conducted the investigation. The gas distribution industry commonly uses saddle-tapping tees to…

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