AMERICAN’s Earthquake Joint System, introduced in 2015, has been put to the test and shown to withstand ground ruptures in excess of those experienced during some of the world’s most catastrophic earthquakes.
The system, for use with AMERICAN ductile iron pipe, valves and hydrants, was recently tested at the Geotechnical Lifelines Large-Scale Testing Facility, a research facility of Cornell University’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in Ithaca, New York. “This facility, which specializes in full-scale tests of pipeline materials and performance in response to seismic activity, is the only one of its kind,” said AMERICAN’s Technical Director David Drake. “Making the grade here was important in validating the design of our product.”
Test results, published online here, cite AMERICAN’s system was able to withstand at least 21.5 inches of axial extension, enough to resist more than 99 percent of earthquake-induced ground strains measured following four major earthquakes during the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence in Christchurch, New Zealand.
To put this into perspective, according to the report, the levels of earthquake-induced ground deformation measured in Christchurch exceed those measured in the 1989 Loma Preita, California, and 1994 Northridge, California, earthquakes, and are comparable to those documented following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
“Caused by failed gas and electrical lines, fires typically follow seismic events. Unfortunately, the water lines that support the fire protection systems have typically failed also,” said Derek Scott, marketing and technical manager with AMERICAN Flow Control, the valve and hydrant division of AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company. “Water is the first defense against fires. AMERICAN’s Earthquake Joint System is a key component to keeping the hydrant lead intact and therefore helping to ensure firefighters have the water they need to fight fires following an earthquake.”
Water is also essential for sustaining life. “We can exist without power for days, and many have done so, but when our supply of clean water is interrupted, we must restore it soon,” said Maury Gaston, marketing services manager for AMERICAN’s Ductile Iron Pipe Division and author of “Earthquake Resistant Ductile Iron Pipe, Valve, and Hydrant System,” published in Pipelines 2016: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Not Out of Risk.
Recently, the American Society of Civil Engineers released its Infrastructure Report Card, giving the nation’s drinking water infrastructure a D: The infrastructure is in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard. “Many water utilities and communities are doing the hard but necessary thing in finding the resources to upgrade their aging water infrastructure,” Gaston said. “For the more than 50 percent of communities in areas at risk of seismic activity, choosing AMERICAN’s earthquake resistant system will go a long way toward saving lives and minimizing property damage.”
This fast motion video that was taken during the Cornell University study shows the disruption of the ground’s surface under the simulated conditions of an earthquake. AMERICAN’s Earthquake Joint System is buried underneath. A second video shows the test crew unearthing AMERICAN’s Earthquake Joint System to find it passed the test, withstanding the ground forces of the simulated earthquake.
A video animation of AMERICAN’s Earthquake Joint System is available on AMERICAN’s website, as well as technical information about the Earthquake Joint System and Earthquake Joint Hydrant Base.
AMERICAN Cast Iron Pipe Company was founded in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1905. AMERICAN manufactures ductile iron pipe, spiral-welded steel pipe, fire hydrants and valves for the waterworks industry and electric-resistance-welded steel pipe for the oil and natural gas industries. AMERICAN’s diversified product line also includes static castings and high-performance fire pumps.
Founded in 1905 in Birmingham, Ala., AMERICAN is a manufacturer of fire hydrants, valves and ductile iron pipe for the waterworks industry and electric-resistance steel pipe for the oil and natural gas industries. AMERICAN’S diversified product line also includes spiral-welded steel pipe and fire pumps.
For more than a century, AMERICAN has been committed to doing things the right way – exceeding customer expectations, caring for our employees and building strong communities.