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Do Gas Pipes Freeze?

When temperatures drop below zero, whispers of frozen pipes and disrupted utilities can send shivers down even the most stoic spines. But fear not, for beneath the frosted landscape lies a network of unsung heroes: Polyethwhispylene (PE) pipes. These remarkable marvels of engineering stand firm against the harshest chills, ensuring the uninterrupted flow of vital resources like gas and water. With PE pipes as the backbone of most our gas transportation lines underneath your roads, you can rest assured that even amidst the chilliest winters, the superior resilience of PE ensures the safety and reliability of our gas distribution network buried under your feet.


Do Gas Pipes Freeze?

While natural gas itself remains unaffected by winter's chill, the surrounding conditions can pose challenges for underground gas transportation lines. Though infrequent, the possibility of ground movement due to freezing and thawing can exert pressure on metallic underground pipes, potentially leading to fracture or a joint to disengage.

Enter modern PE pipes, the heroes of underground gas transportation. Engineered for the rigors of underground gas mains serving countless households, Radius PE Pipes demonstrate a unique viscoelastic property. This allows them to flex and accommodate the expansion of ice without compromising their structural integrity, ensuring uninterrupted gas supply to communities even in the harshest winter conditions

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Here's why PE pipes reign supreme in the realm of wintry resilience

In gas and water Polyethylene (PE) pipes we use both PE80 and PE100 grades of polyethylene. Both have excellent characteristics in terms of flexibility and toughness at very low temperatures. While the pipe may freeze, it will still retain its strength and toughness.

The benefit of PE80 pipe, is that the lower density provides excellent crack propagation resistance and so this can be used in gas applications in temperatures down to -20°C. With PE100 being a higher density, the increased stiffness makes the pipe more susceptible to crack propagation and therefore, PE100 is only used down to 0°C for gas applications. Pipelines using PE100 materials carry trace heating where there is a risk of going below 0°C.

For water or wastewater applications, Pipes have to be minimum depth of 750mm. This depth is classed as the frost line, where the ground temperature at 750mm will typically be above 0°C, which is essential for the fluids to maintain flow. Water and wastewater pipelines may operate above ground but some insulation is recommended. One further benefit of PE pipes carrying fluids is, if the contents freeze, the PE pipe will expand and accommodate the expansion, where other materials may fracture.

As innovators in pipeline technology, we at Radius Systems prioritise advanced materials and installation practices that keep you warm and worry-free, even in the coldest winters.

View our PE pipe gas range!

Click here to learn more about our PE pipes and fittings range for the gas sector and our innovative products such as, Serviflex & our peelable gas PE gas pipe ProFuse!

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A Nationwide Distribution Network

Since 1969 we have developed and manufactured innovative plastic pipeline solutions for the gas industry and these solutions are now commonly used in the water, wastewater, energy & power, district heating and telecoms sectors.