Pipe bursting is a trenchless rehabilitation method for replacing both pressure and gravity lines with new pipe. Pipe bursting involves the breaking of an existing pipeline by brittle fracture, using mechanically applied force from within. While the deteriorated pipe fragments are forced into the surrounding ground, a new pipe of the same or larger diameter is pulled in to replace the original pipe. Pipe bursting is performed by the insertion of a conically shaped bursting head into a deteriorated pipe, causing it to shatter by pneumatic or hydraulic action. The diameter of pipe being burst typically ranges from 2 to 30 inches, although pipes of larger diameters can be burst. Pipe bursting is commonly performed size-for-size or one size above the diameter of the existing pipe. Larger upsize (up to three pipe sizes) has been successful. However, the larger the pipe upsizing, the greater the force required to burst the existing pipe and pull the new pipe, and the greater the potential for ground movement (upheave).
Static pipe bursting is compatible with all pipe types that can be fused or locked together mechanically. The combination of the static pipe bursting with restrained-joint polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe is a relatively new match, however. Restrained-joint PVC pipe provides improved mechanical properties, higher-pressure ratings, and better flow performance than other thermoplastic materials. Static pipe bursting with PVC also allows communities to stick to a proven long-lasting material that works seamlessly with existing infrastructure and simplifies installation.