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A Study of the Freezing Phenomena on PVC and CPVC Pipe Systems


Residential and commercial piping systems often experience complex failures from freeze events. In this paper the freezing failures are studied by replicating pipe freezing conditions in a laboratory setting. Testing was performed on half inch PVC and CPVC pipes. Pressure and temperature during the freeze event were monitored and the fracture modes of failed pipes were examined. Freeze events result in excessively high pressures. It has been shown that during a freeze event, the properties of plastic pipes are advantageous over other more rigid piping systems. In this study, it was observed that PVC and CPVC pipes were able to sustain over 30 times the typical household water pressure before bursting occurred.

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Javier Cruz, Ph.D.

Javier Cruz is a Senior Managing Engineer and Partner at The Madison Group. Javier is a chemical engineer by degree who grew an interest in polymeric materials and completed his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in Materials Science and Engineering of polymers. He is an expert in many aspects of polymeric materials including material selection, failure investigations, product development, and testing methods. Javier serves clients in all types of industries that involve the use of polymers such as medical devices, electrical, oil and gas, plumbing and consumer products. He also serves as an expert witness in numerous cases where his expertise has been vital.