Technical Blog

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John Houle: Senior Technical Consultant, PVC Pipe Industry

John Houle holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri and an MBA from the University of Oregon. He has more than 25 years of experience in the plastic pipe industry in applications engineering, market development, forensic analysis, technical writing, and standards development.

PVC Force Main Cyclic-Life Calculator

Posted By John Houle on Sep 21, 2021

Cyclic-Life CalculatorThe PVC Pipe Association (PVCPA) has created an online calculator for determining the cyclic life of sewer force mains. It was developed based on research performed by Steven Folkman, Ph.D., Utah State University, the results of which were published in the proceedings of ASCE Pipelines 2020.

Calculator inputs include:

  • Pipe dimension ratio (DR)
  • Maximum recurring surge pressures
  • Minimum recurring surge pressures
  • Number of surge occurrences per day

Calculator output is the pipe’s cyclic life. Up to four different surge events can be included. The calculator considers these separate events and determines the cyclic life. The user will find that this calculator facilitates sensitivity analyses: changes in surge amplitude, surge frequency, and pipe pressure class can all be investigated efficiently to ensure a cost-effective pipeline design.

Unlike other calculators, PVCPA’s calculator does not limit input values for users which undermines the ability to properly design force mains systems. PVCPA does not recommend use of online calculators from other organizations for designing PVC pressure sewer pipelines.

The calculator is used in conjunction with a new document titled, “Force Main Design Guide for PVC Pipe.” The guide discusses cyclic surges in general, introduces the analytical method used by the calculator, and provides design examples for better understanding of the subject. Using the cyclic procedure provided in this guide enables a thorough analysis of a PVC force main project.

To access the calculator, click here.

To access the guide, click here.