This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Evaluation of HDPE and PVC Pipes Used for Cross-drains in Highway Construction




Stuart, Shepard

Type of Degree



Civil Engineering


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) passed regulations mandating that equal consideration be given to the specification of plastic pipe materials if they were judged to be equally acceptable on the basis of engineering and economic analysis. This thesis reports the results of a research project that investigated the use of thermoplastic pipes, namely High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Poly-vinyl Chloride (PVC), as cross-drains under highways. The project consisted of completing three major phases that included a comprehensive literature review, an analytical study into the allowable fill heights for thermoplastic pipes, and finally a field study to observe the installation and performance of the pipe in service conditions. The thesis concludes with recommendations for how and when thermoplastic pipe should be installed in order for it to perform as intended.