Prestressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe (PCCP): Everything You Need to Know

Prestressed concrete cylinder pipe is one of the world’s most widely used water piping solution, mainly thanks to recent improvements to the technology. Their durability, ease of installation and economical pricing makes them an ideal choice for water piping projects. Here’s an overview of prestressed concrete cylinder pipe and why you should consider it.


Origins of Prestressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe (PCCP)


First manufactured in 1942, prestressed cylinder concrete pipes were made as lined cylinder pipes or an LCP. A decade later, concrete encasement of the steel cylinder was introduced on both sides, which became a standard in modern designs. Over the years, PCCP pipe have undergone a number of changes, some of which have caused more leakages than expected. Fortunately, significant improvements have been made by the world’s top prestressed concrete cylinder pipe manufacturers in the process of manufacturing PCCPs. Today’s quality control is thorough with the development of rigorous standards, a water industry landmark compliance audit, certification program, and a strong overall focus on quality control and technology development.


What is Prestressed Concrete Cylinder Pipe (PCCP) Made of?


All PCCPs consist of:

  • A structural, high-strength concrete core
  • A steel cylinder with steel joint rings welded at each end which provides water tightness
  • A steel prestressing wire
  • A cement-rich mortar coating


The concrete core is the main structural load-bearing component with the steel cylinder acting as a water barrier between those concrete layers. To offset tensile stresses in the pipe, the prestressing wires are in place to produce a uniform compressive pressure. The mortar coating protects against physical damage and external corrosion. Depending on your project’s specifications, there are a few different options and sizes available including LCPS and ECPs.


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Lined Cylinder Pipes (LCPs)


Lined cylinder pipes have the entire concrete core placed inside the steel cylinder. The cured concrete core and steel cylinder are then helically wrapped with prestressing wire, which is then subsequently coated with cement mortar. These types of pipes are normally manufactured with inside diameters in a range from NPS 16 (DN 400) through NPS 48 (DN 1200).


Embedded Cylinder Pipes (ECPs)


Embedded cylinder pipes have the concrete core placed both outside and inside the steel cylinder by a vertical casting operation. The cured concrete core and steel cylinder are then helically wrapped with prestressing wire; similar toan LCP, these are then coated with cement mortar. Sizes for ECP pipes range from NPS 54 (DN 1250) through NPS 144 (DN 3600).


Both types of prestressed cylinder concrete pipes made by leading prestressed concrete cylinder pipe manufacturers around the world are able to fit the wide range of fittings that are available. Regardless of project requirements, fittings of different PCCP pipe dimensions to required specifications can be made.


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Uses of PCCP Worldwide


The uses of PCCP pipes are varied. Among all the different concrete pressure pipe dimensions, 1.6-meter diameter PCCPs are used as part of a larger system that transports seawater to be used as cooling agents, and processes water in hot areas.


Off the coast of California, 216-inch PCCPs are installed in seabed trenches to provide cooling water for a nearby nuclear station. Meanwhile in Northern California, miles of PCCPs were installed to act as a sewer force main. An 84-inch diameter PCCP was installed under an 80-foot embankment to serve as a drainage culvert under a major highway. Prestressed concrete cylinder pipes can also be used to transport potable water to large metropolitan areas.


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Maintaining PCCPs


Lack of quality maintenance are some of the main causes of pipeline leakage. This can lead to corrosion, especially in construction joints, low points where moisture collects, or locations with imperfections in the pipe. When it comes to the maintenance of these pipes to prevent potential leaks, a few options are available:


  • Pipe Wrap® is – a system made with a resin-impregnated fibreglass tape that is highly adhesive; it can bond to PVC, fibreglass, concrete and all metal, stopping leaks up to 450 psi.
  • Pipeline leak detection services – these services can enhance productivity by reducing downtime and the time it takes to complete an inspection.


In order to determine whether a leak exists, a pipeline condition assessment is run. Some of these methods of detection include hydrostatic testing, infrared, laser technology and acoustic leak detection technologies. Assessments that are run in a timely fashion can prevent these damages from manifesting, and inspection tools can then correct the minor flaws before they progress to a leak.


Trust PCCP for Your Next Project


In short, PCCP is one of the most reliable, economical and popular piping solution on the market. It’s customizable to suit your projects needs. Thanks to recent improvements to this technology these pipes are highly durable and can last for a long time. Trust PCCP for your next project: you won’t be disappointed with the results.



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