The only other material used as extensively as steel in water supply systems is PE ( 2 ), which will take over as the material of choice , primarily due to our growing understanding of corrosion and its effects on piping system performance . Case studies have shown that large corrosion patches , rather than small pits , are the primary cause of failure . Implementing measures to prevent corrosion or using materials that resist corrosion is essential for creating long-lasting and efficient water supply systems ( 3 ).
New pipes typically start with a high roughness coefficient , which is material-specific and used in the Hazen Williams equation for water flow . That coefficient decreases with time as the pipe deteriorates with age . Several processes can cause this , but the most typical one is tuberculation . Pipes will tuberculate as pitting corrosion products buildup . With time , the flow rate decreases . Steel pipes can be affected by tuberculation , with their roughness coefficient decreasing by more than half in about 50 years . PE 100 pipes are unaffected throughout their service life ( 4 ).
Beyond corrosion , pipes and fittings made with PE 100 offer high resistance to seismic activity and are easy to install thanks to their flexibility . Furthermore , PE 100 is among the few materials that can be fusion welded to create leak-free joints . A leak-free pipe can help address problems typically associated with water supply systems , such as infiltration and exfiltration .
Due to its robustness and excellent service history , industries with a mission-critical need for sustained water supply have become early adopters of PE 100 . For example , nuclear power plants in the United States have been using PE 100 instead of steel for safety-related piping systems . Steel pipes in these applications coincide with high costs due to the operational cost of shutting down the plant for maintenance . Power plants have transitioned to PE 100 as an alternative to steel pipes to save millions every year in repairs .