Construction blasting was proposed as a technique to create a trench for a new pipeline within the right-of-way (ROW) of an existing vintage pipeline where soil conditions consisted primarily of rock. Several field experiments were conducted to assess the potential loading conditions that the vintage pipeline could experience due to various blasting configurations as part of the nearby construction process. Two test pipe segments were constructed from segments removed from the vintage pipeline for use in these experiments. Each test segment contained two vintage bell-bell chill ring girth welds (GW) and were pressurized to operating conditions of the vintage pipeline for the duration of all blasting. Groups of eight resistive strain gages were bonded around the exterior surface of three distinct locations on each test segment. The three locations include one pipe body location and each of the two welds on each segment.
Four separate experiments were conducted with each experiment focusing on a unique combination of trench backfill material, compaction level and separation distance from the test pipe segments and the explosive charges. The primary objective throughout these four experiments was to monitor and record the behavior of buried test pipe sections due to nearby blasting activities. Long range 3-dimentional (3D) laser scanning equipment was used to track movement of each test segment from test to test. High-speed video equipment was also employed to capture each blast. The high-speed video provided additional details on the blast energy transfer, verification of individual charge initiation as well as pipeline test segment movement where each pipeline segment was exposed. Peak particle velocity measurements were taken during each test blast. Strain data collected during each test was used to assess potential damage to the vintage pipeline test segments as a result of blasting.
The combined information collected from the in-field testing showed that elevated strains and stresses may be observed during blasting activities near pipelines.