When a pipeline is laid, protection against erosion must be utilized. Should the ground shift and the pipe follows the shifting material, a rupture of the line can occur. This is true of water mains, gas lines, oil transmission lines or even underground electrical lines. Periodic strengthening surrounding the pipe is needed to guard against the effects of shifting soil, sand or rock. In the past, installation companies utilized a series of sandbags to keep a line straight. Sandbags would be placed on the bottom, sides and top of the line at selected intervals. These reinforcements are referred to as trench breakers.
Now, companies may have found a better, safer and more economical method to create trench breakers. Anyone who has watched a home improvement show has seen the use of sprayed polyurethane foam for insulation. The product is sprayed on a wall where it expands and provides a hard insulating layer for the wall. Many may have used the product to seal gaps around window and door frames. Pipeline contractors have now found an industrial application for sprayed polyurethane foam.
When the trench is dug and pipe is laid, a section of the trench is filled with the foam. It attaches to the pipe and expands around it to the sides of the trench. Forms are used to allow the foam to expand to desired thickness. The result is a rigid, water impervious underground support for the pipeline.
The sprayed foam is applied on site and can be placed at any interval the contractor desires. It can also be made to fit whatever size form the contractor desires. The hardened foam doesn’t merely support the pipe from the bottom or the sides, is surrounds it. The cure time for sprayed foam is minutes, as opposed to days for other building materials. Installation of each trench breaker can be made in a matter of minutes and the product will last for decades. It is especially effective on a sloping area where there is a risk of shifting soils or rock. As a trench breaker, sprayed polyurethane foam is becoming the method of choice.