, Associate Professor, UMD-Civil Engineering
The objective of this research is to compare the performance of corrugated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes manufactured with recycled content to those manufactured with only virgin materials. MnDOT currently requires HDPE pipes to be made with 100 percent virgin materials. However, recent changes to AASHTO M 294 include the option for pipes manufactured with post-consumer and post-industrial recycled content, both of which have been shown to be more sustainable materials than virgin HDPE (1, 2). This research will identify a site to install at least two corrugated HDPE test culverts or pipe segments, one manufactured with only virgin materials and the other with recycled content (recycled content should be at least 40 percent by weight). The test culverts will be a minimum of 30 inches in diameter. They will be instrumented with strain gauges and extensometers to monitor strains and deflections throughout the course of the study. Research will be conducted by University of Minnesota Duluth faculty and students. The pipe will be supplied by pipe manufacturers, and MnDOT will arrange the pipe installation. This research will result in performance data that will provide MnDOT with the opportunity to consider specifying corrugated HDPE pipes manufactured with recycled content.