# Concrete in a pipe pressure

If you had a pipe with a ID of 125 mil and was over 500 meters long filled with 5m3 of concrete what would the pressure be at the bottom

or 5 inch pipe

nasu
Gold Member
Is the pipe vertical?
Anyway, you will need the density of that concrete mixture.

SteamKing
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
If you had a pipe with a ID of 125 mil and was over 500 meters long filled with 5m3 of concrete what would the pressure be at the bottom
The pressure at the bottom of any vertical pipe is independent ( = not influenced by) of the diameter of the pipe.

P = ρ g h,

where,

P = pressure, pascals
ρ = mass density of the fluid, kg / m3
g = acceleration due to gravity, e.g. 9.81 m/s2
h = depth of the fluid, m

The density of Portland cement ranges from 2240 kg/m3 to 2400 kg/m3

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/concrete-properties-d_1223.html

h = 500 m

P = 2400 * 9.81 * 500 = 11,772,000 Pa or 11.772 MPa, or about 1700 psi.

I wonder if the density might be different for the wet concrete (assuming the OP is interested in wet concrete being pumped through the pipe). There isn't much water in the wet mix so maybe it isn't significant.

SteamKing
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Homework Helper
I wonder if the density might be different for the wet concrete (assuming the OP is interested in wet concrete being pumped through the pipe). There isn't much water in the wet mix so maybe it isn't significant.
It's basically an order of magnitude calculation, to show how it's done. Concrete, wet or dry, has a range of densities.

sophiecentaur
Gold Member
2020 Award
Is the pipe vertical?
Anyway, you will need the density of that concrete mixture.
I don't think that a practical situation could exist in which a vertical pipe of 500m could have concrete pumped through it. I guess a 500m pipe with a mainly horizontal run would be quite possible (I 've seen a 100m run with a rise of a few metres outside my house.) The pipe was only mild steel, afaics so I reckon it couldn't stand 500m head of concrete, - not to mention the problems of building a pump for the task. Also, is it not the case that builders of high rise buildings use cranes to lift the concrete? If it were feasible, piping would be far more convenient.

SteamKing
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I don't think that a practical situation could exist in which a vertical pipe of 500m could have concrete pumped through it. I guess a 500m pipe with a mainly horizontal run would be quite possible (I 've seen a 100m run with a rise of a few metres outside my house.) The pipe was only mild steel, afaics so I reckon it couldn't stand 500m head of concrete, - not to mention the problems of building a pump for the task. Also, is it not the case that builders of high rise buildings use cranes to lift the concrete? If it were feasible, piping would be far more convenient.
Yes, you are correct. Since the internal pressure of the pipe is more than 1700 psi, it would take a very strong pipe to withstand that pressure.

Small batches of concrete can be mixed on the ground and lifted with concrete buckets. These buckets typically hold about 2 cubic yards of concrete.

Yes, you are correct. Since the internal pressure of the pipe is more than 1700 psi, it would take a very strong pipe to withstand that pressure.

Not a problem. The yield strength of mild (low grade) steel is 63,000 psi. Ignoring the seam, 0.340" thick walls in a 5 inch pipe would burst at 1700 psi.

256bits
Gold Member
It's been done - vertical pumping.
The record stands at 601 m. or just below 2000 feet.
( I just had to look it up )

In November, 2007, the highest reinforced concrete corewalls were made using concrete pumped from ground level to a vertical height of 601 metres. This broke the previous pumping record for a building of 470m on the Taipei 101 and the previous overall world record for vertical pumping of 532 metres for an extension to the Riva del Garda Hydroelectric Power Plant in 1994.

The concrete pressure during pumping to this level was nearly 200 bars.

When the record was set, a photocall was arranged and a distance of 601 metres was reported as the new record. However, it was discovered shortly afterwards that the concrete needed to go a little further and so an extension was added to move the concrete to 606 metres.

The mix was able to reach such astounding heights by running through a high-pressure trailer mounted pump (a Putzmeister 14000 SHP D). The concrete required approximately 40 minutes from the filling of the hopper to its discharge from the delivery line.

The concrete volume in the line amounted to approximately 11m³ with this installation height – meaning there was roughly 26 tonnes on the pump after every piston stroke – or five big elephants.

Over a period of about 32 months, the high pressure pump and two others delivered more than 165,000m³ of high-strength concrete, which, using our preferred unit of measurement, is about 66 Olympic sized swimming pools.
http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-7400-how-the-burj-was-built/1/print/

davenn and billy_joule
SteamKing
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Not a problem. The yield strength of mild (low grade) steel is 63,000 psi. Ignoring the seam, 0.340" thick walls in a 5 inch pipe would burst at 1700 psi.
It's not clear what specific grade of steel you are talking about here.

The lowest grade structural steel you will ordinarily find on the market (at least in the US) is ASTM A-36 steel, which has a minimum yield of 36,000 psi.

Grade A pipe steel, on the other hand, must have a minimum yield of only 30,000 psi, and Grade B goes all the way to 35,000 psi. There are grades of steel which are stronger, of course, but more expensive.

In any event, whether for pipes or structures, one never designs to yield strength anyway. A variety of design and safety factors are always included to bring the max. allowable working stress below yield.

It's not clear what specific grade of steel you are talking about here.

Right. I transposed 3,600 to 6,3000.

256bits
Gold Member
That is impressive. I wonder why it's not done for the thousands of modestly high rise buildings we see going up all over the UK?
Thoughtful question.

I would imagine financial considerations vs engineering considerations.
And return on investment. Quick and expensive, and sooner for recuperation, Or slower and less expensive but a longer wait time to begin payback.

That particular pumping machine doesn't seem to be all that grandiose, with a running HP in the ballpark of 600 hp, so it in itself can't be all that expensive.
Although, I would expect the teams laying the pipes to command a hefty fee, along with the crew running the logistics when it is up and running. Organizing a continuous supply of concrete with cement mixers, cement plant, aggregate, water, etc is, sometimes 24 hrs or more in a go, I would expect also to be demanding. Everything would have to be pre-arranged to be nearby and ready to go without interruption, as once the pumper is operational one does not want any wait time to fill the hopper. One plans for no air entering the flow, nor a stoppage in flow. The first can be an explosive and deadly situation; the second a possible catastrophic complete work stoppage ( hardening concrete in the pipes if let to set ), or lose the whole pipes worth of concrete.

It could be the type of construction determines the concrete pouring schedule. Local contractors can fulfill most schedules.
Some construction must have a "mini" pumper that moves up along with the floors of the building, set up to be filled with the buckets from crane supply down below.