Monday, April 25, 2011

What Did You Use Last Time? (Redux)

Plastics Today has a report on increasing demand for large pipes (15 inch diameter (38 cm) or larger for sewers or such) that beautifully captures a couple of thoughts in recent blog posts.

The report states that while demand for plastic piping is increasing, demand for cement and iron piping is increasing faster. Why? Consider this quote:
"The past few years have heralded a new era in large diameter plastic pipe extrusion, with plastics processors and extruder manufacturers helping speed developments, but based on this report's predictions they still have plenty of work to do to conquer the incumbent material's inertia. Lighter weight, easier installation and so forth are great arguments, but it remains much easier for a building engineer to specify the same material he always has than to transition to plastics."
That sounds eerily familiar to two things that I said last week, 1) that using the same material that you've always used will seldom get you in trouble [*], and 2) that despite the technical advantages of plastics over metals and concrete, the plastics option is not something that we are entitled to.

[*] this seems to be especially (and understandably) true with civil engineers, who would be the ones installing such large pipes.

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