Ductile Iron Pipe

Shortly after it was formed in 1905, AMERICAN became a leading manufacturer of cast iron water mains. Cast iron mains were the standard in the industry, and large quantities of cast iron pipe are still in service.

As good as cast iron was (and is), however, ductile is much better, and AMERICAN played the major role in the development and commercial introduction of ductile iron around 1950.

A different manufacturing process makes the graphite in ductile iron a spheroid shape, whereas graphite in cast iron pipe is shaped like a flake. This difference makes ductile iron pipe twice as strong as cast iron pipe in terms of tensile, beam, ring bending and bursting tests. And ductile iron is superior many times over to cast iron in impact strength and elongation.

AMERICAN took its first large orders for ductile iron pipe in 1955. By 1978, ductile iron pipe had superseded cast iron pipe in the waterworks industry, and the industry embraced the change.

Ductile has withstood the test of time in more ways than one. Given today’s environmental concerns, ductile iron is clearly a green product. For starters, it’s made from recycled materials. Plastic pipe, on the other hand, is made from petroleum sources.

Another key environmental benefit is that ductile iron pipe has a larger inside diameter than pipelines of similar size, thus a greater volume of water can be transported through ductile iron pipelines. This means that less energy is needed to pump water through the lines, which in turn means fewer fossil fuels are burned. And, over the life of the pipeline, pumping costs are significantly lower with ductile iron pipelines.

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