Flexible Pipework and Seismic Resistance

In areas with high seismic activity it is vital to know if your pipework can handle the pressure in the long term, as broken pipes can result in significant damage that is both costly and dangerous.

A piping system during an earthquake, whether underground or constrained to the ground surface, is subjected to stress generated by the relative movement between the surrounding soil and the piping itself.

These movements and pressures can cause significant damage to pipework systems, leading to pipe failures and potentially dire consequences. Rigid steel pipes – although widely used – can struggle to cope with the demands of regular or intense seismic activity.

During the August 24, 2014 earthquake in Napa Valley, CA, many rigid natural gas pipes and water lines were damaged, with 20 earthquake-related gas-distribution outages and up to 60 water distribution lines ruptured.

The 2014 Napa Valley earthquake was the strongest earthquake in California in 25 years. The 6.0 magnitude quake caused extensive damage through both ground shaking and surface cracking (rupture).

“Using the TS-550 evo™ and UPP® pipework together gives us confidence knowing we are using the best product with the best platform. We can deliver a system to our customer that will be efficient and dependable for decades to come.” – Brian Lescure, Safety & Fuel Oil Manager, Lescure Company INC

Semi-rigid and flexible pipework such as UPP® and APT™ brand respectively offers greater survivability of critical fuel systems compared to rigid steel or FRP pipe in an earthquake. The toughness and ductility of flexible pipework allow an unmatched resistance to seismic stresses. UPP® pipe is the first to receive an exception Class T1 temperature rating with its EN14125 approval, a true testament to its strength.


  • TS-550 evo™ fuel management system
  • APT™ brand flexible pipework
  • UPP® semi-rigid pipework

Download the PDF of this case study here.