Pipe splitting is a trenchless method used to replace existing pipelines in the same alignment without physically removing the existing pipeline. Splitting the existing pipe and hence using the existing alignment to replace a pipe avoids the need to secure additional right-of-way to install the replacement pipe. Splitting can be used to upsize the pipeline by a moderate amount thus increasing its flow capacity. Pipe splitting is used to replace ductile pipes which are not suitable for fragmentation using a bursting approach.
In pipe splitting, a cutting blade is used to slice open the existing pipe and then a shaped expansion head opens out the split pipe to make room for the replacement pipe. Simultaneously, a new product pipe attached to the back of the bursting head is installed in the same alignment as the original pipe.