Which shape of drains is better, elliptical or circular?

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Horizontal elliptical pipes are commonly used where vertical clearance is hindered by some existing structures. Moreover, horizontal elliptical pipes possess higher flow capacity for the same flow depth than most other structures with equivalent full capacity.

For vertical elliptical pipes, it requires less excavation during trench installation owing to its narrow span. Moreover, backfill loads on the pipe is reduced when compared with circular pipes. Also, owing to its geometric shape, it is mostly used where there is limitation of horizontal clearance. From hydraulic point of view, vertical elliptical pipes allow higher self-cleansing velocity under dry season.


This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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