Corrugated Metal Pipes for Drainage Structures and Stockpile Tunnels

Drainage structures must be strong, durable and designed to allow for optimal water or liquid flow. To find out why corrugated steel is widely used for the creation of stockpile tunnels and culverts, let’s start with a closer look at the properties of corrugated steel.

What are corrugated steel drainage structures?drainage structures

These are water channelling pipes that are installed under a dam or used underneath bridges or roads to lead water away from surfaces into channels to move the water to storage systems, dams or the ocean. The steel corrugated culvert pipes are made through a process whereby the steel plate is corrugated and rolled into a circle with a joint.

The corrugation increases the load strength in addition to structural integrity. The corrugation, combined with the rolled pipe, increases the joint stiffness while also increasing the shaft resistance strength.

Why don’t the metal drainage structures corrode?

The sheets used in the making of these are hot-dip galvanised. This process entails the bathing of the metal in a hot molten zinc bath to cover every corner and space of the sheet surface. With a thin layer of zinc that binds with the metal to create a strong bond against corrosion, the sheet becomes rust resistant, which is essential for drainage solutions. All components in the making of these solutions are also hot-dip galvanised. These include the joints and fasteners. Each sheet and component are hot-dip galvanised according to strict international standard requirements.

Why steel corrugated culvert pipes for drainage structures and stockpile tunnels?

Although the pipe joints have a level of stiffness, the metal pipes are flexible, making them suitable for lateral displacement. These offer superb tensile strength, as well as deformation and settlement resistance. Made for placement in expansive and soft soil, the corrugated steel pipes are also suitable for areas where foundation load support capacity is limited.

The pipes are pre-manufactured, helping to reduce the installation time. This also makes it suitable for installation in areas suffering from ground frost conditions.

Because the drainage structures are built off-site, the environmental footprint at the installation site can be lower. The longer it takes to complete construction on site and the more materials must be brought to a site, the more damage the immediate environment experiences. With the corrugated steel made at the Armco Superlite factory, it is possible to have a lower environmental impact project due to fast installation on site.

On-site installation of the drainage structures only entails foundation treatment, soil removal, placement of sand and stone aggregate and placement of the pipes. By reducing the workload required on site for installation, the project engineering company saves on labour. This translates into cost savings for the company.

A standard design is applied. This makes it possible to have consistency in performance. Also, since the product is made off-site at a factory for the making of the steel culvert pipes for drainage structures and stockpile tunnels, production of the pipes is not affected by issues at the installation site and environmental factors.

Because the corrugation and the pipe’s wall thickness can be custom-made to meet the fill height needs of the client, these pipes are well-suited for application in shallow, as well as deep-filling areas.

On-site construction of drainage structures – using pre-made panel sections drainage structures

Where it is necessary to build the drainage structures on-site, it is possible to get corrugated panels, already curved according to client requirements. This adds another layer of flexibility in design and construction.

Long service life

The service life of these drainage structures ranges from 25 years plus up to 70 years. With such durability, the costs for the company over the installed culvert’s lifetime are relatively low. One of the requirements for sustainability is that a product must be durable with a long service life. This is exactly the case when using the corrugated metal pipes for this purpose and stockpile tunnels in mines.

Different shapes are possible

The solutions can be round, half-moon or oval to meet client application requirements.

Different assembly options

Assembly can be nested or flanged to meet the client’s specific application needs, whether for aggregate tunnels or drainage structures.

Can be used for agricultural irrigation and other applications as well

Apart from the widespread usage in drainage structures, the corrugated metal pipe sections can also be used in the making of agricultural irrigation systems. When people think of corrugated metal culverts, drainage structures normally come to mind. But these sheets are far more versatile and can be used in the making of pedestrian tunnels, under-passes, hangers, warehouses, animal shelters, refugee shelters, eco-friendly crossings, bridges, ammunition storage facilities, tunnels for conveyor belt-based transportation of mine aggregate materials, ventilation ducts, and under-dam drainage, among many other applications.

Horseshoe-shaped tunnels

Although the round pipe culverts are usually installed, it is possible to have horseshoe tunnels that can also be installed at bridges and serve as drainage structures. The possibilities are endless because of the flexibility, the structural integrity and the manufacturing capacity of Armco Superlite. It is also possible to use these and other shaped corrugated steel pipes for sewage systems.

Liner plates

Where you need reinforcement of existing pipes and culverts, it is possible to install liner plates. These are used for lining the tunnels under highways and for lining those installed in soft soil areas.

Why purchase from Armco Superlite?

As a firm with an international footprint and a long history of the manufacturing and supply of a range of steel products for the construction, road building and safety, mining and engineering industries, our product quality and manufacturing standards have stood the test of time.

Our product specialists are here to help you make an informed buying decision. Apart from our standard products, we produce custom lengths and sizes to meet the requirements of our clients. We have quality control measurements in place to ensure consistency in quality and performance. We make sure our products meet strict quality, performance, manufacturing and safety standards, both locally and internationally.

We have well-equipped plants where we have standardised processes in place to ensure galvanisation is done according to best practices. The fact that our products are widely used across industries ranging from mining to engineering, road construction, dam building, and agriculture speaks to our competence and reputation for excellence.

Our firm understands the importance of meeting project completion deadlines. With large production capacity, we’re able to meet fast bulk production needs, ensuring your firm can meet your project deadlines. Our processes are cost-effective, also meaning lower cost to your firm.

Since durability, cost-effectiveness, costs to the company and the quality of products used in construction projects are important factors to consider for improving a company’s sustainability profile, buying from a supplier that produces products to meet these requirements is a definite plus. Once again, we meet these requirements. By purchasing locally, you also support the South African economy and job creation.

As a local manufacturer, we’re able to deliver nationwide. This also means cost and time savings for your firm. You don’t have to wait for imports or deal with import duties. In addition, you can trust our guarantees. Our installation guidance is also beneficial.

Our product range is comprehensive enough to meet a wide range of application needs. In addition to a full range of culvert pipes for stockpile tunnels and drainage solutions, we handle the galvanisation processes at our galvanising plants. We also manufacture other steel products related to road safety of which the W-beam guardrails require no introduction.

View our products download page for downloadable brochures on our range of steel products for mining, industrial and construction industries. These include, but are not limited to:


Charcoal Kilns

Corrugated Steel Pipe Bevel Specification

Corrugation and Standard Profiles

Corrugated Steel Structures

MP68 – Notch Nestable Pipe

MP100 Bolted Nestable Pipe

MP100 Horseshoe Arch


MP200 – Arch Section KB

MP200 – High Profile Pipe Arch MA

MP200 – High Profile Underpass UA

MP200 – Horse Shoe Arch HSA

MP200 – Low Profile Pipe Arch MB

MP200 – Low Profile Underpass UB

MP200 – Standard Underpass UC

MP200 – Super-Span Ellipse SSE

MP200 – Super-Span High Profile Arch SSHA

MP200 – Super-Span Low Profile Arch SSLA

MP200 – SuperSpan Pear SSP

MP200 Cast in Angles

MP200 Multiplate Pipe

MP200 Ring Beams

MP200 Round Pipe KA

MP200 Standard Profile Diagrams

MP200 Super-Span Thrust Beams

Void Formers and Pile Casings


Where to get more information about our products for drainage structures

Enquire about the thickness, wave-curve sizes, the pipe sizes, lengths, customised solutions and lead time required. We’re here to answer your questions and help you make an informed buying decision.