Definition - What does Dead Load mean?
A dead load can be defined as loads on a buried pipe that are constant and don't change or those loads that act permanently unlike live loads that act momentarily. In buried pipes, the soil overburden and asphalt paving or any other permanent structure over it contribute to the dead load. The total load acting on a pipe will be the sum of the dead and live loads combined.
A dead load is also known as a static load.
Trenchlesspedia explains Dead Load
The weight of the soil prism over a buried pipe exerts a dead load on the pipe. The dead load can be calculated using a simple formula:
DL = γ x (H/144)
where DL - dead load (lb/in²)
γ - unit weight of the backfill (lb/ft³)
H - height of soil cover (ft)
A pipe at good depth and with well compacted backfill provides adequate support to a buried pipe and prevents live loads from damaging them by uneven load distribution.