Evaluation of Design Requirements for Anchor Block of Buried Pipelines

Document Type : Research Article

Authors

1 Associate Professor, Structural Engineering Research Center, International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES), Tehran, Iran

2 Geotechnical Engineering Consultant

Abstract

Gas transmission pipelines will expand when they are put into operation under the influence of increased internal pressure and temperature. The movement due to such expansion is significant for large diameter pipelines which operate at high pressure and elevated temperature. The pipeline needs to be restrained near compressor stations in order to prevent the transmission of such movement to equipment and facilities within the station. Concrete anchor blocks are commonly used to restrain the movement of buried pipelines on both sides of compressor stations. Anchor blocks for transmission pipelines are usually massive because of the high axial stress in the pipe which results in large thrust force. Current design procedures are usually based on providing an adequate margin of safety against block sliding, block overturning and soil bearing pressure.

This paper presents the results of an analytical study on the response of soil, pipeline and anchor block at different operating pressure and temperatures. Nonlinear finite element analyses which include modeling of soil-pipe and soil-block interactions are carried out to evaluate the design procedures. The results indicate that the concept used in current design procedures is fundamentally flawed because it is based on controlling forces rather displacements. Furthermore, both the thrust force and the resistance capacity are grossly miscalculated. The thrust force is significantly overestimated because it is based on a fully restrained anchor. The resistance capacity of the block which is calculated based on full mobilization of the passive resistance of soil is also drastically miscalculated because only a fraction of the passive resistance is mobilized.

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