Structural performance of buried steel pipelines crossing strike-slip faults
The performance of pipelines subjected to permanent strike-slip fault movement is investigated by combining detailed numerical simulations and closed-form solutions. A closed-form solution for the force-displacement relationship of a buried pipeline subjected to tension is presented and used in the form of nonlinear springs at the two ends of the pipeline in a refined finite element model, allowing an efficient nonlinear analysis of the pipe-soil system at large strike-slip fault movements. The analysis accounts for large deformations, inelastic material behaviour of the pipeline and the surrounding soil, as well as contact and friction conditions on the soil-pipe interface. Appropriate performance criteria of the steel pipeline are adopted and monitored throughout the analysis. It is shown that the end conditions of the pipeline have a significant influence on pipeline performance. For a strike-slip fault normal to the pipeline axis, local buckling occurs at relatively small fault displacements. As the angle between the fault normal and the pipeline axis increases, local buckling can be avoided due to longitudinal stretching, but the pipeline may fail due to excessive axial tensile strains or cross sectional flattening. Copyright © 2014 by ASME.