Safety factors of buried steel natural gas pipelines under spatially variable earthquake ground motion.

Nikolaos Psyrras, Anastasios Sextos, Oh-Sung Kwon, Simos Gerasimidis

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paperpeer-review


The damaging potential of spatial variability in seismic ground motion on the integrity of buried pipelines is demonstrated in this paper. A numerical analysis methodology is developed first to determine the seismic demand of a typical straight steel natural gas pipeline running through a site composed of two different media with an impedance ratio of 2 and swept by vertically propagating SV-waves. The analysis follows a sub-structured, two-phase approach involving the computation of pipeline input excitation from 2D linear viscoelastic and linear-equivalent seismic site response models and the quasi-static application of the derived critical motion profiles on a near-surface 3D continuum soil model surrounding an extended inelastic shell model of the pipeline. The focus is then placed on identifying the ground and exciting conditions bearing adverse effects on the peak pipeline response. By comparing the pipeline demand in terms of stress and strain to capacity metrics prescribed in present seismic codes, the importance of the local site response is gauged. Results show that low-frequency ground vibrations produce the most unfavorable demand on the pipe for the set of cases examined. More importantly, even though pipeline axial strain demand-to-capacity ratios for elastic local site response under weak excitation imply a large safety margin, pipeline demand can exceed capacity near the site boundary under strong excitations and subsequent nonlinear soil response. Plastic local buckling may also develop in the pipeline under high-intensity input motions, thus highlighting the necessity to account for non-synchronous earthquake ground motion in case of horizontally nonhomogeneous sites.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event11th U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering - Los Angeles, United States
Duration: 25 Jun 201829 Jun 2018


Conference11th U.S. National Conference on Earthquake Engineering
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles
Internet address


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