Simple Procedure for Seismic Analysis of Liquid-Storage Tanks

Praveen K. Malhotra, Senior Res. Scientist
Factory Mutual Research, Norwood, MA, USA

Thomas Wenk, Civil Eng. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland Martin Wieland, Dr
Electrowatt Engineering Ltd, Zurich, Switzerland

This paper provides the theoretical background of a simplified seismic design procedure for cylindrical ground-supported tanks. The procedure takes into account impulsive and convective (sloshing) actions of the liquid in flexible steel or concrete tanks fixed to rigid foundations. Seismic responses – base shear, overturning moment, and sloshing wave height – are calculated by using the site response spectra and performing a few simple calculations. An example is presented to illustrate the procedure, and a comparison is made with the detailed modal analysis procedure. The simplified procedure has been adopted in Eurocode 8.

unanchored tanks supported on rigid foundations were therefore studied [15]. It was shown that base uplifting reduces the hydrodynamic forces in the tank, but increases significantly the axial compressive stress in the tank wall. Further studies [16, 17] showed that base uplifting in tanks supported directly on flexible soil foundations does not lead to a significant increase in the axial compressive stress in the tank wall, but may lead to large foundation penetrations and several cycles of large plastic rotations at the plate boundary. Flexibly supported unanchored tanks are therefore less prone to elephant-foot buckling damage, but more prone to uneven settlement of the foundation and fatigue rupture at the plate-shell junction. In addition to the above studies, numerous other experimental and numerical studies have provided valuable insight into the seismic behaviour of tanks [18–27]. This paper deals only with the elastic analysis of fully anchored, rigidly supported tanks. The effects of foundation flexibility and base uplifting on the tank response may be found elsewhere [13–17].

Large-capacity ground-supported cylindrical tanks are used to store a variety of liquids, e.g. water for drinking and fire fighting, petroleum, chemicals, and liquefied natural gas. Satisfactory performance of tanks during strong ground shaking is crucial for modern facilities. Tanks that were inadequately designed or detailed have suffered extensive damage during past earthquakes [1–7]. Earthquake damage to steel storage tanks can take several forms. Large axial compressive stresses due to beamlike bending of the tank wall can cause “elephant-foot” buckling of the wall (Fig. 1). Sloshing liquid can damage the roof and the top of tank wall (Fig. 2). High stresses in the vicinity of poorly detailed base anchors can rupture the tank wall. Base shear can overcome friction causing the tank to slide. Base uplifting in unanchored or partially anchored tanks can damage the piping connections that are incapable of accommodating vertical displacements, rupture the plate-shell junction due to excessive joint stresses, and cause uneven settlement of the foundation. Initial analytical studies [8, 9] dealt with the hydrodynamics of liquids in rigid tanks resting on rigid founda-

tions. It was shown that a part of the liquid moves in long-period sloshing motion, while the rest moves rigidly with the tank wall. The latter part of the liquid – also known as the impulsive liquid – experiences the same acceleration as the ground and contributes predominantly to the base shear and overturning moment. The sloshing liquid determines the height of the free-surface waves, and hence the freeboard requirement. It was shown later [10–12] that the flexibility of the tank wall may cause the impulsive liquid to experience accelerations that are several times greater than the peak ground acceleration. Thus, the base shear and overturning moment calculated by assuming the tank to be rigid can be nonconservative. Tanks supported on flexible foundations, through rigid base mats, experience base translation and rocking, resulting in longer impulsive periods and generally greater effective damping. These changes may affect the impulsive response significantly [13, 14]. The convective (or sloshing) response is practically insensitive to both the tank wall and the foundation flexibility due to its long period of oscillation. Tanks analysed in the above studies were assumed to be completely anchored at their base. In practice, complete base anchorage is not always feasible or economical. As a result, many tanks are either unanchored or only partially anchored at their base. The effects of base uplifting on the seismic response of partially anchored and

Peer-reviewed by international experts and accepted for publication by IABSE Publications Committee

Fig. 1: Elephant-foot buckling of a tank wall (courtesy of University of California at Berkeley) Reports 197

Structural Engineering International 3/2000

h may be calculated by taking a weighted average over the wetted height of the tank wall.460 1. only the first few modes of vibration need to be considered in the analysis (Fig. yet accurate.36 6.0 2. The coefficient Ci is dimensionless.452 0.543 0. The impulsive and convective responses are combined by taking their numerical sum rather than their rootmean-square value.616 0. and E the modulus of elasticity of the tank material.401 0.439 0. Specifically. 12.521 0.74 1.419 0. Tcon = Cc r and first convective modes are considered satisfactory in most cases. 12.5 1 1.548 0.571 0.237 0.3 0.5 2. There is. Structural Engineering International 3/2000 .21 6.52 1. and more generally applicable.03 Cc [s/√m] 2. 10 8 6 4 2 0 0 0.500 0.690 0.56 7. ρ the mass density of liquid.763 0.60 1.48 1.48 1.480 0.764 0. All coefficients are based on an exact model of the tank-liquid system [10. where H is the height of water in the tank and r the tank radius).97 6. Simple Procedure for Seismic Analysis The procedure presented here is based on the work of Veletsos and co-workers [10.640 1. 14] with certain modifications that make the procedure simple. For practical applications.400 0. 3: Liquid-filled tank modelled by generalised single-degree-of-freedom systems For most tanks (0.06 6.176 0.28 7.686 0.517 1. some merit in slightly adjusting the modal properties of these two modes to account for the entire liquid mass in the tank. The mass.700 0.158 Fig. 4 or Table 1. the response of various SDOF systems may be calculated independently and then combined to give the net base shear and overturning moment. height and natural period of each SDOF system are obtained by the methods described in [10–14]. The results obtained using only the first impulsive 198 Reports 0. Model Properties The natural periods of the impulsive (Timp) and the convective (Tcon) responses are Timp = Ci Fig. these modifications include – representing the tank-liquid system by the first impulsive and first convective modes only where h is the equivalent uniform thickness of the tank wall. For a given earthquake ground motion.825 Fig.825 hi’/H 2.751 0.586 0.842 mc /ml 0. and higher convective modes for broad tanks (H/r ≤ 1).721 0.400 0.011 0.300 0.7 1.0 1.74 6.3 < H/r < 3.0 Table 1: Recommended design values for the first impulsive and convective modes of vibration as a function of the tank height-to-radius ratio (H/r).452 0. however.– adjusting the impulsive and convective heights to account for the overturning effect of the higher modes – generalising the impulsive period formula so that it can be applied to steel as well as concrete tanks of various wall thicknesses.5 3.190 0.009 0.448 0. 3).48 mi /ml 0.414 1.453 hc /H 0. 4: Impulsive and convective coefficients Ci and Cc hi /H 0.5 0. 2: Sloshing damage to upper shell of tank (courtesy of University of California at Berkeley) H ρ h/r × E (1) (2) Method of Dynamic Analysis The dynamic analysis of a liquid-filled tank may be carried out using the concept of generalised single-degree-offreedom (SDOF) systems representing the impulsive and convective modes of vibration of the tank-liquid system.414 0.48 1.555 0.734 0.09 1. assigning the highest weight near the base of the tank where the strain is maximal. 14]. the first impulsive and first convective modes together account for 85–98% of the total liquid mass in the tank.810 0. The remaining mass of the liquid vibrates primarily in higher impulsive modes for tall tanks (H/r > 1). The coefficients Ci and Cc are obtained from Fig.824 0. For tanks with non-uniform wall thickness.5 H/R 2 2.796 0.785 0.314 0.5 3 Cc Ci mc H R hi mi hc – combining the higher impulsive modal mass with the first impulsive mode and the higher convective modal mass with the first convective mode H/r Ci 9. while Cc is expressed in s/√m.472 hc’/H 3.794 0.

T (s) 2 3 Tcon6 Fig. If the tank is supported on a ring foundation. and hw and hr are the heights of the centres of gravity of the tank wall and roof.5 H/R 2 2.0 1.2 1. where hi and hc are the heights of the centroids of the impulsive and convective hydrodynamic wall pressures (Fig. and Se(Tcon) the convective spectral acceleration (obtained from a 0.6 0. respectively.8 1. 7). The overturning moment immediately below the base plate (M’) is dependent 1 ζ = 2% 0. M should be used to design the tank wall. in combination with ordinary beam theory.5 3 Class 2 1.4 0.4 0.5) M [MNm] 49.5% Comparison with Detailed Modal Analysis Three steel tanks were selected for comparing the results obtained from the proposed procedure with those from a detailed modal analysis.9) 53. Three impulsive and three convective modes were used in the detailed analysis.2 0.5 3 mi /ml M = ( mi hi + mw hw + mr hr ) × Se(Timp ) + mc hc Se(Tcon ) M' = ( mi hi' + mw hw + mr hr ) × Se(Timp ) + mc hc' Se(Tcon ) d=R Se(Tcon ) g (4) (5) (6) (7) 1 2 3 Q = (Qi1 )2 + (Qi2 )2 + (Qi3 )2 + (Qc )2 + (Qc )2 + (Qc )2 Fig.7 (14. The results (Table 2) show that the values of base shear and moment obtained from the proposed procedure were 2–10% higher than those from 1.4) 18.5% and 2% damping r [m] 15 15 7.5 15 15 h/r 0. The response spectra for the site are the same as those used in the given example (Fig.4 Class 3 0.5 1 1.4 1 Period. mr the mass of tank roof.4 1.0 1. Table 1). The impulsive and convective masses (mi and mc) are obtained from Fig. then numerically added to give the overall response.6 (52.5 1 1.2 1.2 Drinking water.4 1.001 0.3 (44. leads to the axial stress at the base of the tank wall. base anchors and the foundation. The net overturning moment immediately above the base plate (M) is given by Eq.6 Fig.8 0. M should be used to design the tank wall and anchors only.2 0 0 0. The base shear. 7: Elastic design response spectra for 0. Se(Timp) the impulsive spectral acceleration (obtained from a 2% damped elastic response spectrum for steel and prestressed concrete tanks.5 H/R 2 2. The modal analysis results were calculated using a combination of root-meansquare and algebraic-sum rules. (5).6 0.5 H [m] 7. where g is the acceleration due to gravity.8 0. for example. was obtained using Eq. explosive and highly flammable liquids 1.2 0 Timp 0. lowly flammable petrochemicals Volatile toxic chemicals.1 mc /ml 0.001 0. (7).3 (16. The vertical displacement of the liquid surface due to sloshing (d) is given by Eq. respectively. Se (g) where mw is the mass of tank wall. 5 or Table 1 as fractions of the total liquid mass (ml).2 ζ = 0. 6: Impulsive and convective heights as fractions of the height of the liquid in the tank Structural Engineering International 3/2000 Table 3: Importance factor (γI) for tanks according to Eurocode 8 [28] Reports 199 . using the root-mean-square rule. Seismic Responses The total base shear is given by Q = ( mi + mw + mr ) × Se(Timp ) + mc Se(Tcon ) (3) responses were calculated first. non-volatile toxic chemicals. while M’ should be used to design the foundation. It is given by Eq. If the tank is supported on a mat foundation.001 Q [MN] 15. 5: Impulsive and convective masses as fractions of the total liquid mass in the tank on the hydrodynamic pressure on the tank wall as well as that on the base plate. The overturning moment above the base plate.5% damped elastic response spectrum). 6. 6 or Table 1. (6).6) 346 (334) 127 (123) M’ [MNm] 167 (164) 577 (557) 140 (136) D [cm] 57 (51) 75 (66) 79 (67) 4 h’c /H 3 2 1 0 0 h’i /H Table 2: Comparison of results from proposed procedure with those from detailed analysis (values in parentheses are from the modal analysis) Tank contents Importance factor (γI) for Class 1 hc /H hi /H 0. where the heights hi’ and hc’ are obtained from Fig. or a 5% damped elastic response spectrum for concrete tanks). The net impulsive and the net convective Spectral Acceleration. (4). non-toxic non-flammable chemicals Fire-fighting water. where Qi1 and Qc1 are the base shear values for the first impulsive and first convective modes.

57 × 10 = 4.8 + 0.15 × 7.123 s Tcon = 1. mi /ml = 0.4 × 4. hc /H = 0. The lower two courses are 1 cm thick and the upper two courses 0. is d = 10 × 0.4 + 2. the return period of the design event for the ultimate limit state is about 2000 years. When subjected to strong shaking.5 (Table 1). obtained from Eq. The total mass of water in the tank (ml) is 2. hi’/H = 0.36 × 106 × 7.025 × 9. the recommended return periods of the design seismic event are 475 years for the ultimate limit state and 50–70 years for the serviceability limit state. In the case of the largest importance factor (γI = 1. According to Eurocode 8. Ci = 6.4 For steel.459 and mc /ml = 0. E = 2 × 1011 N/m2.01 × 2. Three tank reliability classes are defined corresponding to situations with high (Class 1). (1) and (2).541 (Table 1).81 + 1. (4).4 × 2 + 0.53 + 0.404. from Eqs. it is sometimes impractical to design tanks for forces obtained from elastic (no damage) response analysis. is Future Research Needs In regions of strong ground shaking. hc = 4.954. 7. Particularly.07 × 9.51 × 106 = 1.5% damped response spectrum in Fig.874 × 9.8. obtained from the 0. For water.583.6). The results of the proposed procedure are therefore conservative but close to those from the detailed modal analysis. The tank wall is made of four courses. and hc’ = 7.043 × 4.459 × 2.81 + 1. The tank is filled with water to a height H of 8 m (H/r = 0. Elastic forces are so large that they are arbitrarily reduced by factors of 3 or more to obtain the design forces.53 + 0. This reliability differentiation is achieved by adjusting the return period of the design seismic event.96 s For H/r = 0.the detailed modal analysis.63 m. Depending on the tank contents. hc’/H = 0. allowing only for localised non-linear phenomena without affecting the global response.4 × 4.00968 / 10 × 2 × 1011 = 0. Design According to Eurocode 8 The presented simple procedure was used in Eurocode 8 [28] and integrated in its limit state design concept. ρ = 1000 kg/m3. mi = 0.8 + 2.5% and 2% damped elastic response spectra for the site are shown in Fig. The 0. The proposed procedure satisfies these principles in a simple and efficient way for the design of fixed-base cylindrical tanks. (3) is Q = ( 1.4 + 0. obtained from the 2% damped elastic response spectrum (Fig.36 × 106 × 0.51 × 106 = 1. Timp = 6. hi = 3. 4).77 and Cc = 1.874 × 9.891.96 s.77 × 8 × 1000 0. obtained from Eq. it should account for the convective and impulsive components of fluid motion as well as the tank shell deformation due to hydrodynamic pressure and interaction effects with the impulsive component. is M' = ( 1.8. obtained from Eq. The level of seismic protection is established based on the risk to life and the economic and environmental consequences. and the height of its centre of gravity (hw) is 4.6 ) × 106 × 0.541 × 2. The mass of the tank roof (mr) is 25 × 103 kg and the height of its centre of gravity (hr) is 9.874 g. 4.36 × 106 kg Also from Table 1.15 + 0. tanks therefore respond in a non-linear fashion and experience some damage.8 × 0.6 ) × 106 × 0.4 × 6.07 g. no generally acceptable methods exist to perform a non-linear seismic Structural Engineering International 3/2000 M = ( 1. an importance factor (γI) is assigned to each of the three classes (Table 3). Using weights equal to the distance from the liquid surface h= 0. is Se(Tcon) = 0.008 × 0. Seismic Responses The impulsive spectral acceleration for Timp = 0.15 × 106 kg mc = 0. The serviceability and ultimate limit states have to be verified. the equivalent uniform thickness of the tank wall is calculated by the weighted average method.81 + 1.043 × 4.7 m 200 Reports .8). The specification of the corresponding seismic actions is left to the national authorities. and to include the hydrodynamic response of the fluid.53 m.043 + 0. hi /H = 0.8 × 0.57 s/m0.01 × 2. The base shear obtained from Eq. Model Properties First.008 × 2.8 cm thick.63 × 0.4 × 6.81 = 81 MNm The maximum vertical displacement of the liquid surface due to sloshing.07 = 0. The convective spectral acceleration for Tcon = 4.6 m. Hence. However.6 m is fully anchored to a concrete mat foundation.13 m.4 = 0.81 = 11 MN The overturning moment above the base plate. medium (Class 2) and low (Class 3) risk.025 × 9.23 + 0. The total mass of the tank wall (mw) is 43 × 103 kg.00968 m 2.23 m.66 m. Hence. Example A steel tank with a radius r of 10 m and total height of 9. For the reference case (γI = 1). is Se(Timp) = 0. (5). (6).15 × 3. The values of sloshing wave height obtained from the proposed procedure were 12–18% higher than those from the detailed modal analysis.51 × 106 kg. hi’= 7.4 × 2 + 0.025 ) × 106 × 0.66 = 40 MNm and the overturning moment below the base plate. the analysis has to assume linear elastic behaviour.4 m high.13 + 0. each 2.36 × 106 × 4. For H/r = 0.07 × 9. The seismic action effects have to be multiplied by the selected importance factor.874 × 9. Hence.123 s.

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