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Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering 21 (2014) 921e928

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Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jngse

Buckling behavior analysis of buried gas pipeline under strike-slip


fault displacement
J. Zhang, Z. Liang*, C.J. Han
School of Mechatronic Engineering, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu 610500, China

a r t i c l e i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 26 August 2014
Received in revised form
20 October 2014
Accepted 23 October 2014
Available online 3 November 2014

Long distance buried pipeline is the most important transportation way of natural gas. Strike-slip fault
movement caused by earthquake is one of the threats for the structural integrity of buried pipelines.
Bulking behavior of buried gas pipeline under strike-slip fault displacement was investigated by nite
element method in this paper, considering soil-pipeline interaction in soil mass layer and rock mass
layer. Effects of internal pressure, radius-thickness ratio and fault displacement on buckling mode and
axial strain of buried pipeline were discussed. The results show that buried pipeline in rock mass layer is
more prone to failure than in soil mass layer under strike-slip fault. With the increasing of fault
displacement, deformation of the buried pipeline increases, and the exure curve shape changes from Sshape to Z-shape. Buckling modes of the pipeline are different in the two layers, buried non-pressure
pipeline appears local collapse in soil mass layer, while it is easy to be squished in rock mass layer.
Buckling modes of pressure pipeline change from collapse to wrinkle gradually with the increasing of
internal pressure, and the wrinkle amplitude also increases. In rock mass layer, number of buckling
location for the pressure pipeline increases from two to three, and then increases to ve with the
increasing of fault displacement. With the increasing of radius-thickness ratio, buckling of the buried
pipeline is more serious. Axial strain of pressure pipeline increases with the increasing of internal
pressure and fault displacement.
2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Buried gas pipeline
Strike-slip fault
FEM
Buckling behavior
Axial strain

1. Introduction
Strike-slip fault movement is one of the threats for the structural
integrity of buried pipelines caused by earthquakes (Vazouras et al.,
2010). Evaluation of the response of buried pipelines crossing the
faults is among their top seismic design priorities (Karamitros et al.,
2007). This is because the axial and bending strains induced to the
pipeline by the fault may become fairly large and lead to rupture,
either due to tension or due to buckling. Generally, there are three
types for the fault, they are normal fault, reverse fault and strikeslip fault. The behavior of buried steel pipelines subjected to
excessive ground deformation has received signicant attention in
the pipeline community in the recent year (Vazouras et al., 2012).
Wang et al. (2011) analyzed the strain of buried pipelines under
strike-slip faults. Duan et al. (2011) presented a design method of
subsea pipelines against earthquake fault movement. Vazouras
et al. (2010 and 2012) studied the mechanical behavior of buried

* Corresponding author.
E-mail address: liangz_2242@126.com (Z. Liang).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jngse.2014.10.028
1875-5100/ 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

pipelines crossing active strike-slip faults. Kershenbaum et al.


(2000) investigated an unburied offshore snake pipeline
behavior under various types of seismic faults.
Gas pipelines may cross mountains, rivers, marshes, plateau,
city, permafrost and so on, and the layer may be soil layer or rock
layer. Although many researches of buried pipeline in soil mass
layer were investigated, not considering the rock mass layer. Mechanical properties of buried pipeline in soil mass layer are
different with the rock mass layer. And the failure modes, stress and
strain of the buried gas pipeline are also different under fault
displacement. In addition, compressive stress caused by fault
movement may cause buckling of buried pipeline either in the
beam mode or in the shell mode (Joshi et al., 2011). Thus, various
simplied methods earlier prove to be inadequate for the analysis
of pipeline crossing strike-slip fault. Modern numerical techniques
based on nite element method allow a detailed analysis to be
performed (Trifonov and Cherniy, 2010). In this paper, bulking
behavior of buried gas pipeline under the strike-slip fault
displacement was investigated by nite element method, considering soil-pipeline interaction in soil mass layer and rock mass
layer. And effects of internal pressure, radius-thickness ratio and

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J. Zhang et al. / Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering 21 (2014) 921e928

fault displacement on buckling mode and axial strain of buried gas


pipeline were discussed.

2. Critical buckling stress under bending moment


Pipeline buckling occurs if the stress exceeds the yield limit
stress of the material. Under strike-slip fault, bending moment
caused by fault displacement make the buried pipeline bent.
Many formulas of estimating buckling stress and moment of the
cylinder under bending have been explained, but not considering
the internal pressure. One of the earliest efforts in nonlinear
structural analysis was performed by Brazier (1927). He found
that this category of cylinders collapsed when the radially inward
deection reached 1/9 of the cylinder diameter. The bending
moment Mcr1 corresponding to this deformation can be calculated by:

Mcr1

p
2 EpDt 2
p
9
1  n2

3. Materials and methods

(1)

Where D is the pipeline diameter, t is the wall thickness, E is the


elasticity modulus, and n is the Poisson's ratio.
The maximum bending stress scr of a pipeline under the buckling moment Mcr can be expressed by:

scr

4Mcr
pD2 t

(2)

If the critical buckling stress of the pipeline under bending is the


same as the buckling stress of the cylinder under uniform
compression, the critical stress can be expressed by:

 
2E
t

scr q

 D
2
3 1n

(3)

Then, the buckling moment can be derived as follows:

EpDt 2
Mcr2 q


2 3 1  n2

(4)

Timoshenko and Gere (1961) stated that the maximum


compressive stress at the critical buckling moment is about 30%
higher than that obtained from Eq. (3).

EpDt 2
Mcr3 0:65 q


3 1  n2

Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of strike-slip fault.

(5)

Those theories were expressed not considering the internal


pressure. Based on the plastic theory, the numerical solutions for
the stress and strain components are obtained for a typical
pressure pipeline by Hu and Yuan (2012). The strain and stress
distribution of the internal pipeline can be obtained by the formulas. But they didn't research the pipeline buckling problem.
The bending deformation of buried pipeline is a nonlinear
problem. The bending moment is not uniform along the axial
direction of the pipeline. And the soil-pipeline interaction is an
important factor for the buckling behavior. In addition, pipeline
is a thin shell structure, when the large deformation appears on
the cross section of pipeline, superposition principle can't be
used for the interaction of axial strain and bending strain. And
there may be residual stress and stress concentration for the
pipeline, therefore, it is difcult to solve the pipeline response by
the analytic method, and the nite element method is more
suitable.

As shown in Fig. 1, the fault motion depends on both the fault


dip angle b and the pipeline crossing angle 4, which are present in
the vertical and the horizontal plane respectively (Joshi et al., 2011).
In this paper, dene b 90 , 4 90 , it means that the fault plane is
perpendicular to the ground plane and the buried pipeline is
perpendicular to the fault plane. Numerical simulation of buried
gas pipeline under strike-slip fault is investigated by using ABAQUS.
Fig. 2 shows the nite element models of the buried pipeline and
fault layer. The pipeline is embedded in an elongated soil prism
along the x axis. Four-node reduced-integration shell elements are
employed for modeling the cylindrical pipeline segment, and eightnode reduced-integration elements are used to simulate the
backll soil and layer. Buried depth is chosen equal to about 2
pipeline diameter, which is in accordance with pipeline engineering practice (Mohitpour et al., 2001). The soil length in the x direction is equal to at least 60 pipeline diameters, where dimensions
in directions y, z equal to 6 and 10 times the pipeline diameter
respectively. A total of 48 shell elements around the cylinder
circumference in this central part have been found to be adequate
to achieve convergence of the solution, whereas the size of the shell
elements in the longitudinal direction has been chosen equal to 1/
15 of the pipeline outer diameter D.
In Fig. 2(a), the soil layer and backll soil are the same material.
But in Fig. 2(b), the layer and backll soil are different. It is assumed
that the backll soil in the two layers are the same. The fault plane
divides the soil into two blocks of equal size. The analysis is

Fig. 2. Finite element model.

J. Zhang et al. / Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering 21 (2014) 921e928

923

Table 1
Physical parameters of the layers.
Layers

c (kPa)

f ( )

E(MPa)

r(kg/m3)

Soil (loess)
Rock (limestone)

24.6
6720

11.7
42

33
28,500

0.44
0.29

1400
2090

conducted in two steps as follows, gravity loading is applied to the


whole model and internal pressure is loaded on the inner wall of
the pipeline rstly. Subsequently strike-slip fault displacement is
imposed. The nodes on the bottom boundary planes of the two
blocks remain xed in the y direction. A uniform horizontal
displacement due to the fault is imposed at side nodes of the rst
block along z-axis positive direction, and it is imposed at side nodes
of the second block along z-axis negative direction. In addition, all
nodes on the end boundary plane of both blocks are xed with
respect to x direction.
A large-strain plasticity model with isotropic hardening is
employed for the steel pipeline material. Mechanical behaviors of
soil and rock material are described through an elastic-perfectly
plastic Mohr-Coulomb constitutive model, characterized by the
cohesion c, the friction angle f, the elastic modulus E, and Poisson's
ratio n. The dilation angle is assumed equal to zero for cases
considered in this paper. The physical parameters of soil (Wang
et al., 2010) and rock are shown in Table 1. The interface between
the outer surface of the pipeline and the surrounding soil are
simulated with a contact algorithm, which allows separation of the
pipeline and soil, and accounts for interface friction, through an
appropriate friction coefcient m 0.5. The pipeline diameter
D 0.914 m, which is a typical size for gas transmission pipeline.
The pipeline wall thickness t 8 mm. Numerical results are obtained for X80 steel pipelines. It is a typical steel material for gas
pipeline applications, with a stressestrain curve showed in Fig. 3
(Vazouras et al., 2010). The yield stress sy 596 MPa. The
Young's modulus of steel material is 210 GPa, Poisson's ratio is 0.3,
density is 7800 kg/m3. Considering a safety factor equal to 0.72
(ASME, 2007), and the maximum operating pressure Pmax of this
pipeline, given by the expression Pmax 0.72  (2syt/D).
4. Results of buried non-pressure pipeline
4.1. Fault displacement effect

Fig. 4. Buckling modes of non-pressure pipeline under different fault displacements.

When D/t 114, buckling modes of the buried pipeline under


different fault displacements are shown in Fig. 4. There are two

Fig. 3. Strain-stress curve of X80.

buckling locations of the pipeline in soil mass layer. They are in both
sides of the fault line, and buckling modes are the same. With the
increasing of the fault displacement, buckling is more serious, and
local collapse appears. But in rock mass layer, the pipeline was
squashed around the fault line. Buckling modes of pipeline in rock
mass layer are different with it in soil mass layer. In addition to the
backll soil and layer have a great effect on the buckling modes of
buried pipeline under strike-slip fault. The pipeline was squeezed
more at with the increasing of the fault displacement. Because of
the elasticity modulus of the soil layer is smaller than the rock layer,
deformation of soil mass is bigger than rock mass under the action
of the buried pipeline crossing the strike-slip fault. Under the same
fault displacement, deformation of the buried pipeline in rock soil
layer is more serious, which is very dangerous for the gas transmission. Once the leakage appears on the pipeline, gas will spread,
and explosion accident may be occurring.
Fig. 5 shows the exure curves of the buried pipeline under
different fault displacements. In both soil mass layer and rock mass
layer, exure deformation of the buried pipeline increases with the
increasing of the fault displacement. And the curve shape changes

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J. Zhang et al. / Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering 21 (2014) 921e928

Fig. 6. Buckling modes of non-pressure pipeline with different radius-thickness ratios.

Fig. 5. Flexure curves of non-pressure pipeline under different fault displacements.

from S-shape to Z-shape. When the fault displacement is small, the


curve is smooth, which means that the buckling is not serious.
While the fault displacement is bigger, there are two inection
points in Z-shape curve, they represent the two buckling locations.
Under same fault displacement, exure deformation of the buried
pipeline in rock mass layer is more serious, and length of the two
inection points is more short. So, buried pipeline is more easy to
be cut in the rock mass layer.

locations with the maximum von Mises stress increases with the
decreasing of radius-thickness ratio. In rock mass layer (as see
Fig. 6(b)), pipeline with a bigger radius-thickness ratio is more easy
to be squished. The most dangerous place of the pipeline is in the
fault line, and von Mises stress around the fault line is bigger than
other sections. Buried pipeline with the same radius-thickness ratio
in rock mass layer is prone to failure.
Fig. 7 shows exure curves of the buried pipeline under different
radius-thickness ratios. Radius-thickness ratio has a small effect on
the exure deformation of the pipeline ends. In the middle part of
the pipeline, exure deformation of the pipeline increases with the
increasing of radius-thickness ratio. Flexure curve of buried pipeline with same radius-thickness ratio in soil mass layer is more
smooth than in rock mass layer.
Table 2 shows the maximum axial strains of non-pressure
pipeline under different radius-thickness ratios and fault displacements. No matter in soil or rock mass layer, axial strain of the
pipeline increases with the increasing of radius-thickness ratio and
fault displacement. Axial strain of the buried pipeline in soil mass
layer is smaller than in rock mass layer.
5. Results of buried pressure pipeline

4.2. Radius-thickness ratio effect

5.1. Internal pressure effect

When fault displacement u 1.8 m, buckling modes of the


buried pipeline under different radius-thickness ratios are shown
in Fig. 6. In soil mass layer (as see Fig. 6(a)), buckling of the buried
pipeline is more serious with the increasing of radius-thickness
ratio, and two buckling locations of the pipeline appear. When
radius-thickness ratio is bigger, the maximum von Mises stress
appears around the two buckling locations. While radius-thickness
ratio is small, the pipeline is also smooth, pipeline's von Mises
stress on both sides of the fault line is bigger. And length of the two

When D/t 114, u 1.8 m, buckling modes of the buried


pressure pipeline under different pressures are shown in Fig. 8. In
the soil mass layer, there are only two buckling locations, and
buckling modes of the buried pipeline under different pressures are
different. With the increasing of internal pressure, buckling modes
change from collapse to wrinkle gradually. When internal pressure
P > 0.4Pmax, wrinkles appear on the buried pipeline, and wrinkle
number is different. Wrinkle amplitude increases with the
increasing of internal pressure. In the rock mass layer, there are

J. Zhang et al. / Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering 21 (2014) 921e928

925

Fig. 8. Buckling modes of pressure pipeline under different pressures.


Fig. 7. Flexure curves of non-pressure pipeline with different radius-thickness ratios.

three buckling locations in the pipeline, buckling modes along the


fault line are different with the both sides. Buckling modes on both
sides change from collapse to wrinkle gradually with the increasing
of internal pressure and fault movement, and the wrinkle amplitude increases. But buckling modes along the fault line are less

Table 2
The maximum axial strain of non-pressure pipeline.
Layers

Soil mass

Rock mass

u(m)

0.4
0.8
1.2
1.6
2.0
0.4
0.8
1.2
1.6
2.0

D/t
114

87

70

59

50

45

0.0018
0.0034
0.0302
0.0831
0.1069
0.0030
0.0153
0.0645
0.0925
0.1140

0.0015
0.0026
0.0051
0.0097
0.0523
0.0029
0.0077
0.0327
0.0623
0.1060

0.0014
0.0022
0.0031
0.0058
0.0092
0.0025
0.0055
0.0089
0.0140
0.0923

0.0012
0.0020
0.0026
0.0039
0.0062
0.0022
0.0047
0.0096
0.0136
0.0551

0.0011
0.0018
0.0024
0.0031
0.0044
0.0019
0.0032
0.0078
0.0141
0.0272

0.0010
0.0017
0.0023
0.0027
0.0036
0.0018
0.0028
0.0069
0.0116
0.0202

affected by internal pressure. This section pipeline was cut by the


rock layer under fault displacement. And with the increasing of
internal pressure, deformation of this section pipeline decreases for
the internal pressure enhances the stiffness.
Fig. 9 shows axial strain of the sides buckling location under
different pressures. In both soil mass layer and rock mass layer,
axial strain increases with the increasing of internal pressure and
fault displacement. Under the same fault displacement, pipeline
axial strain in soil mass layer is smaller than in rock mass layer.
Therefore, the buried pipeline in rock layer is more dangerous than
in soil layer under strike-slip fault. When P < 0.6Pmax, growth rate of
the axial strain is bigger. When 0.6Pmax < P < Pmax, the change
extent is very small. In soil mass layer, when u  1.2 m, the change
extent of axial strain is small. On the contrary, this change extent is
big in rock mass layer.

5.2. Fault displacement effect


When D/t 114, P Pmax, buckling modes of the buried pressure
pipeline under different fault displacement are shown in Fig. 10.
There are two buckling locations of the buried pipeline in the soil

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J. Zhang et al. / Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering 21 (2014) 921e928

Fig. 9. Axial strain of the sides buckling under different pressures.

mass layer, the wavy deformation appears on the upper part and
the lower part respectively. With the increasing of fault displacement, the wrinkle amplitude increases. But the wrinkle number
decreases, and the bigger strain is mainly on two wrinkles. In rock
mass layer, there are only two buckling locations when the fault
displacement is small. But number of buckling location increases
with the increasing of fault displacement. When u 1.6 m, there
are three buckling locations. One is in the fault line and the other
two are located on both sides of the fault line. When u 2.0 m,
there are ve buckling locations, a new buckling location appears
between fault line and the sides buckling location. Buckling modes
in the fault line are different with other buckling locations.
Fig. 11 shows exure curves of the buried pressure pipeline
under different fault displacements. Flexure deformation of the
buried pipeline increases with the increasing of fault displacement
in both soil mass layer and rock mass layer, and the curve shape
changes from a smooth curve to a polyline curve. The inection
points in the polyline curve represent the buckling locations. The
exure curve in rock mass layer is more complicated than in soil
mass layer under bigger fault displacement.
Fig. 12 shows the axial strain of the sides buckling location under
different fault displacement. With the increasing of fault

Fig. 10. Buckling modes of pressure pipeline under different fault displacements.

displacement, axial strain of the buried pipeline in soil mass layer


increases. While axial strain of the buried pipeline in rock mass
layer increases rst and then decreases. Because when the strain
reaches the limit value, the second buckling location appears that
can absorb a part of the compression strain energy. Under the same
fault displacement, axial strain in soil mass layer is smaller than in
rock mass layer, and the gap between the two values increases rst
and then decreases with the increasing of fault displacement. The
decreasing of the wrinkle number makes the growth gate of the
axial strain increase.
5.3. Radius-thickness ratio effect
When u 1.5 m, P Pmax, buckling modes of the buried pressure pipeline under different radius-thickness ratios are shown in
Fig. 13. With the decreasing of radius-thickness ratio, the wrinkles
disappear gradually, and von Mises stress of the buried pipeline
decreases. Because radius-thickness ratio enhances the pipeline
stiffness to resist the bending moment. Von Mises stress on tension
side is larger than the compression side. Bending curves of the
pipeline become smooth with the decreasing of radius-thickness
ratio. When D/t < 70, buckling in the middle of the pipeline disappears in rock mass layer.

J. Zhang et al. / Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering 21 (2014) 921e928

927

Fig. 13. Buckling modes of pressure pipeline with different radius-thickness ratios.

Fig. 11. Flexure curves of pressure pipeline under different fault displacements.

Fig. 14 shows axial strain of the side buckling locations under


different radius-thickness ratios. In soil mass layer, axial strain increases with the increasing of radius-thickness ratio, and the
growth rate increases with the increasing of fault displacement. In
rock mass layer, axial strain increases with the increasing of radiusthickness ratio when u  1.2 m. But with the increasing of radiusthickness ratio, the axial strain increases rst and then decreases
when u > 1.2 m. Because when u > 1.2 m, a new buckling appears
between the middle buckling and the side buckling. Therefore the
buckling behavior of buried pipeline in rock mass layer is more
complex than in soil mass layer.

6. Conclusions

Fig. 12. Axial strain of the sides buckling under different fault displacements.

(1) For non-pressure buried pipeline, it in rock mass layer is


more prone to failure than in soil mass layer under strike-slip
fault displacement. With the increasing of fault displacement, deformation of the buried non-pressure pipeline increases, and the exure curve shape changes from S-shape to
Z-shape. Buckling modes of the pipeline are different in the
two layers, buried non-pressure pipeline appears local
collapse in soil mass layer, while it is easy to be squished in
rock mass layer. The middle part of the non-pressure pipeline
is the most dangerous place in rock mass layer, while the two
side buckling locations are the most dangerous places in soil
mass layer. With the increasing of radius-thickness ratio,
buckling of buried pipeline is more serious. But radiusthickness ratio has a small effect on the exure deformation of the pipeline ends.
(2) Buckling modes of the buried pressure pipeline are different
with the non-pressure pipeline. There are three buckling
locations of buried pressure pipeline in rock mass layer,
which are different with buckling locations of the pipeline in

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J. Zhang et al. / Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering 21 (2014) 921e928

locations increases from two to three, and then increases to


ve with the increasing of fault displacement. With the
increasing of fault displacement, axial strain of the buried
pipeline in soil mass layer increases, but it increases rst and
then decreases in rock mass layer. With the decreasing of
radius-thickness ratio, the wrinkles disappear gradually, and
von Mises stress of the buried pipeline decreases.
Acknowledgments
This research work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51474180) and Graduate Innovation
Foundation of School of Mechatronic Engineering of SWPU
(CX2014BY08).
Appendix A. Supplementary data
Supplementary data related to this article can be found at http://
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jngse.2014.10.028.
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Fig. 14. Axial strain of the sides buckling with different radius-thickness ratios.

soil mass layer. Buckling modes on both sides change from


collapse to wrinkle gradually with the increasing of internal
pressure, and the wrinkle amplitude also increases. Axial
strain of the pressure pipeline increases with the increasing
of internal pressure. In rock mass layer, number of buckling

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