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Water Tanks

A water tank is used to store water to tide over the daily requirements. In general,
water tanks can be classified under three heads : (i) tanks resting on ground (ii) elevated
tanks supported on staging, and (iii) underground tanks. From the shape point of view,
water tanks may be of several types, such as (i) circular tanks (ii) rectangular tanks (iii)
spherical tanks (iv) Intze tanks and (v) circular tanks with conical bottoms.
In the construction of concrete structures for the storage of water and other liquids,
the imperviousness of concrete is most essential. The permeability of any uniform and
thoroughly compacted concrete of given mix proportions is mainly dependent on the
water-cement ratio.
The increase in water-cement ratio results in increase in the permeability. The decrease
in water-cement ratio will therefore be desirable to decrease the permeability, but very
much reduced water-cement ratio may cause compaction difficulties and prove to be
harmful also.
For a given mix made with particular materials, there is a lower limit to the water-cement
ratio which can be used economically on any job. It is essential to select a richness of
mix compatible with available aggregates, whose particle shape and grading have an
important bearing on workability, which must be suited to the means of compaction
selected. Efficient compaction preferably by vibration is essential. It .is desirable to
specify cement content sufficiently high to ensure that thorough compaction is obtainable
while maintaining a sufficiently low water-cement ratio. The quantity of cement should
not be less than 330 kg/m3 of concrete. It should also be less than 530 kg/m3 of concrete
to keep the shrinkage low.
In thicker sections, where a reduction in cement content might be desirable to restrict the
temperature rise due to cement hydration, a lower cement content is usual\;' permissible.
It is usual to use rich mix like M 30 grade in most of the water tanks.
Design of liquid retaining structure has to be based on the avoidance of cracking
in the concrete having regard to its tensile strength. It has to be ensured in its design
that concrete does not crack on its water face. Cracking may also result from the restraint
to shrinkage, free expansion and contraction of concrete due to temperature and
shrinkage and swelling due to moisture effects. Correct placing of reinforcement, use of
small sized bars and use of deformed bars lead to a diffused distribution of cracks. The
risk of cracking due to overall temperature and shrinkage effects may be minimized by
limiting the changes in moisture content and temperature to which the structure as a
whole is subjected. Cracks can be prevented by avoiding the use of thick timber
shuttering which prevent the easy escape of heat of hydration from the concrete mass.
The risk of cracking can also be minimized by reducing the restraints on the free
expansion or contraction of the structure.
For long walls or slabs founded at or below the ground level, restraints can be minimized
by founding the structure on a flat layer of concrete with interposition of slidhlg layer
of some material to break the bond and facilitate movement. However, it should be
recognized that common and more serious causes of leakage in practice, other than
cracking, are defects such as segregation and honey combing and in particular all joidts
are potential source of leakage.


CODE OF PRACTICE (IS: 3370 - Part IT, 1965)
1. Plain Concrete Stmctures : Plain concrete members of reinfored concrete liquid
structures may be designed against structural failure by allowing tension in plain concrete
as per the permissible limits for tension in bending specified in IS : 456 - 2000 (i. e.,
permissible stress in tension in bending may be taken to be the same as permissible stress
in shear, q measured as inclined tension). This will automatically take care of failure due
cracking. However, nominal reinforcement in accordance with the requirements of IS :
shall be provided for plain concrete structural members.
2. Permissible Stresses in concrete
(a) For resistance to cracking: Indian Standard Code IS: 456-2000 does not specify
the permissible stresses in concrete for its resistance to cracking. However, its earlier
(IS : 456-1964) included the permissible stresses in direct tension, bending tension and
shear. These values are given in Table below. The permissible tensile stresses due to
apply to the face of the member in contact with the liquid. In members with thickness
less than 225 mm and in contact with the liquid on one side, these permissible stresses

(b) For strength calculations : In strength calculations the usual permissible stresses,
in accordance with IS : 456-2000 are used. Where the calculated shear stress
in concrete above exceeds the permissible value, reinforcement acting in conjunction
with diagonal compression in concrete shall be provided to take the whole of the shear.
3. Permissible Stresses in Steel Reinforcement
(a) For resistance to cracking: When steel and concrete are assumed to act
together for checking the tensile stresses in concrete for avoidance of cracking the tensile
stresses in steel will be limited by the requirement that the permissible tensile stress in
concrete is not exceeded so that tensile stresses in steel shall be 'equal to the product

of modular ratio of steel and concrete, and the corresponding allowable tensile stress
in concrete.
(b) For strength calculations : Though the Indian Standard Code IS : 456 had
its fourth revision in 2000, the corresponding Codes IS : 3370 (Part I, II, III and IV)
for concrete structures for the storage of liquids have not been revised since 1965. The
main Code on concrete-IS: 456 is in SI units. However, the fourth reprint (May 1982)
of IS : 3370 (Part 11)-1965 incorporates the amendment regarding the permissible
stresses in steel reinforcement. The revised values of permissible stresses are given in
Table. Converted into SI units, using the approximation 10 kg/cm2
= 1 N/mm2


Note. Stress limitations for liquid retammg faces shall also apply to the following:
(a) Other faces within 225 mm of the liquid retaining face.
(b) Outside or external faces of structures away from the liquid but placed in waterlogged soils upto the level of highest subsoil water.
4. Stresses due to drying shrinkage or temperature change
Stresses due to drying shrinkage or temperature change may be ignored provided
(a) The permissible stresses specified for concrete and steel
Respectively are not exceeded.
(b) Adequate precautions are taken to avoid cracking of concrete during the construction
period and until the reservoir is put into use.
(c) The recommendations as regards the provision of joint and for suitable sliding
layer (see 21.3) are complied with, or the reservoir is to be used only for the storage
of water or aqueous liquids at or near ambient temperature and the circumstances are
such that the concrete will never dry out.
(ii) Shrinkage stresses may, however, be required to be calculated in special case,
when a shrinkage coefficient of 300 x 10-6 may be assumed.
(iii) When the shrinkage stresses are allowed, the permissible stresses, tensile stresses
in concrete (direct and bending) as given in Table 21.1 may be increased by 33 ~ percent.

(iv) Where reservoirs are protected with an internal impermeable lining, consideration
should be given to the possibility of concrete eventually drying out. Unless it is
on the basis of tests or experience that the lining has adequate crack bridging properties,
allowance for the increased effect of drying shrinkage should be made in the design.
S. Steel Reinforcement
(a) Minimum reinforcement : (i) The minimum reinforcement in walls, floors and
roofs in each of the two directions at right angles shall have an area of 0.3 percent
of the concrete section in that direction for sections upto 100 mm thickness. For sections
of thickness greater than 100 mm and less than 450 mm the minimum reinforcement in
each of the two directions shall be linearly reduced from 0.3 percent for 100 mm thick
section to 0.2 percent for 450 mm, minimum reinforcement in each of the two directions
shall be kept at 0.2 percent. In concrete sections of thickness 225 mm or greater, two
layers of reinforcing bars shall be placed one near each face of the section to make up
the minimum reinforcement specified above.
(ii) In special circumstances, floor slabs resting directly on the ground may be constructed
with percentage of reinforcement less than that specified above. In no case the percentage
of reinforcement in any member be less than 0.15 % of the concrete section.
(b) Minimum cover to reinforcement : (i) For liquid faces of parts of members
either in contact with the liquid or enclosing the space above the liquid (such as inner
faces of slab), the minimum cover to all reinforcement should be 25 mm or the diameter
of the main bar, whichever is greater. In the presence of sea water and soils and water
of corrosive character the cover should be increased by 12 mm but this additional cover
shall not be taken into account for design calculations.
(ii) For faces away from the liquid and for parts of the structure neither in contact
with the liquid on any face nor enclosing the face above the liquid, the cover should
be the same as provided for other reinforced concrete sections.
The various types of joints may be categorized under three heads :
(a) Movement joints (b) Constructions joints (c) Temporary open joints.
(a) Movement joints : These require the incorporation of special materials in order
to maintain water-tightness while accommodating relative movement between the side of
the joints. All movement joints are essentially flexible joints. Movement joints are of
three types
(l) Contraction joint (ii) Expansion joint (iii) Sliding joint.
(I) Contraction joint : A contraction joint is a typical movement joint which
accommodates the contraction of the concrete. The joint may be either a complete
contraction joint in which there is discontinuity of both concrete and steel, or it may be
partial contraction joint in which there is discontinuity of concrete but the reinforcements
run through the joint . In both cases, no initial gap is kept at the joint, but only
discontinuity is given during construction. In the former type, a water bar is inserted
while in the later type, the mouth of the joint is filled with joint sealing compound and
then strip painted. A water bar is a pre-formed strip of impermeable material (such as a

polyvinyl chloride or rubber). Joint sealing compounds are unpermeable initial gap
ductile materials which are required to provide a water-tight seal by adhesion
to the concrete throughout the range of joint movement. The commonly used materials
are based on asphalt, bitumen, or coal tar pitch with or without fillers such as limestone
or slate dust, asbestos fibre, chopped hemp, rubber or other suitable material. These are
usually applied after construction or just before the reservoir is put into service by
pouring in the hot or cold state, by trowelling or gunning or as preformed strips ironed
into position.
(il) Expansion joint : It is a movement joint with complete discontinuity
in both reinforcement and concrete, and is intended to accommodate
either expansion or contraction of the structure. In general such a joint requires the
provision of an initial gap between the adjoining parts of a structure which by closing or
opening accommodates the expansion or contraction of the structure.
The initial gap is filled with a joint filler. Joint fillers are usually compressible sheet or
strip materials used as spacers. They are fixed to the face of the first placed concrete
and against which the second placed concrete is cast. With an initial gap of 30 mm,
the maximum expansion or contraction that the filler materials may allow may be of the
order of 10 mm. Joint fillers, as at present available cannot by themselves function as
water-tight expansion joints. But they can only be relied upon as spacers to provide the
gap in an expansion joint when the gap is bridged by a water bar.
(iil) Sliding joint : Sliding joint is a movement joint with complete discontinuity in
both reinforcement and concrete at which special provision is made to facilitate relative

3 Construction joints

A construction joint is a joint in the concrete introduced for convenience in construction

at which special measures are taken to achieve subsequent continuity without provision
for further relative movement. It is, therefore, a rigid joint in contrast to a movement joint
which is a flexible joint. Fig. Shows a typical construction joint between successive lifts
in a reservoir wall. The position and arrangement of all construction joints should be
predetermined by the engineer. Consideration should be given to limiting the number of
such joints and to keeping them free' from possibility of percolation in a manner similar
to contraction joints.
Temporary open joints
A temporary open joint is a gap temporarily left parts of a structure which after Initial
gap a suitable interval and before the later filled with concrete structure is put into use,
is filled with mortar or concrete completely or as provided below, with the inclusion of
suitable jointing material . In the former case the width of gap should be sufficient to
allow the sides to be prepared before filling. Where measures are taken for example, by
the inclusion of suitable joining materials to maintain the water-tightness of the concrete
subsequent to the filling of the joint, this type of joint may be regarded as being
equivalent to a contraction joint (partial or complete) as defined


When water is filled in circular tank, the hydrostatic water pressure will try to increase
its diameter at any section. However, this increase in the diameter all along the height
of the tank will depend upon the nature of the joint at the junction B of the wall and
bottom slab. If the joint at B is flexible (i.e. sliding joint), it will be free to move
outward to a position B1 The hydrostatic pressure at A is zero, and hence there will be
no change in the diameter at A. The hydrostatic pressure at B will be maximum, resulting
in the maximum increase in diameter there, and hence maximum movement at B if the
joint is'
Indian Standard Code IS : 3370 (Part IV)-1967, gives design Tables for moment
and hoop tension in circular tanks for various conditions of joint and various types of
loading. However, we shall describe here the case of rigid joint between the wall and
the base slab, subjected to triangular distributed water pressure. Table gives the
coefficient for tension at various height in the wall for various values of H2/DT ratio. The
tension is given by the following expression :
Tension = coefficient x w H D per metre



Table gives the coefficients for bending moment at various heights in the wall
for various values of H2/DT ratio. The moment is given by following expression :
Moment= = coefficient X wH 2 N-m/m
The shear at the base of cylindrical wall for the case of triangular
determined from the following expression :
Shear = coefficient x w H 2 kN
where the coefficient can be taken from Table

Example determine the maximum hoop tension and its position, moment at the base and
shear at the base using /.S. Code tables. Assume thickness of wall as 160 mm.
Thickness T= 160 mmH2
Hence H2 = 42
= 10
10x 0.16
0.6 H = 2.4 m from top, and coefficient may be taken as 0.608. Hence maximum tension
= 0.608 x w H D/2 = 0.608 x 9800 x 4 x 10/2= 119168 N. For exact location of
maximum tension and its magnitude, the values of tension all along the height can be
plotted by coefficients from Table. From the curve so obtained maximum value can be
From Table for H2/ D T = 10 , the moment coefficient for base (1.0 H) is found
to be - 0.0122 (minus sign indicating tension at the inner face).
Moment = 0.0122 x w H3 = 0.0122 x 9800 (4)3 = 7652 N-m/m.
From Table , for D T = 10, the coefficient for shear is found to be 0.158.
Hence shear = 0.158 x w H2 = 0.158 x 9800 (4)2 = 24774 N (acting inward)