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Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013

Emerging Technologies:
A Suggested Design Method for Curved, Jacked Steel Pipe
J.L. Robison, P.E.1, R.D. Hotz, II, P.E.2 and C.C. Chen, Ph.D.3

GeoEngineers, Inc., 3050 South Delaware Avenue, Springfield, MO 65804; PH

(417) 831-9700; FAX (417) 831-9777; email:
GeoEngineers, Inc., 3050 South Delaware Avenue, Springfield, MO 65804; PH
(417) 831-9700; FAX (417) 831-9777; email:
Missouri University of Science and Technology, 117A Kemper Hall, 901 S. National
Ave., Springfield, MO 65897; PH (417) 836-4912; FAX (417) 836-6260; email:
Proven technologies, such as straight-line, conventional microtunneling, or curved
solutions like horizontal directional drilling (HDD) have served the pipeline industry
well but have their limitations. Less well-known (especially in the United States)
solutions such as Direct Pipe (DP) and vertical-curved Directional Microtunnelling
(DMT) are beginning to find acceptance and application.
Existing microtunnelling and HDD engineering design methods do not address the
specific issues involved with the estimation of jacking forces or the specific stress
analyses of a curved steel pipe loaded in compression. Building on conventional
microtunnelling theory and API Recommended Practices, the authors developed a
design method for estimating the anticipated loads generated during a curved steel
pipe drive and for assessing the steel pipe axial, bending, and hoop stresses along
with buckling and combined stress conditions. The design method includes
calculations for estimating jacking loads and for calculating a maximum allowable
(not to exceed) axial loading for a given geometry and pipe specifications.
This paper will introduce the DP and DMT methods, detail the authors suggested
design methodology and give example applications of completed DP and DMT
designs slated for 2013 construction in the United States.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss potential applications and provide a suggested
design method for curved, jacked steel pipeline. The design method presented herein
has been applied by the authors to directional microtunnel (DMT) and Direct Pipe
(DP) designs for high-strength steel, natural gas-carrying pipelines. DP is a
trademarked process with specific patented equipment developed by Herrenknecht
AG (Herrenknecht); more than 18 DP crossings have been completed worldwide to
date, primarily in Europe. The design method presented below uses existing,


Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013


established calculation procedures along with conventional steel design code to

enable the trenchless design engineer to make evaluations on the suitability of pipe
size, wall thickness, strengths, drive length, and other parameters for a given
trenchless crossing geometry and geology. This paper does not discuss the
geotechnical explorations required for trenchless crossings; there are several good
sources on this topic. The reader is assumed to have some familiarity with
geotechnical and structural engineering principles and the process of design of a
trenchless crossing such as horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and/or

Microtunnel Boring Machine

A simplified description of
the construction method of a
DMT or DP is to think of a
combination of HDD and
microtunnelling. As with
conventional microtunnelling,
a microtunnel boring machine
(MTBM) head is jacked
through the soil. However, to
create the desired curve,
Pipe Thruster
articulated joints within the
machine assembly provide
Figure 1. Schematic of Direct Pipe Crossing
for steering capability as the
pipe is jacked producing a
curved alignment similar to
those possible with HDD
(see Figure 1). Unlike HDD,
the hole is continuously
installation the pipe is in
compression, not tension.
Also unlike HDD, the soil
formations in the near
vicinity of the tunneling
machine are not subject to
high pressures from slurry
Figure 2. Pipe Thruster and String
systems. Unlike traditional
microtunnelling, the entry and exit pits may be designed at or near the ground
surface, eliminating the expense of deep entry and exit pits required for straight-line,
conventional microtunnelling. Also unlike traditional microtunneling, the use of the
pipe thruster allows the pipe to be jacked in a continuous string by clamping around
the pipe. A photograph of a pipe thruster and stringing area is shown in Figure 2.

Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013


There are some obvious technical challenges to consider with the above-described
process. There are also many benefits. The obvious advantage of this method over
conventional microtunneling is the near-surface entry and exit to a large extent
reduces the requirements of deep excavations. Compared to a conventional
microtunnel, a curved drive allows for potentially much shallower entry and exit pits.
Compared to an HDD, DP or DMT allows:
1. Potentially much shorter and shallower drives (see Figure 3 below).
2. Continuous support of drilled hole potentially for crossing of gravels and
other collapse-prone soils.
3. Significant reduction of hydraulic fracture and inadvertent returns risk.
Figure 3 below graphically depicts the potential differences between DP/DMT and
HDD techniques. As discussed above, length and depth requirements may be greatly
reduced for DP/DMT versus a traditional HDD.

Figure 3. Conceptual HDD and DP Layout

for Small River Crossing in Alluvial Soils
The engineering analyses required for design of a DMT or DP focus around four
1. Estimation of jacking forces required to accomplish the drive.
2. Calculation of allowable jacking forces for the design pipe size, strength, and
3. Assessment of the difference between estimated and allowable jacking force
and associated risk.
4. Calculation of the operating condition stress for a given pipe geometry, size,
strength, and operating pressure.

Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013

Items 1 thru 3 are discussed in this paper, item 4 is not discussed in this paper as it is
the same evaluation used for HDD; a good reference for calculation of item 4 is the
PRCI Design Guide (Watson, 1995).
In a general sense, the jacking force is the force required to overcome the skin friction
between the pipe wall and surrounding soils and/or lubrication combined with the
force required at the face of the excavation to allow the tunneling machine to cut into
the soil or rock through which the machine is advancing. Another, typically smaller
force to consider for a pipe in a vertical curve is that force caused by the alignment of
the pipe in the drive, i.e., the vector portion of the weight of the pipe as it is jacked
non-horizontally, when summed over the course of the drive this contribution may be
positive or negative depending upon the elevations of the entry and exit locations.
Several good references are available for estimation of jacking force for traditional,
straight-line microtunneling; those specifically used in the development of the authors
design analyses for jacking forces include Bennett and Cording (1999) and Staheli
(2006). To perform the calculations needed for the analysis, the proposed drive length
is discretized into nominal increments, such as 5 or 10 feet, and a ground surface and
proposed pipe elevation are input into the design program. Soil parameters such as
unit weight, cohesion, and phi angle are used along with the proposed pipe and
existing ground surface geometry to estimate the normal stress and interface friction
factor to calculate the frictional resistance and the face pressure resistance to jacking.
Additionally, an estimate is made of the effectiveness of lubrication and the friction
forces are reduced accordingly. The estimates of skin friction and face pressure are
added to the cumulative weight of pipe contribution to develop the total jacking load
Because the ultimate goal of the jacking force analysis is to evaluate the suitability of
a proposed pipe and jacking system in a given geometry and geology, the end result is
necessarily an estimate of the maximum jacking force on the pipe. In our analysis, we
do not estimate incrementally the theoretical required jacking loads during the course
of the drive but rather estimate the load experienced by the pipe along its length just
prior to completion when the highest combination of skin friction and face pressure
loading is expected. This may be thought of as a snapshot in time load diagram just
prior to tunnel completion. An example graph is shown on the following page as
Figure 4. Jacking Load Estimate Just Prior to Drive Completion.


Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013

Figure 4. Jacking Load Estimate Just Prior to Drive Completion

According to Dr. Gerhard Lang, of Herrenknecht, an evaluation of nine of the DP
projects completed to date in clay, sand, and gravel resulted in average values of
0.03-0.09 tonnes/square meter in clay and 0.06 to 0.15 tonnes/square meter in sand
and gravel (Lang, 2012). Compared to the values calculated using the more
traditional method used by the authors, those suggested by Herrenknecht represent a
significant reduction (on the order of roughly three or more times less). The current
design process (using traditional microtunnel jacking force calculations) therefore
appears conservative. This is an area where additional refinements will likely be
possible as additional DMT and DP projects are completed and more data is gathered.
As may be inferred from the data presented above, the estimate of jacking forces
should be considered a fairly coarse evaluation that is highly dependent on the
engineers judgment of the subsurface conditions. Other factors that also influence
the loads ultimately incurred during construction include the procedures and skill of
the machine operator, the condition of the tunneling equipment, and the effectiveness
of the lubrication system.
As opposed to the anticipated jacking load, the allowable jacking load may be
computed fairly precisely. This is due to the relatively low level (compared to
geotechnical conditions) of variability in manufactured steel pipe. Given the proposed
geometry, pipe specifications (strength, modulus of elasticity, diameter, and wall
thickness) and the allowable factor of safety, the allowable load calculation is


Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013

Following the guidance provided in Chapter 3 of API Recommended Practice 2AWSD (API), the following stress conditions should be considered:

Axial Compression Stress

Bending Stress
Hoop Stress
Combined StressAxial and Bending
Combined StressAxial and Hoop

Additionally, buckling must be considered between the jacking frame or pipe thruster
and the launch seal (or where the pipe enters the ground and is assumed to be laterally
supported against buckling).
For jacked, curved pipe, the buckling analysis takes one of three forms, depending on
the diameter to wall thickness ratio (D/t) of the jacking pipe. Assuming that D/t is less
than 60, and we do not recommend that it be greater than 60 for steel trenchless
installations, then the allowable axial compressive stress (Fa) is calculated using the
methods described in API 3.2.2. The length used in the buckling calculation is the
distance between the pipe thruster clamp and the entry seal. (See Figure 5. The pipe
thruster clamp is in the foreground, and the launch seal is incorporated in the far sheet
pipe wall.) Once the pipe has passed the entry seal it is assumed to be essentially fully
supported as the pipe overcut is on the order of one inch, and it is partially filled with
slurry lubrication fluid.

Figure 5. Direct Pipe Launch Pit with Pipe Thruster and Launch Seal


Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013


Axial Compressive Stress

To calculate the design factor of safety for axial compressive stress, first the applied
axial stress (fa) is calculated from the estimated maximum load by dividing the load
by the cross sectional area:

Where P is the applied load and A is the cross-sectional area of the pipe. The
allowable axial stress (Fa) is then calculated using the equations in API section 3.2.2,
depending upon the pipe D/t, the steel design strength (Fy), the unbraced length, and
Youngs Modulus of elasticity for steel. A factor of safety is built in to the Fa
calculations. Therefore, to check that the design is acceptable, the applied
compressive stress must simply be less than the allowable.
Bending Stress
To calculate the design factor of safety for bending stress, first the applied stress (fb)
is calculated from the estimated maximum load by the following equation derived
from beam mechanics from the PRCI design guide:

Where E is the steel modulus of elasticity, D is the pipe diameter (in inches) and R is
the radius of pipe curvature (in feet).
The allowable bending stress (Fb) is then calculated using one of three equations in
API section 3.2.3, depending upon the pipe D/t and the steel design strength (Fy). A
factor of safety is built in to the Fb calculations. Therefore, to check that the design is
acceptable, the applied bending stress must simply be less than the allowable.
Hoop Stress
To calculate the design factor of safety for hoop stress, first the applied stress (fh) is
calculated from the estimated external and internal pressures by the following
equation from the PRCI design guide:

Where is the difference in pressure inside the pipe (assumed to be at atmospheric

pressure) and outside the pipe from groundwater and drilling fluid, D is the pipe
diameter (in inches) and t is the pipe wall thickness.
The allowable hoop stress (Fh) is then calculated using one of three equations in the
API section 3.2.5, which checks both elastic and inelastic hoop buckling stress. The
length of cylinder between stiffening rings is set equal to the length of the crossing. A
factor of safety is built in to the Fh calculations. Therefore, to check that the design is
acceptable, the anticipated hoop stress must simply be less than the allowable.

Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013


Stress Analyses Summary

The graph below (Figure 6. Estimated Stresses in Pipe Just Prior to Drive
Completion) illustrates all of the stresses calculated for a crossing with proposed pipe
alignment and ground surface profile. As with the jacking force graph presented in
Figure 4, from which this information is partially derived, this graph is a snapshot in
timejust prior to drive completion. Note that for this design the pipe enters and
exits on straight tangents, and the pipe is curved between the point of curvature (PC)
and point of tangency (PT).

Figure 6. Estimated Stresses in Pipe Just Prior to Drive Completion

After the initial stress calculations are completed, the pipe must be checked for
combination loading or combined stress to evaluate its behavior under anticipated,
interactive combined loading.
Combined StressAxial and Bending
Using the API equations for combined axial and bending stresses, two conditions
must be satisfied as detailed in API 3.3.1:


If fa/Fa is less than or equal to 0.15, then the following formula is used in lieu of the
first two.

Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013


Combined StressAxial and Hoop

Using the API equations for combined axial and bending stresses, two conditions
must be satisfied as detailed in API 3.3.4:


If fx is greater than 0.5Fha, then the following formula is used in lieu of the first two.

Combining all of the stress analyses factors of safety together with the combined
stress analyses, we can develop the graph below (Figure 7. Stress and Capacity
Analysis) that details the design checks of the adequacy of the proposed pipe for the
anticipated jacking loads and geometry. Note that because the allowable compressive,
bending and hoop stress calculations (Fa, Fb, and Fh) include required factors of
safety, the indicated capacity analysis (capacity divided by anticipated stress) must
simply be greater than 1.0. The combined stress analyses are the results of the
equations given above and must be less than 1.0; only the highest set of combined
stress calculations is presented for clarity. The hoop stress capacity analysis does not
appear on the graph because it is much higher than the other analyses, i.e., for the
example scenario the hoop capacity is much greater than the anticipated applied

Figure 7. Stress and Capacity Analysis

Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013

If the completed analysis results indicate that stress violations are likely at the asdesigned geometry and pipe specifications, then the geometry and/or pipe
specifications may need to be altered to provide for an acceptable design.
After the pipe geometry, stress conditions, and other parameters are summarized in
the design model, it is very simple to assess higher than anticipated loads by
replacing the anticipated, calculated jacking loads with arbitrary values. This analysis
provides a maximum load that may not be exceeded without potential stress
violations for a given pipe geometry and pipe strength and size specifications.
The maximum allowable load should be compared to the anticipated jacking force
load and a decision made whether the design is acceptable or if pipe specifications or
geometry should be changed to provide a larger cushion between allowable and
anticipated loading. Several factors must be weighed in this evaluation, including the
confidence the designer has in the anticipated jacking load calculations, the amount
and quality of geotechnical information available, the consequences of a failed drive,
the amount of risk of which the owner is tolerant, and many other site-specific
The authors have provided detailed design services on four DMT and DP crossings
for 2013 construction and are currently providing preliminary design services on
several additional crossings. These trenchless sites all have geometry or geotechnical
issues that make an auger bore, traditional microtunnel, or HDD infeasible, costly,
and/or risky.
Specifically, the following challenging conditions have been faced:
1. Deep, granular (gravels, cobbles) soils not optimal for HDD work.
2. Short, shallow design profiles required by right of way constraints and
geologic conditions.
3. Continuous casing in a curved drive beneath an Interstate highway.
The DP and DMT trenchless applications offer great promise and utility to the
pipeline engineer needing to cross an area with a minimum of impactparticularly
where traditional methods such as HDD or microtunneling are not possible or risky
due to geometry and geological conditions. DP and DMT technology is gaining
acceptance in the American pipeline design community and has been shown to work
in Europe where more than 15 DP crossings have been completed. Engineering
design and stress analyses for these crossings is possible using the design procedures
discussed above, and it is responsible for owners to require the analysis be completed.
As data is gathered from future construction projects, additional refinements in the
design procedures will be possible.


Pipelines 2013 ASCE 2013

API Recommended Practice 2A-WSD. (21st Ed., December 2000, with errata and
supplements December 2002, September 2005, and October 2007).
Recommended Practice for Planning, Designing and Constructing Fixed
Offshore Platforms-Working Stress Design.
Bennett, D., Cording E.J. (1999). Jacking Loads Associated with Microtunneling.
Geo-Engineering for Underground Facilities, G. Fernandez and R.A. Butler,
eds., ASCE Geotechnical Special Publication No. 90, 731-745.
Lang, G. (2012). Herrenknecht AG, Personal Communication.
Staheli, K. (2006). Jacking Force Prediction: An Interface Friction Approach Based
On Pipe Surface Roughness. Ph.D. dissertation, Georgia Institute of
Watson, D. (1995). Installation of Pipelines by Horizontal Directional Drilling an
Engineering Design Guide. Pipeline Research Council International, Inc.