Numerical modeling of buried HDPE pipelines subjected to normal faulting: A case study

Xiaojian Xie, Michael D. Symans, Michael J. O'Rourke, Tarek H. Abdoun, Thomas D. O'Rourke, Michael C. Palmer, Harry E. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A systematic study is presented herein on the seismic response of buried pipelines subjected to ground fault rupture in the form of normal faulting. In this study, advanced computational simulations are conducted in parallel with physical testing using a geotechnical centrifuge. For the numerical simulations, the pipeline was modeled using isotropic 3-D shell elements and the soil was modeled using either 1-D spring elements or 3-D solid (continuum) elements. The results from continuum finite-element analyses are compared with those from a Winkler-type model (in which the pipe is supported by a series of discrete springs) and with results from centrifuge tests. In addition, via appropriate modeling of the soil-pipe interaction, the q-z relation of the soil medium is elucidated for normal faulting events. The numerical analysis results demonstrate the potential for continuum modeling of events that induce pipe-soil interaction and results in improved understanding of pipe-soil interaction under normal faulting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-632
Number of pages24
JournalEarthquake Spectra
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geophysics


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