Numerical modeling of buried HDPE pipelines subjected to strike-slip faulting

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 of buried pipeline response to strike-slip faulting was performed wherein advanced computational simulations were conducted in parallel with a series of physical tests employing split-boxes within the geotechnical centrifuge at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the full-scale testing facility at Cornell University. This article describes the numerical modeling and simulations of the experimental tests. The buried pipeline and the surrounding soil are modeled using nonlinear beam (shell) elements and elasto-plastic springs distributed along the pipeline, respectively. Using the finite element method, reasonable predictions are obtained for the axial and bending strain distributions measured during the tests. It is also shown that finite element analysis using pipe beam elements and a modified soil spring model can accurately predict the pipeline seismic behavior due to strike-slip fault rupture, especially when the pipe is subjected to combined bending and tension. In addition, existing closed-form solutions are evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1273-1296
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Earthquake Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Buried Pipeline
  • Centrifuge Tests
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Full-Scale Tests
  • Soil-Pipe Interaction
  • Strike-Slip Faulting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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