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Failure of Liquid Storage Tanks Due to Earthquake Excitation


Shih, Choon-Foo (1981) Failure of Liquid Storage Tanks Due to Earthquake Excitation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/m0v8-hs31.


Above ground liquid storage tanks have suffered serious damage during earthquakes. The damage of tanks can vary from local yielding or buckling of the tank wall, to loss of contents, or to collapse which leads to an unrepairable tank. Considerable work has been carried out on this problem with varying degree of success. However, the results are largely directed toward response rather than failure prediction. The information on failure mechanisms is very limited. The present work consists of scale model testing, correlation with existing analysis and failure prediction with laboratory verification. The scale model testing incorporates dynamic similarity of the fluid/structure interaction problem. The model study shows that small plastic models can be useful in studying the dynamics and buckling of liquid-filled tanks under ground excitation even though the model does not display complete similitude. The buckling criterion proposed in this study is based upon static considerations and the complex stress field in the shell wall is supplanted by a simple field for which analytical/experimental results are available. Harmonic buckling tests demonstrate that the static buckling criterion is satisfactory even though the prebuckling stress field is time dependent. The harmonic buckling tests, when correlated with the stresses from a response analysis, also indicate that the buckling is largely dependent upon the n = 1 response, Transient buckling tests are also carried out and the results show that the linear analysis together with the static buckling criterion gives a good prediction of the failure of a full fluid-filled tank. The test parameters in these buckling tests include water depth, title angle, thickness of tank wall, top end condition, ground excitation pattern, etc. In addition, buckling tests of unanchored tanks are conducted to study the influence of changing the anchorage of the tank base. An analytical model is suggested to predict the response of an unanchored tank due to overturning moment. The current design criterion of an un­anchored tank is also assessed in this study. The results of this investigation, in addition to those carried out previously, provide a better understanding of the forced vibration problem, failure criterion and appropriate design procedure for a liquid storage tank.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Aeronautics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Babcock, Charles D.
Thesis Committee:
  • Babcock, Charles D. (chair)
  • Housner, George W.
  • Knowles, James K.
  • Miklowitz, Julius
  • Wu, Theodore Yao-tsu
Defense Date:18 May 1981
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04132018-090928397
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:10805
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:13 Apr 2018 17:47
Last Modified:04 Jun 2024 23:56

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