Soil Restraint Against Horizontal Motion of Pipes

by Jean M.E. Audibert, (A.M.ASCE), Project Engr.; Woodward-Clyde Consultants, Houston, Tex.,
Kenneth J. Nyman, (A.M.ASCE), Research Engr.; Univ. of Texas, Austin, Tex.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1977, Vol. 103, Issue 10, Pg. 1119-1142

Document Type: Journal Paper


The safe and economical design of buried pipes subjected to lateral motion requires an accurate knowledge of the subgrade reaction. Too often values of the coefficient of horizontal subgrade reaction, kh, reported in the literature are used without understanding the author's intentions and without thought as to whether or not the conditions in the particular application are compatible to those in the literature. A survey of the available literature discloses that the numerical values and formulations proposed were such as to underestimate the soil restraint against flexible culverts and laterally loaded piles. These values are inadequate for the safe design of buried pipes laterally displaced by settlement, thermal expansion, earthquake shaking or wave action. The results of a laboratory testing program show the complex soil-conduit interaction and the associated failure mechanisms. An analytical method is presented to determine the load-displacement curve for any size pipe embedded at any given depth. A moderate size in-situ test was performed, which confirmed that the results of the laboratory model tests could be successfully applied to in-situ conditions.

Subject Headings: Buried pipes | Laboratory tests | Field tests | Motion (dynamics) | Soil-pipe interaction | Safety | Subgrades | Soil surveys

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