Thaw Settlement Analysis for Buried Pipelines in Permafrost

by Kenneth J. Nyman,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Pipelines in Adverse Environments II


This paper focuses on determination of allowable thaw settlement for the design of cross country pipelines in permafrost areas. The purpose of the thaw settlement evaluation is to aid in the selection of the proper pipeline construction mode which will ensure pipeline integrity and minimize impact on the environment and adjacent structures. The potential thaw settlement of each pipeline segment is calculated in accordance with the project design criteria and compared to allowable design values. The appropriate construction mode to mitigate adverse settlement is selected for segments where the potential thaw settlement exceeds the allowable design values. Geothermal-geotechnical analyses, which are based on soils information obtained from investigations along the pipeline route, are performed to predict thaw depth over the design life of the system and resulting cumulative thaw settlement potential. The effectiveness of this method is dependent on a well defined soil properties database along the alignment. Design values for allowable thaw settlement are determined from stress analysis for appropriate combinations of pipeline settlement configurations and soil conditions.

Subject Headings: Soil settlement | Buried pipes | Pipeline design | Soil analysis | Permafrost | Construction management | Stress analysis | Soil-pipe interaction

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