Seismic Design of Liquid-Storage Tanks

by Howard I. Epstein, (M.ASCE), Asst. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn., and Struct. Consultant to Brown-Minneapolis Tank, St. Paul, Minn.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 9, Pg. 1659-1673

Document Type: Journal Paper


Cylindrical and rectangular flat-bottomed liquid storage tanks subjected to horizontal earthquake excitations are studied. Formulas and curves that can be used to obtain bending and overturning moments are presented. Certain combination of earthquake response spectra and tank geometries produce maximum forces and moments when the tank is only partially full. The use of design curves in establishing this situation is illustrated. For slender tanks, an assumption made in present design practice is shown to lead to nonconservative results. The elimination of this assumption is shown to produce simplified expressions for the moments in these cases. Simplified expressions are also presented for use in estimating the maximum free surface displacement.

Subject Headings: Seismic design | Seismic tests | Storage tanks | Earthquakes | Curvature | Cylindrical tanks | Excitation (physics) | Moment (mechanics)

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