Seismic Design of Liquid Storage Tanks

by Medhat A. Haroun, (A.M.ASCE), Research Fellow and Lect.; Civ. Engrg. Dept., California Inst. of Tech., Pasadena, Calif. 91125,
George W. Housner, (M.ASCE), C.F. Braun Prof. of Engrg.; California Inst. of Tech., Pasadena, Calif. 91125,

Serial Information: Journal of the Technical Councils of ASCE, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 1, Pg. 191-207

Document Type: Journal Paper


A simple and sufficiently accurate method for estimation the seismic response of cylindrical liquid storage tanks is presented. A mechanical model, which takes into account the deformability of the tank wall is examined; it is based on the results of a finite element analysis of the liquid-shell system. The parameters of such a model are displayed in charts that facilitate the calculations of the effective masses, their centers of gravity, and the periods of vibrations. Detailed numerical examples are presented to illustrate the applicability of this model in predicting the maximum seismic response by means of response spectrum. Comparison with the exact solution of the problem confirms the validity of the method.

Subject Headings: Seismic design | Storage tanks | Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Cylindrical tanks | Finite element method | Deformation (mechanics) | Walls

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