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Numerical evaluation on shell buckling of empty thin-walled steel tanks under wind load according to current American and European design codes

Maraveas, C., Balokas, G. & Tsavdaridis, K. D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8349-3979 (2015). Numerical evaluation on shell buckling of empty thin-walled steel tanks under wind load according to current American and European design codes. Thin-Walled Structures, 95, pp. 152-160. doi: 10.1016/j.tws.2015.07.007


Liquid storage steel tanks are vertical above-ground cylindrical shells and as typical thin-walled structures, they are very sensitive to buckling under wind loads, especially when they are empty or at low liquid level. Previous studies revealed discrepancies in buckling resistance of empty tanks between the design method proposed by the American Standard API 650 and the analytical formulas recommended by the European Standard EN1993-1-6 and EN1993-4-2. This study presents a comparison between the provisions of current design codes by performing all types of numerical buckling analyses recommended by Eurocodes (i.e. LBA-linear elastic bifurcation analysis, GNA-geometrically nonlinear elastic analysis of the perfect tank and GNIA-geometrically nonlinear elastic analysis of the imperfect tank). Such analyses are performed in order to evaluate the buckling resistance of two existing thin-walled steel tanks, with large diameters and variable wall thickness. In addition, a discussion is unfolded about the differences between computational and analytical methods and the conservatism that the latter method imposes. An influence study on the geometric imperfections and the boundary conditions is also conducted. Investigation on the boundary conditions at the foot of the tank highlights the sensitivity to the fixation of the vertical translational degree of freedom. Further, it is indicated that the imperfection magnitude recommended by the EN1993-1-6 is extremely unfavorable when applied to large diameter tanks. Comments and conclusions achieved could be helpful in order to evaluate the safety of the current design codes and shed more light towards the most accurate one.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Steel tanks, Shell buckling, Finite element modeling, Nonlinear analysis, Wind load
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
T Technology > TH Building construction
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
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