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Seismic impact on buried pipelines

Evaluate exposure to external threats and develop effective mitigation strategies

What is seismic risk analysis of buried pipelines?

Seismic risk analysis of buried pipelines assesses the risk probability and impact of an earthquake in a given geographical area. This process is therefore performed to calculate and, in turn, minimise risk.

Why is assessing seismic impact of buried pipelines important?

Earthquakes cause thousands of deaths and cost the economy billions annually. Past earthquakes have shown the vulnerability of pipeline systems, which are part of the critical infrastructure. For instance, after the Kobe earthquake in Japan in 1995, the water supply in some regions was interrupted for almost two months. The risk of seismic loss can be mitigated by site-specific seismic hazard and adequate seismic design.

Due to the interaction between soil and pipeline, the seismic impact on buried pipelines is different from free-field structures. Buried pipelines are exposed to different seismic impacts: wave propagation, fault rupture displacement, soil liquefaction, landslides, soil compaction. Stresses are mainly caused by displacement differences along the pipeline and by soil structure interaction. This is why analysis to assess the seismic risk of buried pipelines is crucial.

TÜV SÜD assesses the seismic impact of buried pipelines

As a capable third-party partner with interdisciplinary teams, your business can benefit from our years of experience and specialist expertise in the earthquake risk field. Our team’s international activities and participation in regulatory working groups and committees means we are able to transfer state-of-the-art methods into practical applications. A partnership with TÜV SÜD not only helps you to meet national and international requirements but also ensures your business meets relevant safety-related aspects and protects its investments as a result of seismic impact.

Through our seismic risk analysis of buried pipelines, your business will see benefits such as:

  • Minimisation of earthquake vulnerability risks – due to our experience, we are able to recognize possible issues from the early planning stages.
  • Partnership with experts – we offer international knowledge, comprehensive experience and up-to-the-minute understanding of standards and regulations.
  • Employ detailed solutions – with a single source for technical services in line with regulatory requirements.
  • Worldwide support – we have over 24,000 experts across numerous international markets, delivering unique local knowledge and best practices.

TÜV SÜD’s seismic risk analysis of buried pipelines services

TÜV SÜD provides customer- and project-specific solutions covering the whole range from seismic hazard analyses to seismic design of buried pipelines. We perform site-specific seismic hazard analyses and assess the displacement impact on the pipeline. Our calculations are based on nonlinear 3D finite element models and focus on representative pipeline segments. Our seismic risk analysis of buried pipelines services includes:

  • Site-specific seismic hazard analyses: we calculate seismic loads for requested earthquake recurrence periods taking local and regional conditions into account.
  • Seismic impact on buried pipelines: for buried pipeline systems, we assess soil displacement due to wave propagation differences and fault displacement. We compute hazard consistent displacement time histories for design.
  • Seismic design calculations: for the verification of the pipeline, we perform nonlinear time history calculations and observe normative strain criteria.
  • Soil stability: we assess slope stability, soil liquefaction potential and seismic compaction.

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