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Centrifuge Test to Evaluate the Geotechnical Performance

of Anchored Buried Pipelines in Sand


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Fernando Albuquerque Saboya Jr., D.Sc., M.ASCE1; Priscila de Almeida Cardoso Santiago2;
Rodrigo Reis Martins, D.Sc.3; Sérgio Tibana, D.Sc.4; Rubens Sobrinho Ramires, D.Sc.5;
and José Tavares Araruna Jr., Ph.D.6

Abstract: The aim of this study was to evaluate the uplift capacity of buried pipes to propose a new anchoring system using geogrids as an
alternative and to improve the uplift resistance and inhibit the upward movement of pipes, which can compromise pipeline operation. The
simulation was performed in a general scale model of 1∕10 using the geotechnical centrifuge of the State University of Norte Fluminense
(UENF) at 10 times earth gravity acceleration to keep the similitude between the prototype and the model. The tests were carried out for two
different sand densities, two geogrid widths, and three burial depths. The geogrid was manufactured in a laboratory to mimic the behavior of a
real-scale geogrid when subjected to upward displacements. Therefore, an amount of 24 pullout tests were conducted in small-scale models at
10 g. A pipe of outer diameter D was anchored to a geogrid with a width of 2D in six tests and to a geogrid with a width of 3D in six other tests.
No anchoring system was used in 12 tests; the pipe was simply buried in sand. Standard sand at two different relative densities (23 and 70%)
was used as backfill material. The results revealed improvement in the uplift normalized resistance for pipes anchored to the geogrid,
especially for those at shallow burial depths. The postpeak (large displacement) behavior was highly improved, which will allow the pipe
to withstand considerable displacements without loss of resistance. This is of particular importance when the pipeline is installed in sites
where the groundwater table is high. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)PS.1949-1204.0000105. © 2012 American Society of Civil Engineers.
CE Database subject headings: Pipelines; Buried pipes; Centrifuge; Uplifting.
Author keywords: Pipeline; Geotechnical centrifuge; Uplift resistance.

Introduction traffic, and interference with fishing activities. Because these pipes
are, most of the time, light compared to the backfill layers, they are
Recently, several studies on buried pipelines have been conducted to prone to upheaval movements caused mostly by pumping pressure
determine their uplift behavior as a function of burial depth, type of changes and groundwater table elevation, as shown in Fig. 1.
soil, and degree of compaction, among others characteristics (Conrad It is known that the failure of a buried pipeline in cohesionless
et al. 1998; Katona 1988; Phares et al. 1998; Rogers 1987, 1988, soil when subjected to upheaval forces is given by two different
Cheuk et al. 2008). Pipelines transport several types of goods at dif- mechanisms: the mobilization of a slip plane and the soil flow
ferent pressures, temperatures, and densities. The most common around the pipe. These mechanisms generally take place separately
goods transported by pipelines are crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, because they occur at different mobilization displacements.
naphtha, fuel oil, and natural and liquefied petroleum gas. Many Furthermore, these triggering failure mechanisms are the function
of these products are highly hazardous chemicals. Oil and gas of soil grading, density, and burial depth. Therefore, it was found
important to consider new proposals for the design of stabilization
pipelines are commonly buried for mechanical protection and to
systems of gas pipelines using new anchor geometries that take
prevent problems related to thermal dilation (buckling), heavy
advantage of the surrounding backfill soils, even those that are
1 poorly compacted.
Professor, State Univ. of Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro—UENF,
Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil (corresponding author). E-mail:
This study was conducted at the physical modeling facility of
saboya@uenf.br the Civil Engineering Laboratory at the State University of Norte
2
M.Sc.-D.Sc. Student, State Univ. of Norte Fluminense Darcy Fluminense (UENF) using a geotechnical centrifuge for physical
Ribeiro—UENF, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil. modeling of pipelines buried in sandy soil. Regarding that the di-
3
Associate Professor, State Univ. of Norte Fluminense Darcy rect relation exists between model and prototype forces in centri-
Ribeiro—UENF, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil. fuge testing, the aim of the study was to use the centrifuge to
4
Associate Professor, State Univ. of Norte Fluminense Darcy compare the uplift resistance between unanchored pipelines buried
Ribeiro—UENF, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil. in sand and those anchored to a geogrid to determine the influence
5
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, State Univ. of Norte Fluminense Darcy of the anchoring system.
Ribeiro—UENF, Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil.
6
Associate Professor, Catholic Univ. of Rio de Janeiro—PUC-Rio,
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Note. This manuscript was submitted on March 30, 2011; approved on Physical Modeling in a Geotechnical Centrifuge
March 14, 2012; published online on March 16, 2012. Discussion period
open until January 1, 2013; separate discussions must be submitted for General Considerations
individual papers. This paper is part of the Journal of Pipeline Systems
Engineering and Practice, Vol. 3, No. 3, August 1, 2012. ©ASCE, ISSN Physical modeling simulates physical processes under controlled
1949-1190/2012/3-84–97/$25.00. conditions. If two physical processes are similar, it is possible to

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primary scaling relations between model and prototype are listed
in Table 1.

Geotechnical Centrifuge at UENF


The geotechnical centrifuge (Fig. 2) consists of an arm coupled at
its center to a rotating axle. At each extremity of the arm, there is a
platform on which test packages are placed. The UENF centrifuge
can test payloads of up to 10 kN at 100 g. Data from the test in-
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strumentation are collected through a slip ring consisting of a cylin-


drical body with sliding rings and fixed brushes for electrical
connection of contact wires and power transmission to the instru-
ments installed in the centrifuge arm. An MTS hydraulic power unit
(HPU) installed in a room away from the centrifuge chamber pro-
vides hydraulic pressure for hydraulic actuators. The HPU is moni-
tored by a computer and connected to a 407 MTS controller
operating at a maximum pressure of 24 MPa, which allows the se-
lection of a large number of loading conditions and modes of ramp
and cycle control. A video camera installed on the upper part of the
Fig. 1. Pipeline buoyance due to water table elevation
centrifuge arm provides a stationary image of the test platform.

predict the behavior of one of them if the behavior of the other is Experimental Model
known (Carneiro 1993). In experimental studies, the two physical
Pullout tests were performed on rigid pipes of outer diameter D at
processes are the prototype and the model. Small-scale models are
burial depths H of 3D (H 1 ), 1:5D (H 2 ), or 0:5D (H 3 ). Two pipes
commonly used in laboratories because they offer the advantages of
were tested simultaneously in each test box for comparison pur-
ease of handling, controlled test conditions, and reduced cost over poses: one pipe was anchored to the geogrid and the other was
prototypes. not anchored. The whole model setup including positions of the
With regard to the testing of small-scale models, Langhaar pipes, actuator, displacement sensor, load cell, burial depth H,
(1951) reported that results from a dimensional analysis indicated and geogrid width L are shown in Fig. 3.
that the scaling of a pipeline model by a factor N does not result (for
similar soil) in differences in stress levels between the small-scale Materials and Methods
model and prototype, while variables, such as displacement, force, A test box made of aerospace aluminum alloy, weighing 160 kg,
and torque, varied according to the scale factor. The geotechnical with internal dimensions 70-cm long, 25-cm wide, and 50-cm high,
centrifuge is a physical modeling tool that allows the study and was used in the tests. The 1∶10 scale models of a pipe prototype
analysis of civil engineering problems using actual soil under al- were solid rods 5 cm in diameter (D), 20-cm long, weighing
tered gravity conditions. In centrifuge experiments, a small-scale 10.9 N, and made of aerospace aluminum alloy. Industrial-grade
model of the prototype is used and, therefore, the physical condi- sand, purchased from the Institute of Technology Research
tions experienced by both model and prototype must be similar. (IPT), Sao Paulo, Brazil, was used in the models.
The similarity between model and prototype must follow proper The anchoring system comprehends a geogrid sheet attached to
scaling laws. The basic principle of centrifuge model testing con- the bottom of the pipe using ties to form a monolithic arrangement.
sists in subjecting the model to an inertial force of magnitude equal The general idea is to use the geogrid to mobilize a major soil prism
to the gravitational force experienced by the prototype (Schofield
1980). Models accelerated in the geotechnical centrifuge are sub-
jected to an inertial radial acceleration field, whereby the acceler-
ation is N times larger than Earth’s gravity (Schofield 1980; Taylor
1995) and N is the scale factor of the model under the test. The

Table 1. Scale Relations in Centrifuge Models


Parameters Scale relation model/prototype
Gravity N
Length 1∕N
Density 1
Mass 1∕N 3
Stress 1
Deformation 1
Force 1∕N 2
Time (diffusion) 1∕N 2
Time (relaxation) 1
Fig. 2. View of geotechnical centrifuge platform with test box
Note: N = scale factor.

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Fig. 3. Schematic diagram showing setup of pullout test in geotechnical centrifuge

during upward movements increasing, thus, the strength and duc- would occur if the geogrid was free to deform, are prevented by
tility of the whole system. On the other hand, this system also pre- the ties that pass under the sheet and over the pipe crown and, there-
vents the soil from flowing around the pipe during uplift, imposing fore, the geogrid can be considered to act like a stiff plate. However,
thus higher resistance after peak strength has been achieved. further studies are necessary to account for it. Consequently, for
The geogrid model was manufactured in a laboratory using plas- this particular case, the stiffness of the geogrid is not much relevant
tic nets and nylon fabric. During working loads, the function of the while it is expected in most geotechnical applications. However, on
geogrid, provided that it is attached to the pipe, is solely to carry the the other hand, the void size is of extreme importance to sustain soil
soil prism above. The transverse and normal deformation, which above it. Herein, the mesh aperture equal to D50 (in the current case,
it is equal to 1.0 mm) of the tested soil was found suitable to keep
the tested soil over the geogrid. An overview of the pipe-geogrid
system is presented in Fig. 4. Regarding the prototype, the geogrid
can be substituted by a geocomposite keeping its role, which is to
carry soil above it while upward displacements take place.
The sand was poured into the test box using a sand-rain appa-
ratus to ensure a uniform sand distribution, and the required density
was achieved by regulating the height of the drop during sandrain-
ing. The primary physical characteristics of the backfill sand are
listed in Table 2. The pipes were buried in sand at three different
burial depths, H 1 ¼ 15 cm (3D); H 2 ¼ 7:5 cm (1:5D); and H 3 ¼
2:5 cm (0:5D), in which H is measured from the soil surface to
the crown of the pipe. In each test, the anchored pipe was placed
adjacent to the unanchored pipe in the same container so that the

Table 2. Physical Characteristics of IPT Sand


Parameter Values
Diameter of finest 10 percentile 0.28 mm
Specific gravity 2.67
Minimum void ratio emin 0.72
Maximum void ratio emax 1.06
Critical state angle 33°
Peak shearing strength angle 38°
Dilation angle (loose) 4.6°
Fig. 4. Pipeline-scaled model used in centrifuge tests dilation angle (dense) 25°

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Table 3. Summary Parameters for Tests diameter, excluding, accordingly, any possibility of unwanted cross
Test reference Relative density Embedment interference. A personal computer running software written in
number Geogrid (sand) (%) ratio h∕D LabVIEW was used to monitor pipe displacement and uplift force.
The pipes were pulled out of the soil using a hydraulic actuator
P1 3D 70 3 whose position was controlled by software. The apparatus to pull-
P2 2D 70 3 out the pipe was constituted by two 2-mm rods attached in two
P3 — 70 3 points on the pipe crown. Before tests were carried out, a bench-
P4 — 70 3 mark test was performed to check the magnitude of the rod friction
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P5 3D 23 3 with the sand during pulling. It was found that maximum error
P6 2D 23 3 never exceeded 2% of the minimum peak strength. Therefore,
P7 — 23 3 no corrections were made.
P8 — 23 3
Centrifuge Tests
P9 3D 70 1.5
P10 2D 70 1.5 A total of 24 pullout tests were conducted at an acceleration of 10 g
P11 — 70 1.5 to determine the uplift resistance of buried pipes and the failure
P12 — 70 1.5
mechanism involved. A pipe was anchored to a geogrid with a
width of 2D in six tests and to a geogrid with a width of 3D in
P13 3D 23 1.5
six other tests. No anchoring system was used in 12 tests; the pipe
P14 2D 23 1.5
was simply buried in sand.
P15 — 23 1.5 The pipes were pulled out of the soil using a hydraulic actuator
P16 — 23 1.5 (piston) with a stroke length of 65 mm at a constant speed of
P17 3D 70 0.5 0:5 mm∕s. This rate is not an important issue, as long as the sand
P18 2D 70 0.5 is dry. However, for saturated sand, despite the fact it is a draining
P19 — 70 0.5 material, the uplift rate should follow the suggestion presented by
P20 — 70 0.5 Bransby and Ireland (2009). The uplift force was measured using a
P21 3D 23 0.5 load cell with a load capacity of 4.5 kN (1,000 lbs), and the vertical
P22 2D 23 0.5 displacement was measured by displacement transducers. The
P23 — 23 0.5
backfill material consisted of standard sand at two different relative
densities (70 and 23%). The test parameters are summarized in
P24 — 23 0.5
Table 3.
Note: D = outer diameter of the pipe (5 cm).

Analysis of Results
results could be directly compared, minimizing problems related
to differences in the relative density of backfill materials among Studies have been conducted to investigate uplift resistance
different tests. The distance between anchored and unanchored and associated rupture mechanism (e.g., Bransby et al. 2002;
pipes in the same model was approximately seven times the pipe Chin et al. 2006; Ng and Springman 1994; Schupp et al. 2006;

1200
P1- geogrid 3D
P2 - geogrid 2D P1
P3 - P4 - without geogrid

1000
P2

800
e - F* (N)

P3

P4
Uplift Force

600

400

200

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Vertical Displacement (mm)

Fig. 5. Load-displacement curves for tests P1–P4

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Trautmann et al. 1985; White et al. 2001). Ng and Springman Table 4. Summary of Test Results for H 1 (3D)
(1994) used normalized uplift resistance to express the results of Test reference
pullout tests of pipes buried in granular material. The uplift resis- number Peak F  (N) Peak Q δw∕D
tance (Q) can be expressed as
P1 1,106.66 5.05 0.765
F P2 1,026.14 4.68 0.296
Q¼ ð1Þ
LP P3 882.92 4.03 0.278
P4 892.07 4.07 0.335
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in which Q = uplift resistance per unit length of the pipe measured P5 695.2 3.45 0.431
during the tests; F  = peak uplift force after the contribution of P6 685.86 3.41 0.285
the weight of the pipe and instruments used to lift the pipe has P7 627.33 3.12 0.312
been removed; and Lp = length of the pipe. Based on Eq. (1),
P8 551.54 2.74 0.272
the normalized uplift resistance (Q ) can be written as
Note: F  = uplift force; Q = normalized uplift resistance; δw = vertical
Q displacement; D = outer diameter of the pipe (5 cm).
Q ¼ 0 ð2Þ
Dγ H

in which D = outer diameter of the pipe; γ0 = specific weight of the uplift force (F  ) reached values of 695.2 and 685.86 N, respec-
soil; and H = burial depth of the pipe measured from the crown of tively. In the case of loose soils, the uplift resistance in tests using
the pipe to the soil surface. geogrids with a width of 3D was almost the same as in those using
geogrids with a width of 2D, and approximately 25% higher than in
Tests Conducted at 3D (H 1 ) those where the pipes were buried in sand without anchoring
For the tests P1 and P2 conducted at 70% of soil density and burial (Fig. 6). The values of peak force (F  ), normalized peak resistance
depth of 3D (H 1 ), the measured peak uplift force (F  ) was 1,106.7 (Q ), and the relationship between vertical displacement (δw) and
and 1,026.1 N, respectively. As expected, the use of geogrids to pipe diameter (D) are summarized in Table 4.
anchor the pipes resulted in higher uplift resistance and a
Tests Conducted at 1:5D (H 2 )
ductile-like behavior postpeak. In the case of dense soils, the uplift
resistance in tests using geogrids with a width of 3D was approx- As mentioned before, tests P9–P12 were carried out in soil with a
imately 8% higher than in those using geogrids with a width of 2D, density of 70%. For the tests P9 and P10, using geogrid width of 3D
and approximately 20% higher than in those in unanchored pipes, and 2D, the observed peak uplift force (F  ) was 397.6 and 358.7 N,
as shown in Fig. 5. respectively. In the case of dense soils, the uplift resistance in tests
The relative density of the soil in the tests P5–P8 was 23% and using geogrids with a width of 3D was approximately 11% higher
the burial depth was 3D (H 1 ). For the tests P5 and P6, the peak than in those using geogrids with a width of 2D, and approximately

800
P5-geogrid 3D
P6- geogrid 2D
P7- P8 without g
geogrid
g
700 P5

P7 P6
600

P8
Uplift Force - F*(N)

500

400

300
U

200

100

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Vertical Displacement (mm)

Fig. 6. Load-displacement curves for tests P5–P8

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43% higher than in those where the pipes were buried in sand with- shallower burial depths, even for dense sand. The test results are
out anchoring. These values, especially those concerned in com- shown in Fig. 7.
parison with unanchored pipe, are quite higher than those of H 1 The relative density of the soil in the tests P13–P16 was 23%.
depth, showing that the system becomes more efficient for Tests P13 and P14 showed the peak uplift force (F  ) of 367.4 and

450
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P9 - geogrid 3D
P10 - geogrid 2D
P11-12 - without geogrid
400 P9

350 P10

300
Uplift Force - F* (N)

250

P11
200 P12
U

150

100

50

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Vertical Displacement (mm)

Fig. 7. Load-displacement curves for tests P9–P12

400
P13 - geogrid 3D
P14 - g g 2D
geogrid
P15-16 - without geogrid P13
350

300 P14
Uplift Force - F* (N)

250

200
P15

150
U

P16

100

50

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Vertical Displacement (mm)

Fig. 8. Load-displacement curves for tests P13–P16

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Table 5. Summary of Test Results for H 2 (1:5D) Table 6. Summary of Test Results for H 3 (0:5D)
Test reference Test reference
number Peak F  (N) Peak Q δw∕D number Peak F  (N) Peak Q δw∕D
P9 397.57 1.80 0.593 P17 273.55 7.44 0.860
P10 358.72 1.62 0.149 P18 238.67 6.49 0.282
P11 318.17 1.44 0.097 P19 175.44 4.77 0.085
P12 278.56 1.26 0.125 P20 193.94 5.27 0.068
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P13 367.4 1.82 0.684 P21 240.22 7.17 0.579


P14 311.95 1.55 0.386 P22 194.7 5.81 0.312
P15 223.88 1.11 0.080 P23 122.71 3.66 0.048
P16 198.57 0.98 0.130 P24 120.17 3.58 0.028
Note: F  = uplift force; Q = normalized uplift resistance; δw = vertical Note: F  = uplift force; Q = normalized uplift resistance; δw = vertical
displacement; D = outer diameter of the pipe (5 cm). displacement; D = outer diameter of the pipe (5 cm).

300
P17- geogrid 3D
P18 - geogrid 2D
P17
P19 20 - without geogrid
P19-20
250

200
ce - F* (N)

P18

P19
Uplift Forc

150

P20

100

50

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Vertical Displacement (mm)

Fig. 9. Load-displacement curves for tests P17–P20

300
P21-geogrid 3D
P22 geogrid 2D
P23- 24 - without g
geogrid
g

250 P21

200 P22
Uplift Force - F* (N)

150

P23
U

100 P24

50

0
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Vertical Displacement (mm)

Fig. 10. Load-displacement curves for tests P21–P24

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311.9 N, respectively. It is observed for loose soils that the uplift buried in sand without anchoring. The gain of resistance, compared
resistance in tests using geogrids with a width of 3D was approxi- to an unanchored pipe, is still more effective than dense soil for this
mately 18% higher than in those using geogrids with a width of 2D, same embedment ratio (Fig. 8). The test results are summarized in
and approximately 85% higher than in those where the pipes were Table 5.
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(a)

(b)

Fig. 11. Mobilized displacement for peak resistance: (a) dense sand; (b) loose sand

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Tests Conducted at 0:5D (H 3 )
For the tests P17 and P18 in soil with a density of 70%, the peak
uplift force (F  ) was 273.5 and 238.7 N, respectively. In these tests,
the uplift resistance using geogrids with a width of 3D was approx-
imately 15% higher than in those using geogrids with a width of
2D, and approximately 56% higher than in those where the pipes
were buried in sand without anchoring. The test results are shown
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in Fig. 9.
On the other hand, the relative density of the soil in the tests P21
and P22 was 23%. For these tests, the observed peak uplift force
(F  ) was 240.2 and 194.7 N, respectively. The results of the tests
show that, in the case of loose soils, the uplift resistance using geo-
grids with a width of 3D was approximately 24% higher than that
using geogrids with a width of 2D, and approximately 100% higher
than those where the pipes were buried in sand without anchoring
(Fig. 10). These results emphasize the greater effectiveness of the
Fig. 12. Efficiency of anchoring system using geogrid in dense soil
geogrid anchor for shallow embedded pipes. Results of the tests are
(black bars) and loose soil (gray bars) at burial depths H 1 , H 2 , and H 3
listed in Table 6. The resistance that remains after peak has been

(a)

(b)

Fig. 13. Uplift force F  (N) for tests performed with different geogrid widths or without anchoring at different relative densities of sand: (a) dense
sand; (b) loose sand

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reached is attributed to the shear strength at very low effective stress the case of geogrids with a width of 2D, because the prevention
when the dilation takes an important role during shear and the of the flow around the pipe is more difficult to take place and
critical state is reached for further deformations. the mass of soil displaced was approximately the same for both
densities, those efficiency values can be attributed to the displace-
Mobilized Displacement at Failure ment necessary to mobilize the full resistance of the system at
considerably depth, resulting in a local failure zone.
Regarding displacement for reaching the maximum resistance of Figs. 13(a) and 13(b) show the general behavior of the buried
the system [Fig. 11(a)], the significant influence of the geogrid pipes as a function of embedment for the two different tested
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width and the embedment ratio can also be noticed. For dense sand densities. Uplift force significantly increases with depth due to
and geogrid 3D, a reported displacement value of 1.7 times the the mobilized soil mass, as expected. However, these figures show
embedment ratio for very shallow depth is obtained. This is a clear that this relationship is not straightforward, showing a nonlinear
signal that the geogrid is still working after the crown of the pipe behavior with embedment for the two tested density states of
outcrops the soil surface, which is a great advance against sudden the soil.
uplift failure. This can be explained by the amount of the soil mass White et al. (2001, 2008) carried out several pullout tests on
mobilized by the geogrid action, resulting in higher normal stresses buried pipes on sand using drum centrifuge. They proposed that
at failure surface and in the prevention of the soil from flowing the results were presented using the uplift factor (F up ) that is
around the pipe as well. Also, during uplift, normal stress right represented by
above the pipe increases significantly due to the compression zone
 
formed by the movements, and this is more effective for the geogrid F πD H
system because the volume of the soil mass involved is consider- 0 ¼ N γ ¼ 1  þ F up ð3Þ
γ HDLP 8H D
ably high and, therefore, additional displacements are necessary to
fully mobilize the soil strength. in which F  = peak uplift strength; Lp = pipe length; D = outer pipe
The same general tendency is also observed in Fig. 11(b) for diameter; H  = pipe embedment having the pipe waist as reference;
loose sand. However, geogrid 2D has higher efficiency in loose soil and γ0 = specific weight of the soil.
than in dense soil, especially for an embedment ratio of less than 2. Thus, using values of F  obtained from centrifuge tests in
As in this case, the soil dilation is very small or even irrelevant and, Eq. (3), the observed uplift factor F up is defined. On the other hand,
therefore, the primary failure mechanism associated with soil flow- the calculated (theoretical) uplift factor F up can also be defined as
ing around the pipe is prevented by the geogrid action. This is more (White et al. 2008):
evident for an embedment ratio around and higher than 3, where the
soil flow around the pipe is negligible, as reported by White et al. F up ¼ tan Ψ þ ðtan ϕ  tan ΨÞ
(2008) and Cheuk et al. (2008), and the role played by the geogrid   
does not appear to be so effective. Thus, as a consequence, the 1 þ k0 ð1  k 0 Þ cos 2Ψ
×  peak ð4Þ
displacement necessary to mobilize the full strength is very small. 2 2
For both soil conditions, the mobilized displacement ratio drops
quickly as the embedment ratio becomes higher and less depend- Table 7. Calculated and Observed Uplift Factor F up
able from the use of a geogrid. This is less evident for the geogrid
Test reference Relative Dilatancy
width of 2D and almost disappears for unanchored pipe, where
number density (%) angle Calculated F up Observed F up
the results are in accordance to reported values in literature for
mobilized displacement. P1 70 25 0.65 0.97
P2 70 25 0.65 0.88
P3 70 25 0.65 0.72
Normalized Uplift Resistance
P4 70 25 0.65 0.73
The comparison of normalized uplift resistance of anchored (Qg ) P5 23 4.6 0.35 0.59
and unanchored pipes (Q ) is shown in Fig. 12. This figure reveals P6 23 4.6 0.35 0.58
the efficacy of the anchoring system in two types of situations, P7 23 4.6 0.35 0.51
namely, dense and loose sand, and for three burial depths, H 1 , P8 23 4.6 0.35 0.42
H 2 , and H 3 . According to the test scheme, for each load- P9 70 25 0.65 0.95
displacement curve generated for a particular embedment ratio P10 70 25 0.65 0.82
and density, two curves are obtained for the unanchored the pipe; P11 70 25 0.65 0.68
therefore, the mean peak resistance (F  ) of dense and loose soils
P12 70 25 0.65 0.54
was used in the calculation of the normalized uplift resistance of
P13 23 4.6 0.35 0.97
unanchored pipes. A geogrid anchored to the base of the pipes
significantly increased uplift resistance. For the H 2 and H 3 burial P14 23 4.6 0.35 0.76
depths, the best results for both geogrid widths (2D and 3D) in P15 23 4.6 0.35 0.43
terms of efficiency were observed in loose soil. For shallow burial P16 23 4.6 0.35 0.34
depths, the soil relative density had a significant influence in the P17 70 25 0.65 3.11
uplift resistance because of the low stress level and the presence P18 70 25 0.65 2.64
of geogrid at the bottom of the pipe, leading the system to require P19 70 25 0.65 1.77
further upward displacements, providing the soil flowing around P20 70 25 0.65 2.03
the pipe is in some way prevented to occur. For the H 1 burial depth, P21 23 4.6 0.35 2.97
the highest, though not so evident efficiency was obtained with P22 23 4.6 0.35 2.29
geogrids with a width of 3D in dense soil. For geogrids with a width
P23 23 4.6 0.35 1.22
of 2D, the efficiency was the same for both the dense and loose
P24 23 4.6 0.35 1.15
soils and quite similar to those of geogrid 3D for loose soil. In

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J. Pipeline Syst. Eng. Pract., 2012, 3(3): 84-97


in which Ψ = dilation angle; ϕpeak = shear strength; and k0 = earth explained by the fact that the decrease of the depth H is not accom-
pressure coefficient at rest given by 1  sin ϕpeak. plished by the decrease in the uplift force F  at the same ratio,
Therefore, using the preceding Eqs. (3) and (4), the calculated resulting, thus, in higher values of observed F up . The calculated
and observed values of F up are assessed for all tests and presented F up [Eq. (4)] does not take into account variables such as H, D,
in Table 7. The calculated values of F up are assessed from F  , L, and γ0 . However, the observed F up [Eq. (3)] has in its for-
Eq. (3) by using F  measured directly from the test. According mulation the H and H  in both sides of the equation, which can
to Table 7, the calculated values of F up are very close to those explain higher values for shallow depth or low H. This explanation
predicted for depth H 1 . However, for shallower pipes (H 2 and
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can be understood so that for shallow burial depths, the dilatancy


H 3 ), despite being anchored or not, the observed values of F up (even for loose soil) is favored by the low stress level reflecting,
are significantly higher than that of calculated. This can be thus, on the F up value.

Fig. 14. Relationship between observed and calculated F up factor against embedment ratio

Fig. 15. Chart for definition of K and n parameters as function of geogrid width

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J. Pipeline Syst. Eng. Pract., 2012, 3(3): 84-97


Moreover, if the ratio between observed and calculated F up is embedment ratio higher than 3, predicted and observed values
plotted against embedment ratio H∕D, a basic power relationship of F up are of similar values and independent from the use of
is obtained (Fig. 14), undoubtedly showing the influence of the geogrid.
geogrid and the H∕D ratio on F up values, allowing, thus, the de- To generalize the proposed method, each curve presented in
signer to apply appropriate correction when considering geogrid Fig. 14 can be described by the following power equation:
anchoring. This figure also shows that the formulation used to pre-  n
H
dict F up even for a regular unanchored pipe has to be used with R¼K ð5Þ
D
concern and, therefore, also be corrected because there is a consid-
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erable deviation for an embedment ratio of less than 2. For an in which R ¼ F upðobservedÞ ∕F upðcalculatedÞ .

(a)

(b)

Fig. 16. Normalized uplift resistance against embedment ratio: (a) dense sand; (b) loose sand

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J. Pipeline Syst. Eng. Pract., 2012, 3(3): 84-97


The variables K and n are correction parameters which, for a position or at least minimize the permanent upward displacement.
particular sand, depend on density, embedment ratio, and geogrid For assessing this behavior, new cyclic tests have been planned to
width and are determined by the equation that best fits each curve be carried out in the future.
presented in Fig. 14. Therefore, the parameters K and n can be gen-
eralized by plotting them for each curve presented in Fig. 14 against
L∕D where L is the geogrid width. This results in Fig. 15, which can Acknowledgments
be used to estimate the values of K and n for any geogrid width and
for both sand densities, allowing, thus, corrections to be made using The authors want to thank the Research Support Foundation of
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R from Eq. (5) when using Eq. (4) to assess the F up value. the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) and the Coordination
The same shortcoming described for F up is also observed for N γ. for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
For deep embedment, the observed and calculated values of N γ for the financial support granted to the first and second authors,
[Eqs. (3) and (4)] are very close to each other. However, for shallow respectively. The authors are also deeply grateful to the Brazilian
depths, the observed values tend to increase. This happens because oil company Petrobras for financing the research.
the equation that defines observed N γ based on observed P (peak
strength) is inversely proportional to H [Eq. (3)], while for the Notation
calculated N γ from F up in Eq. (4), the value of embedment H is
directly proportional to it. The following symbols are used in this paper:
To illustrate these features, a plot with all results obtained herein D = outer diameter of the pipe (5 cm);
[Eq. (3)] is compared to those obtained from the equation of N γ F  = peak uplift force after the contribution of the weight of
given previously and referred to as calculated [Eq. (4)]. These com- pipe and instruments used to lift the pipe has been
parisons are shown in Figs. 16(a) and 16(b). In these figures, some removed;
results obtained by White et al. (2008) and Borges (2009) are F up = uplift factor;
included to enhance the comparison. H = burial depth (pipe crown as reference);
Both figures show that for embedment H 1 , the values of N γ ob- H  = burial depth (pipe waist as reference);
tained during centrifuge tests are in accordance to those obtained by K, n = parameters for assessing the geogrid influence on uplift
White et al. (2008) and numerically by Borges (2009). However, as resistance;
shown and explained before, for H 2 and H 3 , this statement does L = geogrid width;
not hold. Lp = length of the pipe;
N γ = non dimensional uplift load;
P = pipe test (reference number);
Conclusion Q = uplift resistance;
Q = normalized uplift resistance of unanchored pipes;
Although the results presented in this paper are derived from
Qg = normalized uplift resistance of anchored pipes;
laboratory studies, the use of geogrids as an anchoring system is
γ0 = specific weight of the soil; and
nevertheless promising and provides a simple, inexpensive, and di-
δw = vertical displacement.
rect method to improve the uplift resistance of buried pipelines.
This newly proposed system is not idealized to substitute any other
alternative from preventing uplifting, but it constitutes itself as a
smart option where deeper excavation is not economically attrac-
tive due to the presence of a ground water table or a very stiff layer, References
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