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International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 81 (2004) 913–917

Optimal sizes of a ground-based horizontal cylindrical tank

under strength and stability constraints
K. Magnuckia,b,*, J. Lewińskia, P. Stasiewicza
Institute of Applied Mechanics, Poznań University of Technology, ul. Piotrowo 3, 60-965 Poznań, Poland
Institute of Rail Vehicles ‘TABOR’, ul. Warszawska 181, 61-055 Poznań, Poland
Received 18 September 2003; revised 28 May 2004; accepted 1 June 2004

The subject of the work is a typical ground-based horizontal cylindrical tank. Two load cases are assumed: total internal pressure and total
special pressure. A critical state of such a tank is described. An optimization criterion is formulated as the minimum of the tank mass,
moreover the space of allowable solutions is defined. Optimal ratios of basic dimensions for an assumed family of tanks of given capacities
are determined. The solutions are restrained by the strength and stability conditions. Results of numerical analysis were approximated with
mathematical formulae convenient in the practice of tank design.
q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Horizontal pressure tank; Cylindrical shell; Elastic buckling; Optimal design

1. Introduction vessel heads. Wilczyński [14] numerically determined (with

FEM) the optimal shape of a head of a pressure
A basic design principle consists in optimal shaping of a vessel. Magnucki and Monczak [15], Magnucki and
structure with regard to an assumed criterion, taking into Lewiński [16,17], Magnucki, Szyc and Lewiński [18]
consideration the restrictions imposed. While designing determined effective thickness and optimal shapes of
pressure vessels and their parts, this principle should also be ellipsoidal heads of pressure vessels. Apart from choosing
observed. Harvey [1] and Spence and Tooth [2] discussed an appropriate head shape, an important problem in the
fundamentals of design, first of all the strength and stability design of ground-based horizontal cylindrical tanks is
problems of pressure vessels. Magnucki [3,4] laid emphasis shaping and location of the supports. Magnucki, Stasiewicz
on optimization problems of pressure vessels under strength and Szyc [19] numerically studied the effect of shaping and
and stability constraints. Zeman [5] discussed design by location of supports on the strength of a ground-based
analysis in CEN’s unfired pressure vessel standard. horizontal cylindrical tank. The strength of such a tank is not
Życzkowski [6,7] presented a comprehensive review of the sole problem, another one arises from its stability. Saal
the problems related to optimal design of structures. Błachut [20] experimentally investigated buckling of a thin-walled
and Eschenauer [8] specified emerging methods for multi- cylindrical shell filled with a liquid, while Kacperski [21]
disciplinary optimization with special attention paid to carried out experimental examination of buckling of a thin-
design procedures. Krużelecki and Trzeciak [9], Bochenek walled ground-based horizontal cylindrical tank filled with
and Krużelecki [10], Błachut [11] optimized axially a liquid. Theoretical research related to buckling of a
symmetric shells. Błachut [12,13] considerably contributed bending cylindrical shell is much more comprehensive.
to the development of optimization problems of pressure These problem were discussed by Chan, Tooth and Spence
[22,23], Elchalakani, Zhao and Grzebieta [24], Guarracino
* Corresponding author. Institute of Applied Mechanics, Poznań
and Fraldi [25], Guggenberger [26], Hoo Fatt [27], Huang,
University of Technology, ul. Piotrowo 3, 60-965 Poznań, Poland. Redekop and Xu [28], Yeh, Lin and Wu [29]. Magnucki and
E-mail address: (K. Magnucki). Stasiewicz [30] determined critical sizes of ground-based
0308-0161/$ - see front matter q 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
914 K. Magnucki et al. / International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 81 (2004) 913–917

and underground horizontal cylindrical tanks. The problems p0ðextÞ external additional small pressure,
of optimal shaping of ellipsoidal heads and horizontal due to a suction pump;
cylindrical tanks were presented by Magnucki and Szyc gm specific weight of the medium;
[31], Magnucki [32,33], Magnucki, Stasiewicz and Szyc a radius of cylindrical shell;
[34] and Stasiewicz [35]. f circumferential coordinate;
The present paper is devoted to searching for the for fZ0 the upper element of the cylind-
effective proportions of the vessel dimensions. Hence, the rical shell;
problem is related to parametric optimization of thin-walled for fZp/2 the lower element.
The capacity of the tank is

2. Statement of the optimization problem V0 Z 2V1 C V2 ; (1)

Ground-based horizontal cylindrical tanks resting upon
two supports are used mainly for storage of various V1Z2/3(pa3)bZ1/3(pa3) capacity of typical ellipsoidal
liquids. The capacity of such tanks considerably exceeds head (bZ0.5),
those of horizontal tanks designed for land transportation. V2Zpa3l capacity of cylindrical shell,
Under the conditions of normal exploitation such tanks lZL/a relative length of the cylindrical
are loaded mainly with internal pressure, being the sum shell;
of hydrostatic pressure and the uniform pressure caused dZ2a diameter of the tank.
by vapour of the medium contained therein. While
designing such tanks a question of optimal ratio of the From which
tank length to diameter should be answered, with respect V0 2
to its minimal mass. Every tank might be formed as a lZ 3
K : (2)
pa 3
slender or thickset structure, for fixed capacity of the
tank (Fig. 1). The strength and stability conditions should The mass of the tank is
be taken into account in the solution. ms Z 2m1 C m2 ; (3)
The analysis is performed for a ground-based
horizontal cylindrical tank with two typical ellipsoidal where
heads, supported at both ends. The tank is designed for m1Zprsa2t1cm mass of the ellipsoi-
two load-cases
pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi pffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi dal head;
† total internal pressure pð1Þ Z pðintÞ ðintÞ cm Z 1C b2 ða tan b2 K 1= b2 K 1Þ for a typical ellipsoi-
h C p0 , the strength
problem; dal head (bZ0.5)
† total special pressure pð2Þ Z pðintÞ ðextÞ cmy1.38017;
h K p0 , the stability
problem; m2Z2prsa2t2l mass of the cylindri-
cal shell;
where rs mass density;
t1 thickness of ellipsoi-
h Z gm að1K cos 4Þ internal hydrostatic pressure; dal head;
0 internal uniform pressure, the gas t2 thickness of cylind-
pressure of liquid; rical shell.

The effective thickness of a typical ellipsoidal

head (bZ0.5) with respect to minimal stress concen-
tration in the tank [15] may be written in the following
t1ef Z ct t2 ; (4)
ctZ1.427(1C0.109aK0.024a2) coefficient of effective
thickness of the typical
aZa/(100t2) dimensionless
parameter of the cylind-
Fig. 1. A slender and a thickset ground-based horizontal cylindrical tank. rical shell.
K. Magnucki et al. / International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 81 (2004) 913–917 915

The optimization criterion was assumed in the form of

minimal mass of the tank

minfms g; (5)

where the mass of Eq. (3), the objective function is

ms Z 2pa2 t2 ðcm ct C lÞ: (6)

The tank design belongs to the space of allowable

solutions only provided that it meets its basic restrictions.
Only two restrictions in the form of inequalities are assumed
here, i.e. the strength and stability conditions. The strength
problem of horizontal cylindrical tanks is discussed in
monographs [1–3]. The strength condition expressed in Fig. 2. The space of allowable solutions.
terms of the thickness of the cylindrical shell of the tank has
a form The minimum value of the objective function of Eq. (6)
t2min % t2 ; (7) is located at the edge of the set of allowable solutions, at
the point M1. Location of the point is determined, at the
where same time, by the active strength (Eq. (7)) and stability
   2 (Eq. (8)) conditions. The solution is found for two load-
ð1Þ g m a2 aSC p0 2 1 2 cases. On the other hand, for a single load-case, when only
t2min Z 48 1 C CCc l K1
4ðsall Kp0 Þ 2 gm a 2 total internal pressure, pð1Þ ZphðintÞ CpðintÞ
0 is present, the sole
strength condition (7) is sufficient. The minimum value of
the objective function (6) is then located at the point M2
(Fig. 2), but corresponding to an extreme value, i.e. the
t2min minimal thickness of the cylindrical shell minimum of the objective function. The problem was
filled with medium-liquid and supported presented by Magnucki [3,4,33], and Stasiewicz [35]. These
at both ends [3,4,33]; works do not take into account the stability condition in the
Cc Z6=ð1Cj2 Þ correction coefficient, the effect of saddle form of Eq. (8) that was considered here based on Ref. [30].
support on stress state;
jZP0 =ð100gm aÞ dimensionless parameter of uniform
internal pressure, 3. Numerical analysis
gm specific weight of the medium;
sall allowable stresses, Numerical analysis was carried out for the family of steel
aSC stress concentration factor in the joint of tanks filled with water with capacities in the range
ellipsoidal and cylindrical shells. 50 m3%V0%300 m3; allowable stresses sallZ330 MPa;
specific weight of water gmZ9.81 kN/m3; uniform internal
The stability problem of a horizontal cylindrical tank pressure, pðintÞ
0 Zp0 Z2:5 MPa and additional uniform
filled with liquid is discussed in the monograph [3] and external pressure pðextÞ Z0:1 MPa. The value of stress
[21,22,30]. The stability condition expressed in terms of concentration factor, in the joint of ellipsoidal and
the thickness of the cylindrical shell of a horizontal tank has cylindrical shells, based on [15,18], was assumed as
a form aSCZ1.111. Results of the analysis are shown in Fig. 3.
t2min %t2 ; (8) Optimal proportions of the main sizes (length to
diameter) (L/d) opt of horizontal cylindrical tanks
where h50 m3%V0%300 m3i for increasing capacities show
t2min Z2:93ða=1000Þl0:401 minimal thickness of cylindrical † slightly increase 5.10%(L/d)opt%5.35 for two load-
shell for additional uniform exter- cases, point M1;
nal pressure (due to a suction † remarkably decrease 12.35%(L/d)opt%6.92 for one load-
pump [30]) pðextÞ
0 Z0:1 MPa. case, point M2.

Substituting the minimal thickness of the cylindrical For the tank of capacity V0Z600 m3 the points M1 and
shell of Eq. (7) or (8) into the objective function of Eq. (6) M2 take a common location, so that both cases are
enables determination of the space (set) of allowable equivalent and the optimal ratio of the main sizes is
solutions for the horizontal cylindrical tank (Fig. 2). (L/d)optZ5.71. For tanks of greater capacity (600 m3!V0),
916 K. Magnucki et al. / International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 81 (2004) 913–917

4. Discussion and conclusions

The optimization of a family of ground-based horizontal

cylindrical steel tanks of capacities 50 m3%V0%300 m3
and allowable stress sallZ330 MPa enables formulation of
the following conclusions.

† For two load-cases. Total internal pressure p(1) and

total special pressure p(2), values of optimal proportions
of the main sizes (length to diameter L/d) for these
structures (strength and stability conditions, the point
M1, Fig. 3) may be approximated by the following
Fig. 3. Optimal proportions of length L to diameter d of horizontal L 1
cylindrical tanks. Z ly5:05 Cx0 ; (9)
d opt 2
where x0 is the ratio defined as x0ZV0/V1, with V1Z
the set (space) of allowable solutions is limited only by the 1000 m3,while the values of the characteristic ratio
strength condition, with the stability condition remaining (radius to thickness, a/t2) of thin-walled cylindrical
inactive. The optimal solution is defined by the extremum– shell may be approximated as follows
minimum (point M2) of the objective function. a
The optimal shape of a horizontal cylindrical tank of y12ð11:3Kx0 Þ: (10)
t2 opt
capacity V0Z200 m3 is shown in Fig. 4.
The optimal ratios of the main sizes of this tank are to: † For one load-case. Only total special pressure p(2), values
of optimal proportions of the main sizes (length to
† (L/d)optZ5.25 for two load-cases (strength and stability diameter L/d) for these structures (only strength condition,
conditions), the point M1; the point M2, Fig. 3)) may be approximated by the formula
† (L/d)optZ7.85 for one load-case (only the strength  
condition), the point M2. L 1 19:65
Z ly ;
d opt 2 1C13:80x0 K42:98x20 C58:05x30
Optimal solutions (Fig. 3) of horizontal cylindrical tanks
h50 m3%V0%300 m3i are distinguished by a nearly constant
(only insignificantly varying) value of the characteristic while the values of characteristic ratio (radius to
ratio a/t2 of thin-walled cylindrical shell, the values of thickness, a/t2) of thin-walled cylindrical shell may be
which are in the ranges: approximated by the formula
† 135%a/t2%132 for two load-cases, the point M1; a
y8ð16:55Kx0 Þ: (12)
† 132%a/t2%130 for one load-case, the point M2 (Fig. 2). t2 opt

Values of this ratio may be useful for optimal design of

ground-based horizontal cylindrical tanks.

Fig. 4. Optimal horizontal cylindrical tank for two constraint cases. Fig. 5. Mass of the tank as a function of the radius a (V0Z200 m3).
K. Magnucki et al. / International Journal of Pressure Vessels and Piping 81 (2004) 913–917 917

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