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Burial of pipes

The standard OLGA model assumes that heat transfer flows with a constant flux in the radial direction. A series of concentric wall layers with given thickness and heat transfer properties are assumed for the pipe. For a buried pipeline, the heat flux is not symmetrical. To simulate a buried pipeline in the standard OLGA model, a pseudo-thickness of the soil is needed to account for the asymmetries of the system. It is also possible to simulate thickness the heat transfer in a buried pipeline using the enhanced soil heat transfer module, but this discussion will center on the use of the standard OLGA model. The equation for heat transfer in a buried pipeline is:



hsoil = heat transfer coefficient of soil ksoil = thermal conductivity of soil D= outside diameter of buried pipe = H= distance between top of soil and center of pipe =

The term cosh (x) can be approximated by: for x > 1 (2)

For heat transfer for a series of concentric layers, the value of the heat transfer coefficient for the soil is given by:



D2 = equivalent diameter of soil layer quivalent


Equating the values of hsoil from equations (1) and (3), and substituting the expression in equation (2) for the cosh (x) gives: (4)

This expression gives the following values for D2/D as a function of H/D: H/D 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 D2/D 3.73 5.83 7.87 9.90 11.92 15.94 19.95 23.96

The equivalent thickness of the soil layer for use in the concentric layer calculation would be: (5) where: tequiv = equivalent thickness of soil layer for concentric layer calculations

It is useful to look at a ratio of the equivalent thickness to the burial depth. The burial depth, BD, is defined as the , distance from the top of the soil to the top of the pipe. Solving equations (4) and (5) with the added relationship (6) Gives the following table: BD/D 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.5 4.5 5.5 Tequiv/BD 2.73 2.42 2.29 2.23 2.18 2.13 2.11 2.09

As the burial depth increases, the ratio of the equivalent thickness of soil for the concentric layer calculation to the burial depth approaches a value of 2. Please note that the equivalent thickness calculated by this method use the rigorous logarithmic diameter ratio calculation method. Since OLGA uses a linearized approximation to this method, the soil should be broken into several sub-layers for the OLGA calculations in order to minimize the error due to the linear approximation. Please layers refer to the section on heat transfer layers for a discussion of this subject. An alternative approach to modeling buried pipelines would be to assume that the thickness of the soil layer is equal buried to the burial depth. An equivalent value of the thermal conductivity of the soil would be calculated from equations (1) and (3) to account for the asymmetry of the soil layer. A comparison of the predictions done with this method vs. the equivalent soil thickness method shown above indicated that the two methods gave the same steady state results. The equivalent thermal conductivity method, however, showed much more rapid cooling for shutdown cases, due to cooling the decreased mass of the soil layer. We recommend that the equivalent soil thickness method be used if the concentric layer heat transfer model is used.