Instability of Pipelines on Slopes

[+] Author and Article Information
A. C. Palmer, C. R. Calladine

Engineering Department, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK

L. Tebboth

BP Amoco, Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex TW16 7LN, UK

D. Miles

Engineering Department, Cambridge University, Cambridge, CB2 1PZ, UK and Andrew Palmer and Associates SAIC Ltd., 40 Carden Place, Aberdeen AB10 1UP, UK

J. Appl. Mech 66(3), 794-799 (Sep 01, 1999) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2791757 History: Received August 17, 1998; Revised December 18, 1998; Online October 25, 2007


A serious incident occurred during construction of a 36-inch pipeline in Colombia. A 500 m length of pipe on a hillside slipped on its supports, buckled, and slid down the hill, causing deaths and serious material damage. On a steep slope friction is not large enough to carry the downslope component of the weight. The frictional force from the supports then acts upslope. If the temperature subsequently increases, the frictional force partially reverses. The longitudinal force becomes more compressive and the pipeline can lift off the supports in overbends. A graphical construction gives a simple method of assessing the stability of the pipe in an arbitrary profile. The incident has important lessons for the construction of pipelines in steep terrain.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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