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Wijeyesekera D.C.

University of East London, Dockland, United Kingdom

Reginold, J.T.

University of East London, Dockland, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT: Soil-pipe interaction studies can help in the evaluation of settlement of pipelines. However, pipeline failures still

occur due to differential ground movements between a heavy yielding structure and a pipeline firmly connected to it. Such

differential movements induce excessive stress concentrations in the pipeline. Often pipeline failures are a consequence of such

movements, and the flexibility of plastic pipes can make them less vulnerable than rigid pipes.

The magnitude and location of the maximum bending moments in pipelines arising from the yielding of the heavy structure can be

determined by treating pipelines as beams on elastic foundation,. The provision of rocker pipe joints that entertain a permissible

rotation helps to redistribute the bending moments to acceptable levels and thereby alleviate distress in the pipeline. This paper

presents both a theoretical approach and a laboratory approach to the evaluation of the bending moment, shear force, vertical soil

resistance at soil pipe interface due to differential settlement and also assess the benefits of rocker joints to alleviate the distress in

pipelines. Innovative experimentation used in the laboratory research programme is presented.

The paper further presents results from a laboratory investigation of the soil structure interaction of flexible strip foundations and

articulated pipelines, with a view to establishing a method of assessing the distribution of soil sub grade reaction that is developed

as a consequence of non-uniform settlement. The influence of the stiffness of the structure on the soil reaction distribution is also

demonstrated and the effect of the various distributions on the bending moment distribution of the pipe is discussed. A few case

histories of failures are summarised, demonstrating these effects, and pointing the way to possible solutions, which could be

incorporated at the project design stage. Finally, the need for rational design procedures for pipeline foundations including rocker

pipes to be incorporated into codes of practice such as EN 1295 is emphasised.

Keywords: Differential Settlement, Displacement, Flexible joints, Soil sub grade reaction, Rocker pipes.

benefits of rocker joints to alleviate the distress in

pipelines.

1. INTRODUCTION

Both rigid and flexible pipelines are vulnerable to

ground movements as a consequence of the

significant levels of stress induced in them. Any

form of unanticipated differential ground

movements between a structure on a yielding

foundation and a pipeline attached to it, can further

exacerbate the stresses in the pipeline to

unacceptable levels. Often such differential

settlements that occur are either ignored or not

allowed for in the design and the pipeline fails,

subsequent to construction and even before it being

fully commissioned.

structure and the connected buried pipeline the

pipes will be subjected to longitudinal bending, and

the joints to shear and angular rotation. Olliff et al,

1994 [2] raised the awareness for provision to be

made for such differential settlements. The

Materials Selection for Sewers, Pumping mains and

Manholes (UK Water Industry Sewers and Water

Mains Committee, 1996 [6]) suggested that the first

joint should be within 150 mm of the face of the

structure. Authors of this paper suggested the

adoption of rocker pipes in Olliff et al, 2000 [4].

Subsequently, section 4.6.6 of the Sewers for

adoption, 5th edition, 2001 [8] recommended the

to the evaluation of the bending moment, shear

force, vertical soil resistance at soil pipe interface

1

feasible to the outside face of any structure in which

a pipe is built. Furthermore, the next length of pipe

(rocker pipe) away from the structure was

recommended to be as shown in table 1.

differing materials and different types of joints.

Sewers for adoption; 2001 [8] )

structure and the connected buried pipeline the

pipes will be subjected to longitudinal bending, and

the joints to shear and angular rotation. The length

of the pipe section immediately adjacent to the

structure must be designed to keep all of these

considerations within allowable limits. A method of

determing this appropriate length of pipe section is

described. The method can be applied to pipes of

differing materials with different types of joints.

Nominal

diameter

mm

150

<600-150

675

<750-675

>750

Effective

length

mm

600

600

1000

1000

1250

STRUCTURE

Length to

Diameter

Ratio

4.0

1.0

1.5

1.3

1.7

over the years. Engineers who are not acquainted

with the subject seem to assume that some sort of

mystical qualities are somehow bestowed on pipes

as soon as they are described as rockers. In fact,

there is nothing mystical about rocker pipes. They

are ordinary pipes, which because of their location,

can rotate in the vertical plane, so that two ends are

at different levels. This enables the pipe to

accommodate differential settlements. It is only the

location of the pipe, not its length, which dictates

that it will function as a rocker (Olliff et al, 2003

[5]; Wijeyesekera et al 2006 [9,10 &11] )

150 mm

Maximum

600 mm

Failure to design pipelines to accommodate, or

avoid differential settlements is one of the more

common causes of structural failure, and a design

analysis should therefore be carried out for an

evaluation of permissible bending moments.

A prismatic beam (figure 2) connected to a structure

and supported continuously along its length by a

foundation will experience elastic deformation. The

resulting sub grade reaction can be assumed to be

linearly proportional to the beam deflection at any

point Wijeyesekera et al, 2006 [10&11]. Under such

conditions the reaction per unit length of the beam

can be represented by the expression ksy, where y is

the deflection and ks is a constant usually called the

modulus of the soil foundation. This constant

denotes the reaction per unit length when deflection

is equal to unity.

150 mm

Maximum

600 mm

Flexible Joint

Rocker Pipe

Rocker Pipe

equations that are amenable to solution. This

represents an idealization closely approximating

many real situations. Beam behaviour of pipeline is

analysed according to the theory of beams on elastic

foundations (Selvadurai, 1984 [7]), a theory

validated by the results of many field studies and

experiments (Olliff et al 2000, 2003 [3&4]).

the face of structure

the structure must be designed to keep all of these

considerations within allowable limits. A method of

identifying this appropriate length of pipe section is

2

(4)

Structure

force at x;

V = 4 EI 3 e x cos x

(5)

X=

Soil Sub grade

Reaction

Soil Foundation

joint, the pipe length (AA1) is considered to be

finite, see figure 3.

Y

Fig. 2. Semi-infinite beam on elastic foundation

become;

from the settling structure, at which the bending

moment is evaluated. The analysis presented here

establishes the minimum length required to ensure

that the allowable rotation of the flexible joint is not

exceeded. Knowledge of this length aids in

determining the bending moments in the rocker pipe

and the shear forces at its ends. If these are

excessive, they must be reduced to levels below the

allowable limits. This cannot of course, be done by

reducing the length of the rocker pipe, otherwise

the joint rotation criteria would not be met.

Flexible Joint

Heavy

Structure

X=

A

Y

Soil Foundation

foundation

(Selvadurai, 1984 [7]) is given by the equation (1)

. .. .. (6)

+ e x [ C (sin x cos x) + D (cos x + sin x)]

.(1)

For the particular problem illustrated in figure 1, the

following boundary conditions apply; Reginold

(2006) [5]

. .. .. (7)

y '' = 2 2 e x ( A sin x B cos x) + 2 2 e x

(C sin x + D cos x)

deflection, y is zero. At the interface of the structure

and the pipe ( x = 0 ) the pipe deflection will be the

same as that of the settling structure () and the

slope of the pipe will be zero.

. .. .. (8)

y ''' = 2 3 e x [ A(cos x sin x) + B (sin x + cos x)]

. .. ..

y = e x [cos x + sin x]

(9)

equations 6 to 9 are presented graphically in figures

3 and 4. The vertical displacement variations in

figure 5 for the three pipe lengths of 1.5 and 3.0m

are coincident. The maximum uplift (1.60 to

1.75mm) of the pipes occur at x= 2782 mm (x/D

of 2.2 to 5.5). These variations are very coincident

and this is illustrated in figures 4 and 5.

. (2)

be

y ' = 2 e x sin x

.. (3)

Differentiation of equation 3 gives the bending

moment, M, at x;

3

-10

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

0

Length of Pipe

10

"mm"

20mm Settlement for L=3m

40mm Settlement for L=3m

10mm Settlement for L=1.5m

20mm Settlement for L=1.5m

40mm Settlement for L=1.5m

20

30

40

50

3m and 1.5m

length of Pipe

Longitudinal Bending

moment "Nmm"

-8.E-03

-3.E-03 0

3.E-03

8.E-03

1.E-02

2.E-02

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

10mm Settlement for L=3m

20mm Settlement for L=3m

40mm Settlement for L=3m

10mm Settlement for L=1.5m

20mm Settlement for L=1.5m

40mm Settlement for L=1.5m

3m and 1.5m

provide a flexible joint ( /rocker) at a distance no

greater than 150mm from the face of the structure

rather than providing one at at x=0, (Figure1).

Flexible Joint

permissible 2 rotation at this first flexible joint.

Figure 6 shows the adoption of this concept. Figure

7 and 8 also illustrates the adoption of these in

manholes both constructed in situ and prefabricated.

Rocker pipe

with Flexible Joint

Allowable angle of Rotation

moment at the structure is so severe that failure

occurred at 36.28m (13xD) from the face of the

structure. Failure can be alleviated by providing

rocker pipes ie further (2nd and 3rd) flexible joints

away from the structure. Following from the

discussions above the author considers the analysis

of a second flexible joint, with the first joint at a

distance of x =150mm from the face of the

structure.

connected to cast insitu manhole

Joint Condition for 10mm Settlement

CROSS SECTION

THROUGH PUMPHOUSE

3 GRP intake pipelines on

compressible

marine foundation

36.28m

L o ng itudina l B ending

M o m ent "kN .m "

-2.E-03

Position of

Fracture

-1.E-03

200

400

600

800

1000

0.E+00

1.E-03

One joint Condition - 10mm Settlement

Two joint Condition - 10mm Settlement

2.E-03

3.E-03

4.E-03

bending moment for varying settlement of 10mm.

Fractured GRP pipes

( 3 No.) at site due to

differential settlement

the evaluation of the number of rocker pipes that

need to be provided to meet an anticipated

differential ground movement of .

failure at pipe structure interface.

1.4

MCRITICAL / MFAILURE

1.2

The analysis described above established the

minimum length required to ensure that the

allowable joint rotation is not exceeded, and

knowing this length, the bending moments in the

rocker pipe, and the shear forces at its ends, can be

calculated. If these are excessive, they must be

reduced by increasing the number of rocker pipes.

Figures 9 and 10 compare the influence of one / two

joints on the vertical displacement and bending

moment profile respectively.

One Flexible Joint Rocker Pipe

Two Flexible Joint Rocker Pipe

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

/D

M CRITICAL: Maximum bending moment

M FAILURE: Bending moment at failure

Vertical

displacement"mm"

Condition for 10mm Settlement

-2

0

50

100

150

200

250

300

350

400

450

pipe/flexible joint manufactures and soil

investigation for structural foundation, the design

engineer can easily estimate the anticipated

differential settlement. And the required number of

flexible rocker pipe joints to accommodate the

distress induced on connected pipeline due to

differential settlement within the transition zone,

see figure 12.

500

2

4

6

8

10

One joint Condition - 10mm Settlement

Two joint Condition - 10mm Settlement

12

settlement of 10mm.

Intermediate length

of the pipeline

Flexible pipeline

joint

Original Position

of the Pipeline

Differential

Settlement

after differential

pipeline after

differential

settlement

Rocker Pipe

Transition Zone

Unsettled

ground profile

Flexible Joint

connected to prefabricated manhole

settlement of 10mm.

the following:

the fill by expanded polystyrene. This will

reduce the settlement, and also reduce the

bending moment and shear forces.

strengths of the rocker pipe, by supporting it

on a reinforced concrete beam. (Note: The use

of reinforced concrete beams can also serve to

increase the effective length of the rocker pipe.

Two or more standard length pipes laid on the

same beam will rock as if they were a single

pipe).

pipelines with rigid pipes to accommodate

differential settlements highlights the potential

advantage

of

continuous,

fusion

jointed

polyethylene or polypropylene pipelines. These will

conform to a settled soil profile by bending, and

only if the bending is very severe, will there be a

risk of failure, by buckling.

4. EXPERIMENTAL STUDY

In view of the dearth of information from the

reviewed papers that deal with the soil interaction

with buried rigid/flexible conduits subjected to a

vertical movement/settlement, a laboratory research

program was performed.

Inspection

Chamber

structure interaction can be very expensive. In this

research programme, a series of laboratory soil box

test with specially design and built loading frame is

used to induce settlement of the structure relative to

the connecting pipeline (see figure 15). The

objective of the laboratory research programme is to

observe, evaluate and compare the mathematical

predictions for the stress strain regimes around a

pipe subjected to differential settlement.

Rocker Pipe

Flexible Joint

diameter plastic pipe generally used in the

residential drainage connections. Literature research

reviewed that such similar works are not carried out

connected to insitu inspection chamber

length.

(DS), one load cell (LC) and eight strain gauges (S).

Following are the test assumptions made during the

testing, observation and analysis:

Fixed Boundary conditions during soil box

investigation. The pipe used in the soil box test is

very flexible, and is not stiff enough to elongate

laterally to exert horizontal thrust on the soil mass

with decreasing vertical diameter.

A mathematical model for defining the soil pipeline

interaction in response to differential settlement was

described in section 2.1. The results of the physical

full scale analysis described in this paper was

compared further with the mathematical modelling

outlined and referring to displacement from

differential settlement and pipeline joint

rotation/Rocker pipe is proposed , see figure 17.

View: A

View: B

45

for a vertical end settlement of 40mm 1

40

35

Predicted Value

100% Perfect

Match

2

2

30

25

@ X=150m m

20

1500mm

11

h=0mm

15

Fully 10

Restrained End

10

3

3

0

4-11 0 4-11

CH4-FF-Analy-40mm

5

10

15

20

h=0mm

Settlement End

h=0mm

SB-FL1-h0 -J2-Y1-40mm

2

1

3 Imposed

@ X=250m m

Section

25

30

35

40

45

Observed Value

deformation for a differential settlement of 40mm with

two flexible rocker joints

5. CONCLUSIONS

The following conclusions can be drawn from the

study

Fig.16. Detailed Instrumentation along the length of the

pipe

experiments (see figure 9). Data logging was carried

out using the programmable data logging device to

record observations from ten flexi force pressure

Established

pipeline

design

procedures

frequently ignore or underestimate the

settlements of soil masses, pipelines and

structures.

Analysis of pipelines as strip foundations can

provide a useful estimate of likely settlements.

Pipeline design should include analysis of

settlements, and the provision of measures to

to alleviate differential settlement induced

distress in flexible pipes. Ph.D Thesis,

University of East London, London, United

Kingdom.

accommodate their effects.

The ability to accommodate settlements should

be considered during the pipe material selection

process.

The effective modulus of a pipeline foundation

will vary from place to place, reflecting

inconsistencies in the placing and compaction of

bedding material, variations in bedding

thickness, and in sub-grade properties.

The first flexible joint or rocker pipe needs to be

within the first 150 mm from the yielding

structure.

If there is no provision in the form of rocker

pipes made, a failure of the pipe can occur at a

distance of 10 15 diameters from the face of

the yielding structure.

sewers, pumping mains and manholes. UK

water industry sewers and water mains

committee.

7. Selvadurai A.P.S., (1984) The flexure of an

infinite strip of finite width embedded in an

isotropic Elastic Medium of finite Extent

,International Journal of Numerical and

Analytical Methods in Geomechanics,Vol.8.

8. Sewers for adoption manual, 5th edition,

UK, 2001.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I am highly obliged and owe a great debt of

gratitude to my supervisor Professor D.C.

Wijeyesekera. Jonathan Olliff of Montgomery

Watson, with their expertise in buried pipeline

design. Ralph Potter for allowing me to use the

Pipeline Technology laboratory. I wish to especially

thank my father for sharing his worldly expertise in

the field of civil engineering.

Rocker pipe- A solution for differential

settlement induced distress in pipeline.

ASME

6th

International

Pipeline

Conference Proceeding IP2006, Calgary,

Canada.

10. Wijeyesekera D.C.,Reginold J.T.,(2006)

Rocker pipe solution to alleviate differential

settlement induced distress in flexible pipes.

Advances in computing and technology

Conference

Proceeding

AC&T2006,

London, United Kingdom.

REFERENCES

1. Civil Engineering Specification for the

Water Industry, 5th Edition, 2003.

11. Wijeyesekera

D.C.,Reginold J.T.,(2006)

Study of the use of rocker pipes to allow for

differential ground movement in pipelines.

Plastic Pipes conference- xiii, Washington

DC, USA.

Design, Document C164/165/JWG1, CEN.

3. Olliff J.L., Rolfe S., Wijeyesekera

D.C.,Reginold J.T., (2000) Soil Structure

Pipe interaction with particular reference to

ground movement induced failures, Plastic

Pipes conference- xi, Germany , pp 941-950.

12. Wijeyesekera

D.C.,Reginold

J.T.,(2007)

Mathematical and Physical study of pipelines

subjected to differential settlement. Advances in

computing

and

technology

Conference

Proceeding AC&T2007, London, United

Kingdom.

D.C.,Reginold J.T., (2003) Settlement

induced failures of plastic and other pipes,

Plastic Pipes conference- xii, Italy.

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