Short Course on Seismic Design of Tanks

Pavia, 5th - 9th May 2014

Download the flyer of the course here


The susceptibility of steel and concrete storage tanks, rigid and flexible, under/above ground and elevated, to earthquake event has been demonstrated in numerous earthquakes such as those in Alaska (1964), Japan (Nigata 1964, Kobe, 1995), California (San Fernando 1971, Imperial Valley, 1979, Loma Prieta 1989, Northridge, 1994) and even more recently, 20th and 29th of Mai 2012, in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. The seismic performance of storage tanks is of major importance not only for the economic value of the structures and their contents but also because frequently they are crucial for the management and functioning of emergency services after seismic events. Interruption in the delivery of oil products or water could limit the effectiveness of services such as hospitals or fire stations that depend upon these products. For example, during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the lack of water supply after the earthquake caused a major fire that resulted in more damage than the earthquake itself. The failure of tanks containing highly inflammable petroleum products could lead to extensive uncontrolled fires, like those that occurred following the Niigata and Alaska earthquakes of 1964. The spillage of liquefied gases or toxic chemicals from containment structures damaged by an earthquake could also result in the release of dangerous substances or gases with dramatic effects for the population and the environment. Therefore, understanding modern approaches to seismic analysis and design of tanks can be very valuable to structural engineers and researchers who would like to have a better grasp on design and performance of these strategic infrastructures.

Objectives of the course

The main objective of this course is to familiarize students with the state-of-the-art in seismic analysis and design of slender-to-squat tanks from an international perspective.  At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • classify the various types of tanks (above and underground, elevated, steel, ordinary reinforced and prestressed) and components (roofs, connections, pipelines, walls, etc.) and understand their performance during recent earthquake;
  • understand common equivalent mechanical models used in the analysis and design of tanks;
  • perform preliminary design and analysis of various structural tank typologies according to the major international codes/guidelines/recommendations such as: API 650 and 620, AWWA (D100, D103, D110, D115), Eurocode 8 Part 4 (and Eurocode 3), UNI EN 14015, Covenin, IITK, ACI (350.3, 371.R), NZSEE, AIJ;
  • develop analytical models for tanks using state-of-the-art structural analysis matlab programs;
  • understand and apply correctly current international codes, regulations, guidelines and recommendations for the seismic design, analysis and verification of tanks in North/South America, Japan and Europe;
  • effectively participate in structural analysis, design and verification of tanks for specified earthquake performance objectives at structural and component levels;
  • be familiar with the seismic numerical advanced explicit nonlinear analyses of specific tanks through the review of research case studies;
The course is structured to offer an optimum trade-off between the formal development of the theories and their practical implementation through specific numerical matlab codes always emphasizing their range of applicability and possible extensions. The course alternates between theoretical/analytical lectures, solutions of practical problems and design of real case tanks. It is believed that the course will offer the participants a unique opportunity to be exposed to advanced topics in tanks analysis and design in a unified framework within the context of earthquake engineering.
The course will be taught by Roberto Nascimbene, Researcher, Head of Structural Analysis Area at the Eucentre Foundation and Adjunct Professor of “Design of shell structures” at the University of Pavia, Faculty of Engineering.

About the instructor

Roberto Nascimbene is a Researcher at the Structural Analysis Area of the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering (EUCENTRE). He graduated in Civil Engineering from University of Pavia, Department of Structural Mechanics. Then he completed the PhD in Structural Engineering in 2001 at the Department of Structural Mechanics in Pavia. Actually he is Adjunct Professor of “Design of shell structures” at the University of Pavia, Faculty of Engineering. He has authored more than 60 publications (journal and conference papers) in the field of computational mechanics and earthquake engineering; he is a member of the technical committee Eurocode 3 Part 1-6, CEN TC250 SC3 Evolution Groups together with the ECCS TWG8.4 on Shell Buckling. Among the most relevant activities developed in the past: numerical evaluation of the vulnerability of reinforced concrete existing buildings, seismic analyses of steel, precast and wood structures, advanced finite element and fibre models applied to structures, sub-assemblies and connections, seismic design and numerical investigation of tanks behaviour.

Further information

The detailed programme of the course as well as registraton information are summarised in the course announcement flyer that can be downloaded here.