Dynamic surface loading is often overlooked when designing a pipeline. There are a number of situations where your pipeline might be exposed to surface loads that weren’t anticipated at the design stage. Examples that we have encountered in practice include:
- unplanned temporary or permanent crossings that arise after construction
- construction activities associated with pipeline integrity operations
- construction activities associated with the installation of other infrastructure near existing pipelines
- mechanized compaction activities over newly installed pipelines
Our engineers have experience with modelling the dynamic stresses in buried pipelines due to surface loading. The two videos below show cross-section and isometric views of the displacements encountered in the soil and pipe due to operating a small walk-behind plate compactor. The volume of material affected can be clearly visualized. Note the use of infinite elements to avoid spurious reflections. One of the more interesting results that came from this study is that surface loading effects from walk-behind equipment can be more severe than larger self-propelled equipment due to the surface areas that the loads are distributed over.