CIRIA -128.pdf

July 15, 2017 | Author: Mohammed Iliyas | Category: Soil, Stress (Mechanics), Soil Mechanics, Strength Of Materials, Porosity
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ClRlA is the Construction Industry Research and Information Association. It is a non-profitdistributing, private sector organisation carrying ClRlA out research and providing information for its members, who include all types of organisations and concerned with construction, including clients, professional practices, contractors, suppliers educational and research establishments, professional institutions, trade associations and central and local government.

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CIRIA focuses on providing best practice guidance to professionals that is authoritative, convenient to use and relevant. Areas covered include construction practice, building design and materials, management, ground engineering, water engineering and environmental issues. Through active participation, CIRIA members choose research and information projects of most value to them. Funding contributions are sought from member subscriptions and from government and other sources on a project by project basis. Detailed work is contracted to the best qualified organisation selected in competition, and each project is guided by a project steering group, which contains both individual specialists and representatives of different groups with experience or interest in the topic. Core Programme Sponsorship. Core Programme members, who include many of the most significant construction firms, choose the programme of research projects and obtain privileged early access to results. Associates/Affiliates. Subscribers obtain copies of CIRIA open publications on favourable terms and get discounts on CIRIA seminars. Purchase of Publications. CIRIA publications, together with selected publications from other sources, are available by mail order or non personal application. SeminarsKonferences. CIRIA runs a number of events, often related to research projects or publications. C l R l A News. A quarterly newsletter is available free on request. For further details, please apply to the Marketing Manager, CIRIA, 6 Storey’s Gate, Westminster, London S W l P 3 A U Fax: 071-222 1708 Tel: 071-222 8891

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Report 128


Guide to the design of thrust blocks for buried pressure pipelines A R D Thorley and J H Atkinson

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY RESEARCH AND INFORMATION ASSOCIATION 6 Storey's Gate, Westminster, London SWlP 3AU Tel 071-222 8891 Fax 071-222 1708


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This report presents a design guide for thrust blocks to restrain the forces generated by changes in direction of fluid flow in jointed buried pressure pipeline networks. A stepby-step design approach is detailed. Refinements can be made by reference to detailed appendices, which give a background to the underlying principles and theory. The guidance given in this report is principally for thrusts up to 1000 kN, limiting both the pressure range and pipe diameters and, more importantly, the thrust block sizes. While the theory used is applicable in any circumstances, the design of large scale thrust blocks requiring structural reinforcement, etc, is not covered.

Thorley, A.R.D. and Atkinson, J.H. Guide to the design of thrust blocks for buried pressure pipelines Construction Industry Research and Information Association Report 128, 1994

0 CIRIA 1994 CIRIA ISBN 0 86017 359 3 Thomas Telford ISBN 0 7277 1975 0 ISSN 0305 408X

Keywords (from Construction Industry Thesaurus)

Reader Interest


Pipelines, thrust blocks, subsurface, water supply

Consulting engineers, contractors, water supply industry


Unrestricted Advice Committee guided Engineers, designers, contractors

iI 1


Published by ClRlA 6 Storey's Gate Westminster, London SWlP 3AU in conjunction with Thomas Telford Publications, Thomas Telford House, 1 Heron Quay, Londcn E14 4JD. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying and recording, without the written permission of the copyright holder, application for which should be addressed to the publisher. Such written permission must also be obtained before any part of this publication is stored in a retrieval system of any nature. 2

ClRlA Report 128


This report presents the results of a study to understand how thrust blocks act in the ground to restrain applied fluid forces in jointed buried pressure pipelines and to provide a design guide for the majority of cases (up to 1000 kN applied thrust).

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The work was undertaken by Professor A R D Thorley and Professor J H Atkinson of City University under contract to CIRIA. The research project was coordinated and managed by CIRIA with the assistance of a Steering Group who advised on the content of the work and the validity of the results. The Steering Group, which provided a balanced representation of the different interests involved, comprised: Mr J Collins Mr J Crossley Mr R D Currie Mr D Duffin Mr J D Hendry Mr G Gray Mr C B Greatorex Dr S T Johnson (Chairman) Mr D J Mackay Mr J Oliffe Mr J Stables Mr W R Waller Mr C Waters

A H Ball Yorkshire Water Johnston Pipes Ltd Severn Trent Water Alfred McAlpine CIRIA Stanton Plc CIRIA North West Water Montgomery Watson Wessex Water Acer Thames Water


This project was funded by CIRIA and the following organisations: Johnston Pipes Ltd Stanton Plc North West Water Severn Trent Water Southern Water Wessex Water Yorkshire Water CIRIA thanks the many individuals and organisations who provided information and data for this research project. CIRIA also acknowledges the positive collaboration of all those involved during the course of the project and during the final period for the design method.

ClRlA Report 128


Licensed copy:Galliford Try Construction Ltd, 12/02/2007, Uncontrolled Copy, © CIRIA

ClRlA Report 128

Licensed copy:Galliford Try Construction Ltd, 12/02/2007, Uncontrolled Copy, © CIRIA


List of figures List of tables Glossary Notation

5 7 8 13

1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Scope 1.2 General principles

15 15 16

2 DESIGN 2.1 Classification of design 2.2 Step 1 - Locate position of thrust blocks 2.3 Step 2 - Calculate the magnitude of the design force, .Fd 2.4 Step 3 - Estimate ground conditions 2.5 Step 4 - Identify direction of the design forces 2.6 Step 5 - Determine ground properties 2.7 Step 6 - Determine thrust reduction factor T, 2.8 Step 7 - Estimate block size for horizontal bends and calculate

18 18 20 22 25 25 26 30

2.9 Step 8 2.10 Step 9


2.11 Step 10


2.12 Step 11 2.13 Step 12 2.14 Step 13 2.15 Step 14 -

ClRlA Report 128

ultimate horizontal ground resistance r, Calculate thrust block size to resist horizontal forces Estimate thrust block size for upturn bends and calculate ultimate bearing resistance Qb Calculate thrust block size to resist downward forces at upturn bends Estimate thrust block size for downturn bends and calculate the effective weight W Determine minimum thrust block size to suit pipe and excavation dimensions Review the design of each thrust block and revise as necessary Prepare dimensioned design

33 36 36 37 38 39 39 39

3 CONSTRUCTION DETAILS 3.1 Typical shapes for thrust blocks 3.2 Installation

40 40 46

4 EXAMPLES 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Example 1 4.3 Example 2

53 53 53 58





Appendix Appendix Appendix Appendix

67 73 75 91

1 2 3 4

Determination of fluid pressure forces Field identification of soils and rocks Basic soil mechanics theory Derivation of formula for ground resistance Previous page is blank



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Figure 1 Figure 2

Some typical locations where restraint is necessary Components of ground resistance on a thrust block (view fiom underneath) Figure 3 Steps in the design of thrust blocks Figure 4 Typical locations for thrust blocks Figure 5 Formulae for determining components of the hydraulic thrust forces requiring restraint in various fittings and components Thrustforces on bends Figure 6 Displacement of a thrust block under load Figure 7 Characteristic variation of thrust reduction factor T, with Figure 8 displacement ratio 6/Z for thrust blocks in stiff and soft soils Figure 9 Active and passive earth pressures on the faces of a thrust block Figure 10 Variation of earth pressure coeflcients with fiiction angle Figure 11 Resistance to sliding Figure 12 Elements for calculating ultimate bearing resistance Qb Typical thrust block details for horizontal bends Figure 13 Figure 14 Typical details for thrust blocks for large pipedthrust forces Figure 15 Typical thrust block details for vertical bends (upturns) with downward thrust forces Typical thrust block details for vertical bends (downturns) to Figure 16 resist uplift thrust forces Typical thrust block details for tee-junctions Figure 17 A thrust block solution for a large diameter tee section or Figure 18 where thrust Figure 19 Typical thrust block details for taper sections Thrust block on a sloping pipeline Figure 20 Figure 21 Thrust block detail for a blank end or as a temporary measure for pressure testing Figure 22 Idealised bearing area for thrust block Figure 23 Protection for fully enclosed uPVC pipes Example of a keyed anchor block on a horizontal bend Figure 24 Figure 25 Valve restraint by flanged spigot or puddle flange Figure 26 Protecting the integrity of thrust blocks fiom adjacent excavations Use of thrust walls in place of a chamber to restrain a valve Figure 27 Plan view of pipeline Figure 28 Pipeline for Example 2 Figure 29 Figure A3.1 Typical grading curves for soils Figure A3.2 Variation of liquidity index with stress and depth for normally consolidated and overconsolidated soils Figure A3.3 Calculation of total vertical stress Figure A3.4 Calculation of pore pressure Figure A3.5 Settlements caused by foundation loading and groundwater lowering Figure A3.6 Analysis of stress using the Mohr 's Circle construction Figure A3.7 Mohr's circles of total and effective stress Figure A3.8 Behaviour of soils during drained and undrained loading Figure A3.9 Compression and swelling of soil Figure A3.10 Compression and swelling of granular soils Figure A3.11 Behaviour of soils during shear Figure A3.12 Peak and ultimate failure states 6

16 17 19 21 23 24

30 31 33 34 35 36 40 41 41 42 43 43 44 45 46 47 48 48 49 51 52 53 58 76 78 79 79 79 80 80 81 83 84 85 86

ClRlA Report 128

Figure A3.13 Figure A3.14 Figure A3.15 Figure A3.16 Figure A4.1 Figure A4.2 Figure A4.3

Peak states for loose and dense soils Ultimatefailure states for undrained loading Strength and stiffness Relationships between initial stiffness and relative density Earth pressures for undrained loading Earth pressures for drained loading Base shearing resistance (a) Development of base shear stress (b) Use of key to mobilise base shear resistance Figure A4.4 Bearing capacity for upturn bends

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87 88 89 89 92 93 95 96

Tables Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5 Table 6 Table 7 Table 8 Table 9 Table A3.1 Table A3.2 Table A3.3 Table A3.4 Table A3.5 Table A3.6

ClRlA Report 128

Loads (in klv) on blank ends and bends due to internal pressures of I 0 bar Estimating ground conditions Description of typical soil properties Assessment of unit weight, y, Reduction factors (TJ for Class I thrust blocks Bearing capacity factors Spacing for thrust blocks on long slopes Ground conditions for pipeline in example I Location and type of thrust blocks (see Figure 29) Particle size classification Atterberg limits of some common soils Rates of drainage for typical soils Duration of typical loadings Coefficients of compression and swelling for some common soils Friction angles for some common soils

24 25 28 27 31 37 45 54 58 76 77 82 83 84 88



Thrust block

a block of concrete (sometimes reinforced) in contact with a pipe bend or other component to restrain movement due to internal hydraulic forces.

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Pipeline components:

Air vent; air valve

device fitted to pipelines for the controlled admission and/or release of air.

Anchored joint

joint in which the adjacent pipes are mechanically connected (e.g. bolted) together to avoid relative movement.




a bend in which the flow changes direction downwards in a vertical plane.


a bend in which the flow changes direction in a horizontal plane.


a bend in which the flow changes direction upwards in a vertical plane.

Blank end

an end of a pipe length which is terminated by a blank flange.

Flow restriction

orifice or partly closed valve which restricts the flow of water through it.

Keyed raft

a concrete raft, with integral concrete projections into firm ground below, and onto which a thrust block is cast.

Puddle flange

a dummy flange, welded or cast onto the outside of a pipe which is then embedded in a restraining wall to prevent axial movement.


tapering component to reduce a pipe diameter from a larger to smaller value.

Self-restraining joint

see Anchored joint.

Taper (see Reducer)

tapering component to join two pipes of different diameters.


a pipe junction in which a side branch leaves the main pipe line at an angle of 90".


a drainage point, usually at a low section of a pipeline, to allow collected sediment to be flushed out and for draining the line for maintenance purposes. ClRlA Report 128

Y - branches

a pipe junction at which main pipeline splits into two equal (or unequal) diameter branches

Pressures and forces in pipelines:

Design force,

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the force, based on the design pressure, that is used as the maximum force to be restrained by the thrust block and which arises from fluid pressures.

Design pressure

the maximum pressure that is assumed to occur in the pipeline after making allowances for normal and abnormal operating conditions and hydraulic testing.

Shock loading

impact loads, frequently associated with pipeline vibration, cavity collapse and check valve slam under transient flow conditions.

Steady pressure

pressures that are constant, or nearly so, with time.

Surge (pressure surge)

one of several terms used to describe flows and pressures that change with time. Usually associated with events such as loss of power to pump driving motors, rapid changes to valve settings, etc.

Test pressure

the pressure applied during a hydrostatic test of a (section of) pipeline to check for leaks and adequacy of any anchorage of the pipeline. Usually the maximum pressure the pipeline should ever experience.

Transient pressure (see Surge)

rapidly changing pressures in a pipeline under changing flow conditions e.g. pump starts, pump trips, etc.

Ground conditions:

ClRlA Report 128

Soil classification

a scheme for describing and classifying soil based on grain size, plasticity and cementing.


the distribution of grain sizes in a soil from clay sized (very small) through silt sized, sand sized up to gravel and larger sizes.

Fine grained soils

soils containing a high proportion of clay sized particles.

Coarse grained soils

soils with only a very small proportion of clay sized particles.

Mixed soils (also called well graded)

soils with a wide distribution of particle sizes.

Cemented soils

soils in which the grains are cemented together, usually by some kind of mineral deposit.


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Drained soils (coarse grained soils)

soils in which pore water pressures remain hydrostatic.

Undrained soils (fine grained soils)

soils in which there is no drainage or volume change during loading .


materials which are relatively strong and stiff because the mineral grains are strongly cemented together.


processes by which rocks are attacked by climatic agents (e.g. rain, wind, frost action) so they soften and weaken. Ultimately rocks weather completely to become soils.

Jointing and fissuring

discontinuities and cracks which occur in almost all rocks and in many soils. The presence of joints and fissures will weaken a rock.


a soil composed primarily of organic material derived from vegetation. Peats are usually very soft and weak.


soil which has been placed by man and usually compacted. The properties of fill depend on the nature of the soil and on how well it has been compacted.


water present in the pores of a soil.

Pore pressure

the pressure in the groundwater (applicable to saturated soils - i.e. soils in which the pore spaces are completely filled with water).

Water table

the elevation in the ground where the pore pressures are zero.

Ground properties: Unit weight, y (kN/m3)

the weight of everything (soil grains and water) in a unit volume of soil or rock.


the response of a material to loading below failure (stiff = small strains, soft = large strains).


the ultimate shear stress that a material can sustain without failing (strong = large shear stress, weak = small shear stress).

Undrained strength, s,

strength of a soil for undrained loading: depends primarily on the current water content.

Drained strength

strength of a soil for drained loading: depends primarily on the current normal effective stress and is given by T' = c' + o',tan+', (see also cohesion).

Friction angle,

component of drained strength.

Of Cohesion, cf 10

component of drained strength due to cementing. ClRlA Report 128

Stress and pressure in the ground: Normal stress,

stress acting normal to a plane.

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Shear stress, T

stress acting parallel to a plane.

Total stress, 0 or T

the full stress on the plane (i.e. the combined effects of the stresses in the soil and in the pore water).

Effective stress, 0' or T'

the stresses on the plane from the soil grains only (0'= 0 - U, where U = pore pressure, and T' = T). Effective stresses control all aspects of soil behaviour such as strength and compressibility.

Earth pressure

horizontal stresses on the vertical faces of a thrust block.

Passive pressure

earth pressure on the face which is moving towards the soil.

Active pressure

the earth pressure on the face which is moving away from the soil.

Earth pressure coefficients, K, and K,

the ratio of the horizontal and vertical effective stresses for passive and active pressures.

Base shearing resistance

the horizontal shear stress between the ground and the base of a thrust block.

Bearing pressure, q

the vertical normal stress beween the ground and the base of a thrust block.

Bearing capacity, q b

the value of the bearing pressure at failure (i.e. the maximum bearing pressure that can be applied).

Bearing capacity factors, N,,N,,

factors relating the bearing capacity of a thrust block to the ground conditions.

N, Forces on a thrust block:

ClRlA Report 128

Ultimate resistance, R,

the maximum force that can be applied by the ground to a thrust block: this is the sum of all the ground resistances and it applies for relatively large movements.

Nominal resistance, R,

the force that can be applied to the smallest practicable thrust block based on nominal ground conditions.

Ultimate bearing resistance, Qb

the maximum vertical force that can be applied to the base of a thrust block by the ground (i.e. Qb= q J b where Ab is the base area).


Thrust reduction factor, T,

the factor used to reduce the ultimate resistance so that the design force can be applied to a thrust block with relatively small ground movements.

Safety factor,

the factor used to ensure that a thrust block has a satisfactory margin of safety against uplift due to upward vertical loading.

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ClRlA Report 128

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base area of thrust block face area of thrust block minimum area nominal area width of thrust block minimum cover of concrete around pipe coefficient of compression (soil) coefficient of swelling (soil) cohesion peak cohesion C'P D m a x maximum density of granular soil minimum density of granular soil external diameter of pipe relative density of granular of soil applied force design force horizontal component of thrust safety factor ultimate design force vertical component of thrust coefficient of permeability - in Darcys law earth pressure coefficient-active earth pressure coefficient-passive bearing capacity factor bearing capacity factor bearing capacity factor pressure in pipe bearing pressure bearing capacity ultimate bearing resistance nominal resistance (ground resistance to smallest practicable thrust block) overconsolidation ratio ultimate resistance (sum of all ground resistances) undrained strength time thrust reduction factor pore pressure volume of thrust block velocity of fluid in pipe water content of soil weight of thrust block weight of pipe bend weight of fluid depth from ground surface to base of thrust block depth from ground to centreline of pipe

ClRlA Report 128

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unit weight of soil unit weight of water displacement change of pore pressure angle of pipe bend density of fluid in pipe total stress normal stress on active face of thrust block normal stress on base of thrust block normal stress normal effective stress normal stress on passive face of thrust block total vertical stress vertical effective stress shear stress (total) effective shear stress critical shear stress peak shear stress friction angle peak friction angle


ClRlA Report 128

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1 Introduction

Fluid under pressure in any pipeline creates forces at bends, junctions, valves and all restrictions to, and changes in, direction of flow. Additional transient forces may be generated by pump starts or stops, valve closure, etc. During construction and commissioning pipelines are, or should be, subjected to hydraulic pressure tests which should be higher than the sum of the steady and transient pressures. If the pipeline is continuous, or if it has anchored joints the forces may be resisted by tension and compression in the pipe, and by shear between the pipe and the surrounding soil. For pipes with joints which are not anchored, by welded or bolted flanges, etc., thrust blocks transmit these forces to the ground. Thrust blocks normally consist of a volume of concrete, usually of nominal strength (20-40 N/mm2), which may be lightly reinforced. The size and shape of the block is decided on the basis of the forces to be restrained, the size and style of the pipe fitting or component, and local ground conditions. The effectiveness of any thrust block is determined by its mass, shape, position relative to the pipeline, the soil reactions on the block, and friction between the pipeline and the surrounding ground. The design methods in this report are relatively simple and in most cases can be followed by non-specialist engineers. They are, of necessity, relatively conservative and, in general, they will tend to produce thrust blocks which are perhaps rather larger than would be obtained by using the services of hydraulic and geotechnical engineers. If any user of this report believes that their design is over-conservative it is always open to them to return to first principles to seek a more economical design.

1.1 SCOPE The report covers the routine design of thrust blocks for pressure pipelines which are: non-continuous and without anchored joints made from common materials (e.g. ductile iron, glass reinforced polyester (GRP), unplasticised polyvinylchloride (UPVC), asbestos cement and prestressed concrete) buried in trenches up to 1000 mm diameter, with test pressures up to 25 bar (2500 kPa) and/or with forces up to 1000 kN.

ClRlA Report 128


In other situations (e.g. larger sizes, higher pressures, etc.) the same general principles of hydraulics and soil mechanics apply but designs will need a strong element of engineering judgement and should be carried out, or at least reviewed, by engineers with the appropriate experience in hydraulics and geotechnics.

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1.2 GENERAL PRINCIPLES Fluid pressures in the pipeline will impose horizontal and vertical (upward or downward) forces at bends, valves, constrictions, junctions, etc. (see Figure 1). These forces must be resisted by the soil in front of and below the thrust block (see Figure 2) by a combination of: horizontal normal stress on the faces of the block vertical normal stress on the base of the block shear stress on the base of the block the weight of the block and soil above it.

1 Valve 2 Equaltee 3 Taper (reducer)

5 Blankends


1 2 3 4


Washout Upturn bend Downturn bend Air valve

(b) Vertical restraint

Direction of thrust

(a) Horizontal restraint

Figure 1 Some typical locations where restraint is necessary

Thrust blocks must be designed to restrict movements so that pipe joints do not leak. For this reason the allowable soil stresses must be considerably smaller than those required to cause ultimate failure of the thrust block itself. For flexible jointed pipelines the consequence of failure is usually joint leakage followed by washout leading to further movement. Rupture is less likely to occur except where there is a gross failure of the restraint.


ClRlA Report 128

Normal stress

Normal stress on theactive face oa


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Shear stress T on the base



Normal stress ob on the base

Figure 2 Components of ground resistance on a thrust block (view from underneath)

NOTE: 1. Other shear stresses acting on the sides and top of the block will be neglected.

2. Consideration must be given to the influence of groundwater in calculating soil stresses and weights.

3. The weight of soil above the thrust block may be included only if backfill is placed before the test pressure is applied. 4. The geometry of the block should be proportioned so that there are no excessive moments - normally the line of action of the imposed force should not fall outside the middle third of the bearing face. The design procedure that has been adopted requires that the design force Fd due to fluid pressures must not exceed the ultimate resistance R, of the thrust block, after this has been reduced by a Thrust Reduction Factor T,, so that for a satisfactory design: 1 Fd
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