Research Articles | Challenge Journal of Structural Mechanics

Design of cylindrical steel liquid tanks with stepped walls using One-foot method

Özer Zeybek



Cylindrical steel tanks are used in most countries to store bulk volumes of both solid and liquid products such as water, oil, gasoline and grain. Such steel tanks are prone to buckling when subjected to external pressure either due to vacuum or due to wind. These types of shell structures are generally controlled by elastic buckling failure because of the thin wall thickness. Cylindrical shells are commonly constructed with stepwise variable wall thickness due to economic reasons. The thickness of the tank shell wall is designed to increase from top to bottom because the stress resultants on the tank wall gradually increase towards the base of the tank. For open-top tanks, a primary stiffening ring is required at or near the top to maintain roundness under all loads. Stress resultants in a primary stiffening ring were previously identified by the Author for uniform wall thick tanks. In this new study, the applicability of this hand calculation method in stepped wall tanks has been investigated. Pursuant to this goal, a specified tank shell was designed considering One-foot method. Then, the stepped wall tank was transformed into an equivalent 1-course tank for hand calculation. Using the previously developed hand calculation method by Author, a test for the in-plane bending moment in the ring was conducted to achieve an acceptable value for stepped wall tanks. The analysis results show that the previously proposed method for uniform wall thick tanks may also be used for stepped wall tanks considering an equivalent thickness. On the other hand, using Linear Buckling Analysis (LBA), the buckling mode was obtained for two different stepped wall tanks in the study.


stepped wall tank; one-foot method; primary stiffening ring; in-plane bending moment; buckling

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