Project #5109

Application of Finite Element Analysis in the Design of Large-Diameter Buried Pressure Pipes-Special Cases

In Progress
Principal Investigator
Research Manager
Jian Zhang, PE, Ph.D.
University of Texas at Arlington
Asset Management
Distribution System Management


Increased water demand in growing cities has rendered the use of large-diameter pipes and fittings inevitable. However, current guidelines and manuals are primarily based on studies performed on regular-diameter pipes and do not necessary apply to large-diameter pipes. This project enhanced and refined knowledge of the behavior and design of large-diameter flexible pressure pipes using finite element analysis (FEA), specifically in special cases such as large-diameter pipe-valve interaction as a unit system, large fittings, effect of pipe loading on pump nozzles, and transitions from buried concrete structure to soil. The project results can help design engineers, manufacturers, and water utility officers gain insight into these special cases, avoid failures that could be prevented by using FEA, promote a system design approach as opposed to a component design approach, and establish the use of FEA in designing large-diameter flexible pipes. Research partner: Tarrant Regional Water District. Published in 2024.