ARC Centre of Excellence Geotechnical Science & Engineering

RHD Students

Tao Zhou

RHD Students


Three-Dimensional Numerical Modelling of Pipe-Soil Interaction and Its Application in Pipeline Buckling Analysis


Over the past two decades, offshore oil and gas developments have gradually extended into deeper water further from shore, which results in increasing significant of pipelines. Global buckling of subsea pipelines under high temperature and pressure is an emerging concern. Thermal expansion and contraction of pipeline operation can lead to pipeline buckling. Strain energy builds up when pipelines are restrained and catastrophic consequences can happen occur if pipelines buckle uncontrollably. Advice on safe pipeline operation is extremely limited. This research project is to introduce an H (horizontal) – V (vertical) – A (axial) yield envelope and to develop pipe-soil interaction models, which have the ability to predict the combined loading pipe-soil response using more fundamental concepts that reduce the dependence on empiricism and integrate it into fully 3D pipeline buckling analysis.

Why my research is important

The problem is complex due to significant links between the strength of the soil, the pipe-soil interaction and the pipe cyclic movement under pressure and temperature in operation. A range of experimental modelling has been carried out to address the problem by considering the effect of the major factors in a qualitative manner. However, a robust and accurate numerical framework is yet to be developed for a better understanding of the pipe-soil interaction and more importantly, to enable the possibility of performing quantitative analyses on pipeline buckling.