Thermal stability analysis of cylindrical thin-walled tanks subjected to lateral fire loading

Document Type : Research Article


1 School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 دانشگاه تهران*مهندسی مکانیک

3 Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Sahand University of Technology, Tabriz, Iran


Thin-walled cylinders are widely used as fluid storage tanks, such as water, which is a vital component in extinguishing facilities. Due to the thinness essence of these structures, the stability performance will be put in peril when exposed to various destabilizing side loads. Lateral thermal loads resulting from side fires can lead to unstable behavior of the tanks. The combustion and fire formation are multi-physics phenomena and require a multi-phase fluid perspective to analyze them more closely. In this study, to enhance the analysis's accuracy, the large eddy simulation approach is used to model the fire and estimate its thermal effects on the adjacent structures. The results are consequently utilized for nonlinear stability analysis. The fire simulation results for empty and half-filled tanks are exploited to study the influence of various structural parameters such as geometrical imperfection, roof thickness, and the shell thickness distribution on the critical buckling temperature and instability time. The results reveal that the structure's lateral thermal stability will be maximized at a specific ratio of the roof to the wall thickness. The stepped shell profile, as well as the geometrical imperfection of each configuration, can reduce the critical threshold by up to 40% and weaken the structure against heat. The present research outcomes would help the structural optimizing process of a fire-extinguishing tank subjected to fire-induced instability.


Main Subjects

[1] D. Pantousa, Numerical simulation of oil steel tank structural behavior under fire conditions, University of Thessaly, Greece, Master Thesis, (2015).
[2]     Y. Li, J. Jiang, H. Bian, Y. Yu, Q. Zhang, Z. Wang, Coupling effects of the fragment impact and adjacent pool-fire on the thermal buckling of a fixed-roof tank, Thin-walled Structures, 144 (2019) 106309.
[3]     L. A. Godoy, Buckling of vertical oil storage steel tanks: Review of static buckling studies, Thin-Walled Structures, 103 (2016) 1-21.
[4]     C. A. Burgos, J. C. Batista-Abreu, H. D. Calabró, R. C. Jaca, L. A. Godoy, Buckling estimates for oil storage tanks : Effect of simplified modeling of the roof and wind girder, Thin-Walled Structures, 91 (2015) 29-37.
[5] L.A. Godoy, J.C. Batista-Abreu, Buckling of fixed-roof aboveground oil storage tanks under heat induced by an external fire, Thin-walled Structures, 52 (2012) 90-101.
[6] J.C. Batista-Abreu, L.A. Godoy, Thermal buckling behavior of open cylindrical oil storage tanks under fire, Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 27(1), (2013) 89-97.
[7] Y. Liu, Thermal buckling of metal oil tanks subject to an adjacent fire, University of Edinburgh, UK, PhD Thesis, (2011).
[8] G. Landucci, G. Gubinelli, G. Antonioni, V. Cozzani, The assessment of the damage probability of storage tanks in domino events triggered by fire, Accident Analysis & Prevention, 41(6) (2009) 1206-1215.
[9] C. Goula, Numerical simulation of pool hydrocarbon fires and their effect on adjacent tanks, University of Thessaly, Greece, Master Thesis, (2017).
[10] D. Pantousa, Numerical study on thermal buckling of empty thin-walled steel tanks under multiple pool-fire scenarios, Thin-walled Structures, 131 (2018) 577-594.
[11] F. da Silva Santos, A. Landesmann, Thermal performance-based analysis of minimum safe distances between fuel storage tanks exposed to fire, Fire Safety Journal, 69 (2014) 57-68.
[12] D. Pantousa, K. Tzaros, M.A. Kefaki, Thermal buckling behaviour of unstiffened and stiffened fixed-roof tanks under non-uniform heating, Journal of Constructional Steel Research, 143 (2018) 162-179.
[13] C. Maraveas, Thermal buckling analysis of thin-walled steel oil tanks exposed to an adjacent fire, in: 23rd Australian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials (ACMSM23), Southern Cross University, Byron Bay, Australia, (2014).
[14] A. Pourkeramat, A. Daneshmehr, S. Jalili, K. Aminfar, Geometrical imperfection's effect on thermal buckling of cylindrical water storage tanks subjected to fire, in: The 28th Annual International Conference of Iranian Society of Mechanical Engineers (ISME2020), Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, (2020).
[15] A. Pourkeramat, A. Daneshmehr, K. Aminfar, S. Jalili, Effect of fluid level on thermal buckling behavior of different reinforced water storage tanks adjacent to pool fire, in: The Biannual International Conference of Experimental Solid Mechanics (XMECH2020), Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran, (2020).
[16] M.M. Jujuly, A. Rahman, S. Ahmed, F. Khan, LNG pool fire simulation for domino effect analysis, Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 143 (2015) 19-29.
[17] S.N. Espinosa, R.C. Jaca, L.A. Godoy, Thermal and structural analysis of a fuel storage tank under an adjacent pool fire, Fire Research, 2(1) (2018) 31-36.
[18] Y. Li, J. Jiang, Q. Zhang, Y. Yu, Z. Wang, H. Liu, C.M. Shu, Static and dynamic flame model effects on thermal buckling: Fixed-roof tanks adjacent to an ethanol pool-fire, Process Safety and Environmental Protection, 127 (2019) 23-35.
[19] S.N. Espinosa, R.C. Jaca, L.A. Godoy, Thermal effects of fire on a nearby fuel storage tank, Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, 62 (2019) 103990.
[20] D. Pantousa, L.A. Godoy, On the mechanics of thermal buckling of oil storage tanks, Thin-walled Structures, 145 (2019) 106432.
[21] B. Niknam, H. Madani, H. Salari rad, Determining critical wind velocity during Fire accident in alborz tunnel, Amirkabir journal of Mechanical engineering, 44(1) (2012) 47-55.
[22] S.O. Haghani, E. Barati, Numerical study on the effect of blower location on the maximum temperature and spread of smoke in case of fire inside tunnels, Amirkabir journal of mechanical Engineering, 53(1) (2020) 1-3.
[23] K. McGrattan, S. Hostikka, R. McDermott, J. Floyd, C. Weinschenk, K. Overholt, Fire dynamics simulator technical reference guide volume 1: mathematical model, NIST special publication, 1018(1) (2013) 175.
[24] M.J. Hurley, D.T. Gottuk, J.R. Hall Jr, K. Harada, E.D. Kuligowski, M. Puchovsky, J.M. Watts Jr, C.J. Wieczorek, SFPE handbook of fire protection engineering, Springer, (2015).
[25] W. Binbin, Comparative research on FLUENT and FDS's numerical simulation of smoke spread in subway platform fire, Procedia Engineering, 26 (2011) 1065-1075.
[26] Y.C. Wang, Steel and composite structures: behaviour and design for fire safety, CRC Press, London & New York, (2002).
[27] ABAQUS, User's Manuals, Version 6.4, Hibbitt, Karlsson, and Sorensen Inc., Rhode Island, USA, (2003).
[28] J.N. Reddy, An introduction to the finite element method, 4th edition, McGraw-Hill Education, USA, (2018).
[29] R. Fleury, Evaluation of thermal radiation models for fire spread between objects, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, Master Thesis, (2010).
[30] API Standard 650, Welded Steel Tanks for Oil Storage, American Petroleum Institute, Washington DC, USA, (2007).