Luca Flessati,  Pietro Marveggio, Claudio di Prisco, and Domenico De Sarno



Seismic-induced liquefaction is one of the main hazards for pipelines buried in saturated granular materials. When soil is partially or completely fluidized, a lifeline, although installed in superficial trenches in which the coarse backfill soil usually is compacted, may experience a sudden uplift and damages.

To reduce pipeline uplift and thus limit the associated risks, the authors propose a sustainable and original mitigation strategy, suitable for both existing and new lifelines, based on both the use of a geomembrane and the compaction of the soil surrounding the pipeline.

According to the design method proposed, the intervention geometry is selected on the basis of the pipeline maximum admissible displacement, whereas the minimum required relative density can be designed, based on the site-specific seismic demand, to avoid cyclically induced local accumulation in excess pore-water pressure.

To prove the effectiveness of this strategy, a series of 1-g small-scale laboratory tests was performed on a pipe buried in a fluidized sand layer. A simplified displacement-based design approach, which was validated against the experimental data, is proposed.