the Tarrant Regional Water District builds and buries a 150-mile pipeline that
will stretch from Lake Benbrook to Lake Palestine in East Texas, it must ensure
that the soil that surrounding the mammoth line will remain stable for decades
that end, the district has awarded a grant of nearly $600,000 to Ali Abolmaali,
UT Arlington professor and interim chair of the Department
of Civil Engineering, to simulate
the behavior and response of pipe-soil interaction that will surround its massive
Integrated Pipeline Project.
pipeline is a $2.3 billion project developed by the Tarrant Regional Water
District and Dallas Water Utilities. The pipeline is expected to provide water
for an additional 1.5 million people in North Texas. Construction could begin
as early as 2014, with the pipeline operating by 2021.
important that forces and deflections of the soil-pipe interaction system are
accurately estimated for varying soil and pipe dimensions to be used as design
tools,” Abolmaali said. “We are developing three dimensional non-linear finite
element models of pipe and surrounding soil by taking into account algorithms
for staged construction, this is a unique model.”
massive construction projects typically use crushed rock as a backfill. But crushed
rock is very expensive, particularly for a pipeline so long and one that will
be 108 inches in diameter for much of its length. That’s why the district has
turned to native soil as a backfill material.
have to quantify the risk in building the pipeline,” said David Marshall,
engineering services director for the Tarrant Regional Water District. “The
pipe acts more like a shell for the water. We can’t have a crack in the shell.”
will develop computer simulation programs that the water district can use to
gauge the response of the pipe and the loads that the pipe must be able to
handle. He also will conducting field tests and perform comparisons between
those field tests and computer simulations.
we’ll use the simulation to develop design aids for teams,” Abolmaali said. “We
will develop design equations that will then be introduced into national
said Abomaali’s work is critical, as design standards for such pipelines have
not been updated since the 1920s.
never considered back then that we’d be using a 108-inch pipe today,” Marshall
needs today are substantially more important than society ever envisioned, UT
Arlington Engineering Dean J.-P. Bardet said.
is a water highway that will help this North Texas area with basic needs now
and in the future,” Bardet said. “Dr. Abolmaali’s work ensures the district
makes the right decisions.”
more about the Tarrant Regional Water District’s Integrated Pipeline Project,
please visit http://www.trwd.com/IPL.aspx.
is the UT Arlington Tseng Huang
endowed professor of civil engineering and director of the University’s Center
for Structural Engineering Research. His research is representative of the work
under way at The University of Texas at Arlington, a comprehensive research
institution in the heart of North Texas. For more information, please visit, www.uta.edu.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.