This paper reports the results of experimental and numerical investigations into the behaviour of buried high-pressure piping supported by flat concrete footings known as ‘sleepers.’ In the study, a series of full-size line pipes are examined to determine their deformational behaviour when subjected to sleeper – pipe contact forces. Of particular concern are the distortion of the cross-section and the identification of potential buckling or wrinkling problems. Test results show that the pipes behave in a stable and ductile manner, but that the cross-sectional deformation can be considerable. A numerical model of sleeper-supported pipe, which includes non-linear material properties and accounts for large strains and deformations, is described. This model is found to represent sleeper – pipe interaction behaviour well. It is concluded that the analytical methods are sufficiently accurate to predict the behaviour of a pipe under the action of a known sleeper – pipe contact force. These analyses can be used to predict pipe behaviour directly and will be of assistance in the development of a simplified design technique.

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