Designing the cover height of buried pipelines to prevent them from buckling requires a method that can thoroughly and realistically model the phenomenon. This paper introduces a new technique to assess the risk of upheaval buckling (UHB) by using backfill soil springs (BFSS) to represent the uplift resistance provided by the backfill soil on top of a buried pipeline. This paper investigates the pre-buckling pipeline behavior related to UHB and highlights some of the key parameters governing the analysis. UHB assessment based on a case study was carried out and the results were then compared with those obtained from force-equilibrium methods generally used in the industry. The comparison shows that UHB assessment can be performed more rigorous using BFSS than using force-equilibrium methods. Therefore, using BFSS for UHB assessment improve the reliability in cover height design.

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