Unanchored liquid storage tanks under strong earthquake loading tend to uplift. In the present study, the effects of base uplifting on the seismic response of unanchored tanks are presented with emphasis on elephant’s foot buckling, base plate strength and shell-to-base connection capacity. Towards this purpose, base uplifting mechanics is analyzed through a detailed simulation of the tank using non-linear finite elements, and a static pushover analysis is conducted that considers the hydrodynamic pressure distribution due to seismic loading on the tank wall and the base plate. The uplifting provisions from EN 1998-4 and API 650 Appendix E standards are briefly described. Numerical results for a typical 27.8-meter-diameter steel tank are compared with the above design provisions.

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