During seismic events, buried pipelines are subjected to deformation by seismic ground motion. In such cases, it is important to ensure the integrity of the pipeline. Both beam-mode and shell-mode buckling may occur in the event of compressive loading induced by seismic ground motion. In this study, the beam-mode buckling of a buried pipeline that occurred after the 2007 Niigataken Chuetsu-oki earthquake in Japan is investigated. A simple formula for estimating the critical strain, which is the strain at the peak load, is derived, and the formula is validated by finite-element analysis. In the formula, the critical strain increases with the pipeline diameter and hardness of the surrounding soil. By comparing the critical strain derived in this study for beam-mode buckling with the critical strain derived in a past study for shell-mode buckling, the formula facilitates the selection of the mode to be considered for evaluating the earthquake resistance of a pipeline. In addition to the critical strain, a method to estimate the deformation caused by seismic ground motion is proposed; the method can be used to evaluate the earthquake resistance of buried pipelines. This method uses finite-element analyses, and the soil–pipe interaction is considered. This method is used to reproduce the actual beam-mode buckling observed after the Niigataken Chuetsu-oki earthquake, and the earthquake resistance of a buried pipeline with general properties is evaluated as an example.

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