Polyethylene (PE) pipes are widely used in natural gas transportation systems in urban areas nowadays. As landslide caused by earthquake would cause destructive damage to buried pipes, increasing attention is attracted to the safety of buried PE pipes under seismic load. In this paper, the deformation behavior of PE pipe subjected to seismic landslide was investigated and a related failure criterion due to yielding was proposed. Based on extensive uniaxial tensile tests, a rate-dependent constitutive model of PE was applied to simulate the mechanical behavior of PE pipes. The extended Drucker-Prager model was used for surrounding soil. In our proposed finite element model, a quartic polynomial bending deflection displacement normal to the pipeline was loaded along the axial direction of PE pipe. The numerical simulation results revealed that the main failure mode of buried PE pipe subjected to seismic landslide shifted from bending deformation to ovalization deformation with increasing bending deflection. On the basis of deformation behavior analysis, failure criterion curves were put forward, which depicts the maximum relative deflection of the pipe cross-section, and the maximum displacement of the pipe versus pipe length subjected to seismic landslide. The results may be referable for design and safety assessment of PE pipes due to seismic landslide.

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