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Technical paper: Foundations and earthworks for cylindrical steel storage tanks

By Graham M Harris, Edward J Bateman Ltd

This paper was first published in GE’s July 1976 issue


For many years cylindrical steel storage tanks have been in common use for the storage of many industrial raw materials and products. One major industry that has up to the present been heavily committed to using steel storage tanks has been the petroleum industry.

Nowadays there is an increasing tendency to store raw materials, such as crude oil and liquid petroleum gas below ground surface as much as possible where economically feasible, either utilising disused mines or chambers specifically constructed for this purpose. This has arisen due to aesthetic requirements or as the result of strategic planning.

Refined petroleum products which are numerous and are normally handled in fairly small quantities cannot be so easily stored underground as bulk raw materials, such as crude oil, and it is expected that these will continue to be stored in conventional steel storage tanks for the foreseeable future.

It is the purpose of this article to review general design and construction techniques of the foundations for steel storage tanksnot only for those in use by the oil Industry but also for those in use for storing bulk commodities generally. 

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