Towards optimal finite element modeling for the analysis of liquid storage tanks

S. A. Elkholy, A. A. Elsayed, B. El-Ariss, S. A. Sadek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Model analysis of liquid storage vertical tanks is a challenging task due to complexity of the fluid-structure-soil interaction. Modal analysis of such tanks using finite element modeling programs has become a preferred technique for investigating the behavior of liquid storage tanks subjected to earthquake excitations. The finite element model is validated and tuned by comparing its results with experimental measurements as well as solutions from simplified theoretical models available in the literature for such tanks. However, most finite element studies in the literature do not provide enough details on the selection of the elements employed other than identifying them as shell, fluid, or beam elements and do not discuss or consider other elements, within the same types available in the library of the finite element computer programs utilized, that may yield better results. The objective of this study is to set up the optimal finite element options of parameters such as element types and number of elements which best predict the tank dynamic characteristics, natural frequencies and principal mode shapes. This is done by using the finite element analysis package, ANSYS, to carry out a modal analysis for investigating the dynamic characteristics of the above tanks. Coupled natural frequencies in sloshing modes were obtained for various tank height-todiameter ratios, various tank wall thicknesses, and various liquid depths. The finite element predictions compared well with the literature available for experimental and numerical results. A set of finite element options of parameters is recommended for the elastic and inelastic analysis of the above tanks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCivil-Comp Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Finite element modelling
  • Finite elements
  • Liquid storage tank
  • Modal analysis
  • Sloshing modes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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