LSU CEE Professor Researches Above-Ground Storage Tank Flooding

October 25, 2021

aerial view of above ground storage tanksBATON ROUGE, LA – For years, above-ground storage tanks (ASTs) have been used by petrochemical companies to store large volumes of hazardous substances. Though ASTs are less expensive than underground tanks and installation is less costly, they still pose a threat to the surrounding environment due to leakage and spills.

Hoping to eliminate the spillage and leakage problem, LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Sabarethinam Kameshwar is researching how to model and quantify the flood performance of ASTs, specifically for some of the most common modes of failure like flotation and sliding damage, bottom plate failure, and debris impact.

“The results from the proposed research will provide new knowledge of failure mechanisms of ASTs and insights on relative likelihood of different damage modes of ASTs during floods,” he said. “This knowledge will help reduce AST failures, which will protect the surrounding environment and communities from harmful chemical spills.”

Kameshwar says that the environment and communities are endangered because many petrochemical facilities are in close proximity to water bodies such as rivers, which makes them susceptible to flooding. Businesses would benefit from Kameshwar’s research because the consequences of having an AST leak or flood are great. For instance, the company might need to pay a fine and would more than likely need to implement a remediation plan, not to mention the cost of repairs or even total replacement of the tank. This means lost productivity, which equates to lost sales.

Not only will Kameshwar’s research help companies, it will also put LSU graduates in the field to help.

“This research will involve undergraduate students and will lead to workforce development in natural hazards mitigation for industrial infrastructure,” he said.


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Contact: Libby Haydel

Communications Specialist