Hooimeyer, E & Rosart, J 2009, 'A Whole Lot of Shaking — Seismic Load Considerations in Thickener Design', in R Jewell, AB Fourie, S Barrera & J Wiertz (eds), Proceedings of the Twelfth International Seminar on Paste and Thickened Tailings
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 109-118, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_repo/963_13
In paste and thickened tailings disposal, one of the most structurally significant components is the thickener.
When calculating the strength of the supporting structure, the effects of seismic activity become an important
design consideration, particularly in countries prone to high activity. Thickener tanks can hold in excess of
10 million litres of slurry, having masses greater than 15,000 tonnes. Thus, even in relatively low seismic
zones, a thorough understanding of the seismic behaviour of these tanks is critical when it comes to
structural integrity and safety. A further consideration is the financial and operability benefits when
examining structure weight and footing design.
The influence of ground conditions on the magnitude of forces is often overlooked. It is commonly known
that more earthquake damage occurs in softer soils than rock. This paper will explore different ground
conditions and show how site-specific ground data can be used to make informed decisions on thickener
Another significant consideration is thickener shape. A parallel here is building design for earthquake
sensitive regions. Natural frequencies are evaluated to see if structures are prone to damage, showing the
critical geometry one should avoid. In thickeners, sizing and shape is driven by process decisions. There are,
however, alternative shapes that can perform equally well. This paper will explore thickener shapes and the
suitability for various seismic conditions. It will also explore support methods and their response to seismic
API 650 (2003) 10th Edition, Addendum 3. Welded steel tanks for oil storage. American Petroleum Institute,
Washington, D.C., USA.
Fouse, J. (2004) Geotechnical aspects of the IBC 2003 seismic design. ASCE/EERI Seminar on the IBC 2003 Code,
St. Louis, USA, viewed 3 October 2008,
International Building Code (IBC) (2006) International Code Council, Country Club Hills, Illinois, USA.
Uniform Building Code (UBC) (1997) Volume 2: Structural Engineering Design Provisions. International Conference
of Building Officials, Whittier, California, USA.
118 Paste 2009, Viña del Mar, Chile