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Problem statement

Our branch in Central Asia is about to buy an oil storage plant that was part of the government oil company for a number of years. Two of the tanks, of which I am sending here a picture, collapsed under circumstances that we don’t know. We are not even sure when this occurred or if the tanks were empty or with fluid inside. Other tanks close to them look in good shape. It seems that the tanks in this plant were properly designed in the 1980s. This is a region with earthquakes, high winds and poor soil, to which manufacturing problems may be added. So we need your expertise to tell us under what circumstances you think that the tanks failed. Your advice is needed in less than one and a half hours. Please, send us an email with your comments and justifications. This will be important in the future because the insurance companies will take this tank as an example of risk and will increase our insurance primes.

Here you will find the format required for your report. We have a good Library with material that may be of great help to you. You are also encouraged to consult experts about the topics involved. Regarding computations, Terry will be able to help you in doing some computations, so that you don’t need to worry about that. He is in the Computer Room.


This research was supported by NSF-CCLI, DUE-0736828: "A Computer-Based Simulated Environment to Learn on Structural Failures in Engineering"