Computational Model for the Evaluation of Reinforced Concrete Silos Subjected to Thermal Load


  • W. M. A. Khalifa Civil Engineering Department, Hail University, Saudi Arabia | Fayoum University, Egypt
  • K. F. O. El-Kashif Structural Engineering Department, Cairo University, Egypt
Volume: 9 | Issue: 4 | Pages: 4411-4418 | August 2019 |


Silos are special structures subjected to many different unconventional loading conditions like temperature differences which result in unusual failure modes. So, it is necessary for many codes to maintain and study the effect of thermal loads in design. The evaluation of design and construction practices is an essential step in the development of the design code for reinforced concrete (RC) silos, especially in arid zones like Saudi Arabia. This work evaluates the effect of thermal loads on silo wall design in terms of applied forces and stresses. These thermal loads affect the silo walls in two main manners, tangential oriented stresses (circumferential stress) due to thermally induced surcharge pressure during cooling of a filled silo structure and stresses due to differences of temperature across the wall thickness. A computation analytical finite element model (FEM) has been applied in a commercial analyzing program (SAP 2000 version 16). Various code provisions were used with comparison with the FEM results. For hoop forces, EU regulation, German standard, and Polish norm provisions were compared with a linear FEM with two parameters, wall thickness and temperature difference. For oriented stresses in silo wall, the American concrete institute (ACI) provisions were used in comparison with linear and nonlinear FEM with the same two parameters, wall thickness and temperature difference. This work showed that the nonlinear analysis of FEM has good matching with the corresponding values in ACI, leading to the conclusion that nonlinear analysis is more accurate than linear analysis. Moreover, the study results of hoop forces showed a distinct pattern with the temperature difference, silo radii, and insignificant silo wall thickness for each of FEM, EU, and Poland codes. This study is used for the rapid determination of critical areas of concern for critical loading combinations and for varying silo configurations.


code provisions, finite element model (FEM), silos, thermal load


Download data is not yet available.


A. Vardai, B. Madaras, Dust Explosion of RC Silos, Springer, 2017 DOI:

S. S. Safarian, E. C. Harris, “Determination of minimum wall thickness and temperature steel in conventionally reinforced circular concrete silos”, ACI Journal Proceedings, Vol. 67, No. 7, pp. 539-547, 1970 DOI:

ACI Committee 313-97, Standard Practice for Design and Construction of Concrete Silos and Stalking Tubes for Storing Materials, ACI, 1997

ASABE Standard EP (R2006), Loads Exerted by Free Flowing Grain on Bins, pp. 773-776, ASABE, 1988

M. Fintel, Handbook of Concrete Engineering, Springer, 1985 DOI:

ACI Committee 318-14, Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete and Commentary, ACI, 2014

ACI Committee 313R-97, Commentary on Standard Practice for Design and Construction of Concrete Silos and Stacking Tubes for Storing Granular Materials, ACI, 1997

A. Lapko, J. Prusiel, Stress Analysis of Silo Wall Subjected to Grain Pressure and Thermal Actions, University of Bialystok, 1997

S. Das, M. N. S. Hadi, Non-Linear Finite Element Analysis of Reinforced Concrete Members Using MSC/NASTRAN, University of Wollongong, 1996

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, Ashrae Guide and Data Book, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, 1964

European Standards, EN 1991-4 (2006): Eurocode 1–Actions on Structure –Part 4: Silos and Tanks, European Standards, 2006

DIN 1055-6:2005, Actions on structures – Part 6: Design loads for buildings and loads in silo bins, DIN, 2005 (in German)

PN-B-03262, Reinforced concrete tanks for bulk materials and silage, Static calculations and designing, the whole standard, PKN, 2002 (in Polish)

The origins of the Finite Element Method, available at:, [accessed: April 15, 2015]

D. L. Logan, A First Course in the Finite Element Method, University of Wisconsin, 2012

K. Guo, C. Zhou, X. Zhang, L. Meng, “Lateral pressure of RC silos with static and dynamic granular materials”, Journal of Harbin Institute of Technology (New Series), Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 92-98, 2015

B. Vicich, C. Ryan, K. Meredith, Linear vs. Non-Linear Contact Analysis, Samtec Incorporation, 2007

ECP Committee 203-2007, Egyptian Code for Design and Construction of Concrete Structures, ECP, 2007

Bureau of Indian Standards, IS-456 (2000): Plain and Reinforced Concrete Code of Practice, Bureau of Indian Standards, 2000

V. Ivanco, Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis, Technical University of Kosice, 2011

L. Zhao, Z. Yang, L. Wang, “Investigation on the Non-Uniform Temperature Distribution of Large-Diameter Concrete Silos Under Solar Radiation”, Mathematical Problems in Engineering, Vol. 2018, Article ID 5304974, 2018 DOI:

E. J. Hearn, Mechanics of Materials, University of Warwick, 1997


How to Cite

W. M. A. Khalifa and K. F. O. El-Kashif, “Computational Model for the Evaluation of Reinforced Concrete Silos Subjected to Thermal Load”, Eng. Technol. Appl. Sci. Res., vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 4411–4418, Aug. 2019.


Abstract Views: 428
PDF Downloads: 322

Metrics Information
Bookmark and Share

Most read articles by the same author(s)