Lateral Load

Published: June 17, 2020 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Lateral Load Mean?

A lateral load is a live load with the horizontal force acting as the main component. A lateral load acts parallel to the ground unlike vertical loads that act downward.

Commonly known lateral loads are wind loads, seismic loads, and water and earth pressure. Buried pipelines experience a variety of loads including lateral loads from the surrounding soil and from geological activity beneath the earth's surface.

Trenchlesspedia Explains Lateral Load

Buried pipes are subject to load from within the earth, parallel to the earth's surface, and experienced as lateral loads, soil pressure from the sides as well as the top, and also to effects of gravity, temperature changes and external loading either dead or live. All of these factors can cause a change in pipe diameter resulting in elongation along the vertical or horizontal axis.

The ability to support dead and live loads depends greatly on the quality of the backfill and support provided to the pipe. A pipe that has been buried deep in the soil with good side support and adequate and well-compacted backfill will be able to withstand live loads considerably well. In addition, the pipe material should have sufficient yield strength so that it performs in the elastic region.

Flexible pipe materials such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and polyethylene (PE) can withstand significant movements due to their elastic property. Damaged pipelines can be replaced using pipelines made of these materials with trenchless rehabilitation methods.


Seismic Load

Wind Load

Water and Earth Pressure

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