Guide to the design of thrust blocks for buried pressure pipes

This book gives guidance on how to design blocks to restrain the forces from flow change in buried pressure pipelines.

Buried pressure pipes
Buried pressure pipes

Who wrote this?

A.R. D. Thorley and J.H. Atkinson.


It was first published in 1994.


To avoid pipeline failures due to poor design.

Who should read this?

Anyone who is in charge of covering buried pipelines, or is interested in avoiding rework.


This 103-page book gives step-by-step design guidance on how thrust blocks up to 1000 kN are used to restrain the forces generated by changes in direction of fluid flow in jointed buried pressure pipeline networks.

It covers:

  1. Introduction and general principles
  2. Design and how to:
    • Calculate the magnitude of the force
    • Estimate ground conditions
    • Identify direction of the design forces
    • Determine ground properties
    • Determine thrust reaction factor
    • Estimate block size for horizontal bends
    • Calculate ultimate horizontal ground resistance
    • Calculate thrust block size to resist horizontal forces
    • Estimate thrust block size for upturn bends
    • Calculate ultimate bearing resistance
    • Calculate thrust block size to resist downward forces at upturn bends
    • Estimate thrust block size for downturn bends
    • Calculate the effective weight determine minimum thrust block size to suit pipe and excavation dimensions
    • Review the design of each thrust block
    • Prepare dimensioned design
  3. Construction details
  4. Examples

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