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FEA of Out-of-Plane Fatigue Mechanism of Chain Links

[+] Author Affiliations
Pedro Vargas

ChevronTexaco Energy Technology Company, Richmond, CA

Philippe Jean

SBM Offshore Systems, Monaco

Paper No. OMAE2005-67354, pp. 173-182; 10 pages
  • ASME 2005 24th International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering
  • 24th International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering: Volume 3
  • Halkidiki, Greece, June 12–17, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4197-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-3759-9
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Several mooring chains of an off-loading buoy failed after only 8 months of service. These chains were designed according to conventional fatigue assessment using API RP 2SK T-N curves to a fatigue life of 20 years with a factor of safety equal to 3 on life. Of particular interest is that the mooring chain failure underwent significant mooring chain motions that caused interlink rotations. Although traditionally neglected, these interlink rotations, when combined with significant chain tensions can cause bending stresses in the chain links. In this paper we identify a mechanism, here identified as Out-of-Plane Bending (OPB) that explains the extensive fatigue damage causing the mooring chains of the off-loading buoy to fail. A previous paper [4] presented experimental results of applying inter-link rotation to a pre-tensioned chain. Various pretension levels were used, with instrumentation to extract link angles and chain link stresses. In this paper, the physics of the OPB mechanism is examined through finite element models of the 124mm chain link tests. The various modes of interlink rotation are examined. The proof loading procedure that the chain undergoes at manufacture is identified as a likely cause for creating a tightly mated surface that is conducive to activating the OPB mechanism. To comply with Single Buoy Moorings (SBM) requirements addressing publication of internal research, many of the graphs included in this paper have had the stress values removed from the y-axis. However, with SBM’s management approval, some numerical references to stress amplitudes remain in the text. Overall, this limitation does not detract from the study, trends are evident and relevant comparisons can be made.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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