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An Experimental and Numerical Investigation of the Effect of Axial Thermal Gradients in Flexible Pipes

[+] Author Affiliations
Dag Fergestad, Frank Klæbo, Janne K. Ø. Gjøsteen

SINTEF Ocean, Trondheim, Norway

Jan Muren, Tom Are Grøv, Andreas Gjendal

4Subsea, Asker, Norway

Pål Hylland

STATOIL, Stavanger, Norway

Hans Lange

SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, Trondheim, Norway

Bjørn Melve

STATOIL, Trondheim, Norway

Claus Egebjerg Kristensen

STATOIL, Oslo, Norway

Paper No. OMAE2017-61804, pp. V05AT04A021; 13 pages
  • ASME 2017 36th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 5A: Pipelines, Risers, and Subsea Systems
  • Trondheim, Norway, June 25–30, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5769-4
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


This paper discusses the structural challenges associated with high axial temperature gradients and the corresponding internal cross section forces. A representative flexible pipe section designed for high operational temperature has been subject to full scale testing with temperature profiles obtained by external heating and cooling. The test is providing detailed insight in onset and magnitude of relative layer movements and layer forces. As part of the full-scale testing, novel methods for temperature gradient testing of unbonded flexible pipes have been developed, along with layer force- and deflection-measurement techniques. The full-scale test set-up has been subject to numerous temperature cycles of various magnitudes, gradients, absolute temperatures, as well as tension cycling to investigate possible couplings to dynamics.

Extensive use of finite element analysis has efficiently supported test planning, instrumentation and execution, as well as enabling increased understanding of the structural interaction within the unbonded flexible pipe cross section. When exploiting the problem by finite element analysis, key inputs will be correct material models for the polymeric layers, and as-built dimensions/thicknesses. Finding the balance between reasonable simplification and model complexity is also a challenge, where access to high quality full-scale tests and dissected pipes coming back from operation provides good support for these decisions.

Considering the extensive full scale testing, supported by advanced finite element analysis, it is evident that increased attention will be needed to document reliable operation in the most demanding high temperature flexible pipe applications.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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