Configuration analysis of deepwater S-lay pipeline
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The safety of offshore pipeline has drawn a great deal of attention during deepwater installation due to the combined actions of high external pressure, axial tension, and bending moment. Meanwhile, the pipeline configuration has a remarkable effect on the structural behaviour of the tube. The special studies focus on the deepwater S-lay technique in the present paper. The stiffened catenary theory is applied to establish the static equilibrium governing differential equation of a pipe element, and the solution equations of the total pipeline configuration from a lay-barge over a stinger to the seabed are derived. The numerical iteration method for solving pipeline configuration is described in detail, and the corresponding program is developed to conduct the analysis of effects of various parameters such as laying water depth, pipe diameter, thickness of concrete weighted coating layer, stinger length, control strain, and axial tension on pipeline configuration. The results show that the laying water depth, the submerged weight of the pipe, and the axial tension are the critical factors influencing pipeline configuration. In addition, geometrical parameters of the stinger such as length, radius, and shape have an important effect on the pipe-laying capacity of the vessel. The validity of the program is further verified by means of a comparison with results obtained from the commercial finite element software OFFPIPE.