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On the Design of a Suspension System for Oil and Gas Transporting Pipelines Below Ocean Surface

  • Research Article - Mechanical Engineering
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Expanding demand on oil transportation through submarine pipeline brings an immediate need for a proper design of underwater transporting pipeline system. A substantial amount of work has been conducted in the modeling of submarine pipelines laid on the seabed with the awareness of the downsides of such design approach. The high cost and labor intensiveness, due to installation and maintenance, are some of the disadvantages of such design. This paper discusses a new design of suspended pipelines which can be considered a favorable option as opposed to laying oil pipelines on the sea floor. An optimum design of a suspended oil transporting pipeline is considered in this study and a simple nonlinear mathematical model is developed to predict the dynamic behavior of the pipeline. The system consists of buoys as a suspension mechanism, transporting pipeline and vibration absorbers against ocean waves and vortex-shedding excitations. Nonlinearities in the model are due to vortex-shedding effects and fluid damping of the pipeline. The system design parameters considered for optimization are the absorber natural frequency, damping ratio and the buoy diameter. Other system parameters are assumed to be given to avoid design complexity. The design criterion is to minimize vibration amplitude of the pipeline and consequently the internal normal stresses with given constraints of maximum absorber displacement and buoy maximum diameter.

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R d :

Reduced damping factor

L p :

Pipeline segment length

F w :

Ocean wave exciting force

ω w :

Ocean wave excitation frequency

H w :

Ocean wave amplitude

F s :

Vortex shedding transverse force

D p :

Pipeline external diameter

D b :

Buoy diameter

t :

Time in seconds

t p :

Pipeline wall thickness

t b :

Buoy wall thickness

U :

Ocean current speed

C l (t):

Time varying lift coefficient

ρ w :

Ocean fluid density

ρ b :

Buoy material density

ω s :

Vortex-shedding frequency

S t :

Strouhal number selected to be 0.2

x b :

Buoy response

x p :

Pipeline response

x a1 :

Buoy absorber response

x a2 :

Pipeline absorber response

M b :

Buoy mass including added mass

M p :

Equivalent pipeline mass including added mass

m a1 :

Buoy absorber mass

m a2 :

Pipeline absorber mass including added mass

m :

Pipeline mass per unit length

K b :

Hydrostatic restoring coefficient of buoy

K p :

Pipeline equivalent stiffness

K a1 :

Buoy absorber spring constant

K a2 :

Pipeline absorber spring constant

C b :

Wave damping coefficient for the buoy–water interaction

C p :

Pipeline structural damping coefficient

C a1 :

Buoy absorber damping coefficient

β :

Pipeline fluid damping coefficient

α :

Pipeline absorber fluid damping cefficient

h :

Height of the buoy above water surface

h 1 :

Immersed depth of buoy in water

d a2 :

Pipeline absorber diameter

ω np :

Pipeline fundamental mode frequency

W 1, W 2, W 3 :

Objective function weighing factors

Y :

System objective function

\({\zeta _{\rm p}}\) :

Pipeline structural damping factor

f d :

Pipeline absorber damping factor (dimensionless)

U r :

Reduced velocity


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Correspondence to Khalid Al-Dakkan.

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Al-Dakkan, K., Alsaif, K. On the Design of a Suspension System for Oil and Gas Transporting Pipelines Below Ocean Surface. Arab J Sci Eng 37, 2017–2033 (2012).

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