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Title: A flaw in the conventional approach to stability design of pipelines
Category: Papers by Dr Andrew Palmer
Downloadable: Yes 
Catalog No.: AP113
Date of Publication: 1996
Price: $25.00 US
Authors: A C Palmer
Abstract: A submarine pipeline is supposed to be stable if the hydrodynamic lift and drag forces exerted on the pipe by the water flowing across it are balanced by forces from the seabed. Conventional pipeline design calculates the hydrodynamic forces from a force model, often based on Morison's equation, but sometimes with a more sophisticated approach taking account of flow reversal and wake effects or based on force coefficients. The coefficients in the hydrodynamic model are determined from tests in oscillatory flow tunnels, pipes on oscillating carriages in still water, and in the field. The force interaction between the pipe and the seabed is often idealised as a frictional contact, and based on very simple tests and field measurements, but recently the geotechnical aspects of the problem have been studied in more detail, both for sand and for clay, and more sophisticated models have been derived, taking account of embedment and cyclic loading. The tests are in soil tanks, in which a section of the pipe sits on the soil in stationary water and is loaded in various ways.

The conventional approach is set out in various codes and standards. North Sea experience suggests that it generally leads to satisfactory designs, except when the environmental conditions have been seriously underestimated.

It is suggested that the conventional approach is often fundamentally flawed.

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