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Friction, contact pressure and non-linear behavior of steel tubes in subsea umbilicals


Steel tube umbilical risers in deep water applications are subject to significant variable environmental loads during operation. These tubes are designed to carry high pressure fluids, up to 15,000 psi. The stresses accumulated in the walls consist of contribution from movement of the floating platform on which the umbilical is connected, axial tension due to the weight of umbilical and ancillaries, and internal pressure due to end cap effect.

The helically wound steel tubes in umbilicals are un-bonded and can slip against adjacent layers. Therefore the stresses in these tubes experience a hysterical feature when the slip changes directions. It is known that in addition to bending stress, friction stress range has a major contribution in fatigue damage. If there is full slip, the friction stress range will be a constant value regardless of the load variation. However in many cycles the full slip is not reached and the stress range is proportional to load variation.

This paper focuses on evaluating the impact of friction and contact pressure on helical steel tubes. The initial gaps between steel tubes and adjacent layers, friction coefficients and the contact stiffness are the main factors that affect such investigation. A novel methodology by using UFLEX2D (a MARINTEK product) has been applied for modeling complex umbilical cross sections and for the study of these parameters.

Two cross sections for the same subsea application but with different designs have been investigated in the study. It has been shown how fatigue damage can be significantly impacted by different cross sectional design.

For this study, non-linear moment/curvature relationship has been included in the analyses. Based on the findings of this study, more realistic results can be achieved by including the non-linear behavior in global analysis for fatigue damage calculations instead of using nominal bending stiffness supplied by umbilical manufacturer.


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper




  • Farzan Parsinejad
  • Mark Kurtz
  • Chris Kassner
  • Naiquan Ye


  • Chevron
  • Unknown
  • SINTEF Ocean / Energi og transport




The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)


32nd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Volume 4A: Pipeline and Riser Technology





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