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Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, the University of Western Australia

Perth, Western Australia, Australia

ABSTRACT

Macroelement models have been increasingly utilized in offshore

engineering to simplify complex structure-soil interaction. Sometimes

termed force-resultant models, they attempt to relate resultant forces

directly to the corresponding displacements on the footing, all within a

plasticity framework. Although an increasing number of macroelement

models describing pipe-soil interaction have been developed, through a

combination of centrifuge tests, plasticity limit theory and finite

element analysis, these have in the main been for loading in two-

dimensions (usually vertical-horizontal, or V-H). This paper discusses

the use of such models in three dimensions (vertical, horizontal and

axial force space, or V-H-T). A simple extension to a previous two-

dimensional (2D) model in V-H space is suggested. The axial behavior

of the pipe-soil system, which has traditionally been treated as a purely

friction force, is linked with the plasticity model in the other two

directions (V-H). Details of the force-resultant model in V-H space are

first provided before a discussion of an appropriate method to extend

this to three-dimensions (3D) is given. Further, incorporation of the 3D

model into a structural finite element program is discussed. The 3D

model was integrated into a commercial finite element package as a

user defined element through the user subroutine interface. The

structural pipe is discredited as beam elements and the macroelement

model attached as one nodded element. With this integrated

methodology, pipeline analysis problems where the axial, as well as

vertical and horizontal behaviour, can be taken into account.

Calculation examples are carried out to demonstrate the performance of

the model and the application of the integrated program.

KEY WORDS: Pipe-soil interaction; 3D model; macroelement;

user-defined element

NOMENCLATURE

C

= (subscript) conjugate point

D = pipe diameter

D = stiffness matrix

e

= (superscript) elastic

F = bounding surface

f = bubble (yield) surface

g = plastic potential surface

H = horizontal force

h

= (subscript) horizontal

K = hardening (plastic) modulus

K

max

= maximum hardening modulus

k = stiffness

M

= (subscript) centre point of bounding surface

m = aspect ratio of plastic potential surface

N

= (subscript) centre point of bubble surface

p

= (subscript) plastic

q = the ratio of T to V

r = scale ratio of bubble surface to bounding surface

T = axial force

u = horizontal displacement.

V = vertical force

V

0

= size of the bounding surface

v = axial displacement

w = vertical displacement

= expansion coefficient of steel

= shape parameter of bounding surface

= plastic multiplier

= increment

= distance between two force points

max

= maximum distance between two force points

= displacement vector [ ]

T

u w, =

= parameter of the axial stiffness

= gradient of with increasing vertical embedment

= the axial stiffness of q to v

= shape parameter of the bounding surface

' = friction coefficient of the axial force

0

= with zero embedment

t

= shape parameter of plastic potential surface

= parameter of plastic modulus

= force vector [ ]

T

H V, =

v

= vertical stress

= axial stress

Proceedings of the Nineteenth (2009) I nternational Offshore and Polar Engineering Conference

Osaka, J apan, J une 21-26, 2009

Copyright 2009 by The I nternational Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers (I SOPE)

I SBN 978-1-880653-53-1 (Set); I SSN 1098-618

461

INTRODUCTION

Securing long-term energy supplies is vital to the worlds economy and

security. Our ability to realise the full potential of oil and gas reserves

relies on the development of viable platform and subsea pipeline

solutions to safely access and then transport the hydrocarbons. In the

latter, the analysis of interaction between a pipeline and the seabed it is

laid directly on is imperative. Simple empirical models are still widely

used to describe pipe-soil interaction, though it is increasingly

acknowledged that although they can predict the ultimate resistance

they are theoretically simplistic and inadequate in describe the entire

loading history (Cathie et al., 2005). For more thorough analysis of

discrete problems the finite element (FE) method is often utilised. With

complicated contact or interface elements describing the pipe-soil

interaction, long three-dimensional pipeline analyses are not

practicably feasible due to the extreme computation requirement. A

knowledgeable selection of constitutive relationships is also required if

results are to be consistent.

The macroelement approach, as highlighted by Cathie et al. (2005) and

Muir Wood (2004), provides an attractive alternative. Force-resultant

models attempts to relate the displacement of the footing in soil (or

segment of pipe in this case) directly to the resultant forces on it. Using

a plasticity framework the pipeline and the surrounding soil are treated

as a system, or a macroelement, with the entire force-displacement

behaviour encapsulated. Therefore, when incorporated within finite

element program of the pipelines structure analysis, special interface or

contact elements between the pipe and seabed are no longer required.

This significantly reduces computation expense.

Several pipe-soil interaction macroelement models have been

developed (Schotman and Stork 1987; Zhang 2001; Hodder et al. 2008;

Merifield et al. 2008; Randolph and White 2008). All describe coupled

vertical and horizontal force-displacement behaviour (2D behaviour in

V-H space), with plasticity properties derived from centrifuge

experiments, dedicated FE analysis and plasticity limit theory. 3D

models, that also incorporate axial (T) force, in the literature seem to be

limited to uncoupled spring (either elastic or elastoplastic) in V, H and

T.

However, Hededal and Strandgaard (2008) recently presented a fully

coupled 3D model based on existing numerical formulations. It used a

simplistic Coulomb friction model as the yield surface. By setting the

vertical component of the plastic displacement gradient as 1 or 0, the

model is able to use associated flow rule or decouple the vertical and

horizontal strength. The adoption of associated flow rule may be

questionable with the Coulomb friction model because the phenomenon

of vertical embedment due to lateral loading can not be simulated.

Decoupling the vertical and horizontal strength is also problematic

although it can model some circumstances.

This paper also presents a simple 3D pipe-soil model. It couples a 2D

V-H force-resultant model (originally developed by Zhang (2001) and

Zhang et al. (2002b) and recently modified and named the UWAPIPE

model by Tian and Cassidy (2008b)) with axial behaviour simulated as

a non-linear elastic-perfectly plastic spring. The latter couples stiffness

to the vertical resistance by providing a relationship between vertical

and axial load. Although the proposed model does not directly couple

the lateral and axial response, it does allow for combined V-H-T

analysis. In the large displacement analysis, the vertical, horizontal and

axial loads can cause not only displacement in its corresponding

direction but also displacements in the other two directions. Therefore,

this model is capable of predicting the 3D behaviour under

hydrodynamic and thermal loading. It is considered a first step in a

fully couple 3D model, though this would require experimental (or

numerical) investigation of the combined behaviour. Importantly,

however, the model allows more realistic analysis of long pipelines

when subjected to 3D loading, which could occur during the pipeline

and through the pipeline service.

3D PIPE-SOIL MODEL FORMULATION

The sign convention of the load and displacement of the pipe-soil

interactive system is illustrated in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1 Model illustration

Three 2D pipe-soil interaction models with increasing sophistication

were introduced by Zhang (2001) to describe the inter-coupled vertical

and horizontal behaviour (V-H) of pipe-soil interaction. Now named

the UWAPIPE models, in increasing complexity they are a single

surface Elastic-Plastic work-hardening model (Tian and Cassidy

2008a), a Bounding Surface model (Tian and Cassidy 2008c) and a

two-surface Bubble model that incorporates kinematic hardening

(Zhang et al. 2002a). The models are all based on centrifuge

experiments on calcareous sand. This latter bubble model is adopted in

this paper to describe the V-H behaviour. The constitutive model of the

bubble model comprises a bounding surface (written directly in V-H

space), an inner yield or bubble surface, a non-associated flow rule,

isotropic and kinematic hardening laws and an elastic behaviour

definition. The summary of the V-H behaviour illustrated in Fig. 2 and

described mathematically by the following equations (see Zhang 2001;

Tian and Cassidy 2008b for details).

H

bubble surface

plastic potential

V

bounding surface

M

N

max

Fig. 2 Model illustration

(i) Bounding surface

462

( ) 0

0

0

=

+ = V V

V

V

H F (1)

(ii) Yield surface (bubble surface)

( ) 0

2

1

2

1

0

0

=

+

+

=

N

N

N

V V rV

rV

V V

H H f

(2)

(iii) Flow rule

( ) 0

0

0

=

+ = V V

V

V

H H g

m

t N

(3)

(iv) Hardening law

Isotropic hardening of bounding surface

p

vp ve

vp ve

w

k k

k k

V &

&

=

0

(4)

D

w

p

+ =

0

(5)

Kinematic hardening of the bubble surface

( ) ( ) +

+ + =

C M N M N

V

V

&

&

&

& &

0

0

(6)

(v) Elastic behavior

= =

=

e

e

he

ve e e

u

w

k

k

H

V

&

&

&

&

&

&

0

0

D (7)

(vi) Kuhn-Tucker complementary condition

( ) ( ) 0 , , , , 0 , , , , 0

0 0

=

N N

V f V f & & (8)

(vii) Consistency condition

( ) 0 , , ,

0

=

N

V f

&

(9)

The plastic modulus K is interpolated according to relative distance of

current load point to the conjugate load point (see Fig. 2).

( )

+ =

max

max c c

K K K K (10)

As shown in Eq.6, the kinematic hardening law contains three parts: (1)

movement of the bounding surface centre; (2) expansion or contraction

of the bounding surface and (3) drag of the load point. The smooth

translation of the bubble surface and a guarantee that it will never

intersect the bounding surface is provided by the third term of the

kinematic hardening law in Eq.6. This requires the motion of the

bubble to travel toward the bounding surface parallel to the line

connecting the current load and the conjugate point, as depicted in Fig.

3 (Mrz 1967; Mrz et al. 1979; Mrz et al. 1981; Hashiguchi 1988;

Rouainia and Muir Wood 2000). Full details of implementing the V-H

UWAPIPE model are provided in Tian and Cassidy (2008b).

Fig. 3 Bubble motion

Though a simplistic assumption, the axial resistance (T) is reasonably

evaluated as proportional to the vertical force through a friction

coefficient ( ' ) (Cathie et al. 2005).

V T ' = (11)

For use in the proposed model for pipe-soil, it is reasonable to take '

as 0.88 as this is a recommended value for calcareous sands (BS8010

1993; Finch 1999) (remembering that the original UWAPIPE model

was based on centrifuge tests on calcareous sand (Zhang 2001)). The

yield surface of the axial and vertical force is illustrated in Fig. 4.

Combining this with the UWAPIPE surface in V-H space (Eq. 1), the

yield envelope of the 3D model can be developed. A schematic of its

shape is illustrated in Fig.5. This surface implicitly implies that there is

no direct coupling of lateral and axial load. This is not necessarily the

case. However, further testing is required to determine an appropriate

relationship.

V

T

1

'

(V

0

,0)

(0, )

0

'V

Fig. 4 Surface in T-V space

Fig.5 3D yield surface in V-H-T space

For behaviour inside of the bounding surface a relationship between the

axial force (T) and displacement (v) is required (similar to Eq. 7 for V-

463

H). In this simple model it is treated as elastic, perfectly plastic with the

initial elastic response following the non-linear behaviour observed by

Finch (1999). As illustrated in Fig.6, Finch (1999) reported an

experimental curve of

v

/ against axial displacement, where and

v

are the (axial) shear and vertical stress respectively. The

dimensionless ratio

v

/ , denoted here as q, can be directly relate to

the load ratio, as

V

T

q

v

= =

(12)

0.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

-2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

1

v (mm)

0

'

(Fitted curve)

(Finch 1999)

0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

0

400

800

1200

1600

/

v

Fig.6

v

/ versus axial displacement v

Because of the variation in contact area of the pipeline with the seabed

due to the embedment and subsequent heave (Barbosa-Cruz and

Randolph 2005), it is difficult to directly relate T with v. Instead, this

paper uses a nonlinear elastic equation to describe the relationship

between q and v (when q < ' ). For ease of numerical implementation,

the stiffness of q to v (named here) is assumed to decrease from an

initial value

0

to 0.

= =

'

1

0

q

dv

dq

(13)

Using the least square method with the above equation the best-fit to

the data of Finch (1999) are 1513.28 and 0.9 for the parameters of

0

and respectively. This is also shown in Fig. 6.

In summary, the relationship between T and v is simulated as a

nonlinear elastic, perfectly plastic spring. The yield capacity of T is

V ' and the axial stiffness calculated through , which is determined

according to the current load status.

INCORPORATION OF THE 3D MODEL INTO A

STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS FE PROGRAM

The main motivation for incorporating this V-T response with the V-H

model is to allow simulation of long sections of pipeline. With the

model described above, the seabed support to the pipeline can be

simplified as numerous discrete macroelements. This is illustrated in

Fig. 7. It follows the implementation of the UWAPIPE V-H model into

structural finite element program as described in the simple analysis of

pipelines under different spans by Tian and Cassidy (2008b) and in the

analysis of pipelines under 10-Year 3-hr storms by Tian and Cassidy

(2008c). However, in these other analyses no T-V response was

assumed, and this formulation is partly a response to allow for more

accurate modelling of the three-dimensional behaviour.

v

u

w

T

H

V

ep

&

&

&

&

&

&

D

Fig. 7 Supporting of the seabed discretized as footings

In the displacement-driven finite element programs, iteration schemes

are inevitably adopted in nonlinear problems to solve the basic

variables nodal displacement from the governing equations. The

nodal displacements are solved, in incremental form, are then used to

update the stress (force for the macroelement case) and state variables

through the constitutive integration. These two consecutive procedures

continue until the convergence of the equilibrium equations.

For explanation purposes, a Newton-Raphson iteration procedure for a

one-degree-of-freedom nonlinear system is taken as a simple

illustration of the iteration scheme (Fig. 8). The global tangent stiffness

matrix is assembled according to the structural stiffness and

macroelement stiffness provided by the footing module program at time

step

n

t . The displacement increment is accordingly solved, which is

filtered and input into the respective structural and footing modules to

integrate the constitutive laws and update the state variables. This

process is iterated until a proper convergence criterion is met (Chen and

Han 1988; Zienkiewicz and Taylor 2000; Fellin and Ostermann 2002).

The detailed description of the integration process of the macroelement

model can be found in Tian and Cassidy (2008a) and is therefore not

duplicated in this paper. In this paper the macroelements are simulated

as user-defined elements and the constitutive behaviour is written in

FORTRAN90 user subroutine as nodal elements to the structural beam

elements representing the pipe.

) 1 (

1 + n

U

n

) (

1

i

n+

U

1 + n

U

Fig. 8 Iteration scheme

COMPUTATIONAL EXAMPLES

Example 1

464

A numerical computation example has been conducted to explore

pipeline behaviour under thermal loads. A 1245m pipeline with 250

macroelements, all with 5m intervals, is modelled. Pipelines installed

from laying vessels are subjected to a larger vertical loads at the touch-

down area to the seabed during installation than its submerged self-

weight (Cathie et al. 2005; Tian and Cassidy 2008b). The implication

of this to the model is an initial W V >

0

, where

0

V defies the size of the

bounding surface (Eq. 1, Fig 4 and 5) and W is the submerged weight

of the pipeline. In this example, the initial

0

V is taken as twice the self

weight W, (i.e. the load concentration factor during the touch-down of

pipeline laying equals 2). The initial condition of all the 250 macro-

footings is illustrated in Fig. 9 with W=5kN/m and V

0

=2W=10kN/m.

Fig. 9 Illustration of initial condition

During the pipeline service hot hydrocarbons tend to heat up the pipe

and lead to an expansion. As hot fluids enter the cold pipeline, heat is

lost to the surrounding seawater and the fluids cools (Carr et al. 2003).

It takes about 2 hours to fully develop the steady temperature until hot

fluid is discharged at the far end. The temperature profile used in this

computational example is plotted in Fig. 10. The initial ambient

temperature is taken as 4C and the hot fluids heats the pipeline to

130C at the near end. After some time (step 37 in Fig. 10), the whole

pipeline has been heated up. Due to the heat loss, the far end of the

pipeline reaches 120C.

Fig. 10 Temperature profile

The computation parameters are listed in Table 1 (with the meaning of

all parameters given in the nomenclature).

The axial force of the pipeline during the heat loading process is shown

in Fig. 11. Negative values imply compressive axial force of the

pipeline. As the temperature advances along the pipeline, the axial

force is building up until a virtual anchor is formed close to the pipeline

centre (Carr et al. 2003).

Table 1 computational parameter

Parameter Dimension Value Unit

D L 1.0 m

E F/L

2

2.110

11

Pa

k

he

F/L

2

/L 10000 kPa/m

k

ve

F/L

2

/L 10000 kPa/m

k

vp

F/L

2

/L 500 kPa/m

m - 0.18 -

r - 0.2 -

t L 0.03 m

W F/L 5 kN/m

L/T 1.410

-5

m/C

- 0.06 -

- 0.9 -

- 0.65 -

0

L

-1

1513.28 1/m

0

- 0.4 -

t

- 0.6 -

' - 0.88 -

- 0.3 -

- 2.0 -

0 250 500 750 1000 1250

0

-500

-1000

-1500

-2000

-2500

-3000

19 -

18

17

16

15

14

13

12

11

10

9

8

6

7

5

3

4

2

1

A

x

i

a

l

F

o

r

c

e

(

k

N

)

Distance (m)

0

Virtual Anchor

Fig. 11 Axial force

As illustrated in Fig. 12, the axial displacement of the pipeline

increases as the temperature transits from the close end to the far end.

The pipeline extends toward the directions of the two ends, except in

the middle of the pipeline where a virtual anchor develops.

465

0 250 500 750 1000 1250

-1.2

-1.0

-0.8

-0.6

-0.4

-0.2

0.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

1.2

Heating up

Heating up

A

x

i

a

l

d

i

s

p

l

a

c

e

m

e

n

t

(

m

)

Distance (m)

Virtual Anchor

Fig. 12 Axial displacement

The axial displacement versus temperature of some nodes along the

pipeline is plotted in Fig. 13. The pipeline expands with the increasing

temperature. The two ends extend by about 1 m while the middle of the

pipe almost remains at the original position.

0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140

-1.0

-0.8

-0.6

-0.4

-0.2

0.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

Hot end

Node250

240

230

220

210

200

190

180

170

160

150

140

130

120

110

100

90

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

A

x

i

a

l

D

i

s

p

l

a

c

e

m

e

n

t

(

m

)

Temperature (

o

C)

Node1

Cold end

Fig. 13 Axial displacement vs. temperature

Fig. 14 depicts the relationship between axial forces and temperature of

all pipe elements. From this figure, we can see the axial forces

accumulate until the soil underneath has no more frictional capacity.

The axial force in the middle part of the pipeline is much larger than at

both ends, which have released the compression by axial movement.

0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140

-2800

-2400

-2000

-1600

-1200

-800

-400

0

Cold end

Middle

A

x

i

a

l

F

o

r

c

e

(

k

N

)

Temperature (

o

C)

Element249

240

230

220

210

200

190

180

170

160

150

140

130

120

110

100

90

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

Element1

Hot end

Fig. 14 Axial force vs. temperature

Example 2

Although there in no direct coupling of H and T in the current 3D

model (only through changes in V), horizontal loads cause axial

displacement and accordingly axial resistance. This example shows the

influence of axial soil resistance on the horizontal and vertical

behaviour. A 500m pipeline with 101 macroelements at 5m intervals

was modelled. The initial condition and calculation parameters are the

same as those in Example 1 (see Fig. 9 and Table 1). However, in this

example a point horizontal load (560 kN) was gradually exerted at

the middle node of the pipeline. Two computational cases were

analysed; one using the 2D model (V-H model) and the other using the

3D model described in this paper.

The final configuration of the pipeline, in all vertical, axial and

horizontal directions, is shown in Fig. 15, which suggests that the 2D

model (effectively setting the axial stiffness as zero) reports larger

displacements than the 3D model. The maximum horizontal

displacement at the middle of the pipeline of 2D model is about 1.4 that

of the 3D model. The horizontal force H of the macroelements is

illustrated in Fig. 16. The peak horizontal resistance of the UWAPIPE

macroemelents (at the pipe centre) was recorded to be higher in the 2D

analysis. This is because the pipe was required to penetrate further

(larger w in Fig. 15), thus expanding the bounding surface. The H of

the macroelement at the middle of the pipeline is about 1.43 times that

of the 3D model. Therefore, considering axial behaviour (i.e. including

the axial stiffness and resistance) reduces the horizontal displacement

and (peak) forces considerably. Neglecting the axial behaviour may

result in over estimate of the displacement and a conservative design.

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

-0.5

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

-0.06

-0.03

0.00

0.03

0.06

0.09

0.06

0.03

0.00

0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500

3D model

2D model

u

(

m

)

Node

3D model

2D model

v

(

m

)

3D model

Distance (m)

w

(

m

)

2D model

Fig. 15 Configuration

466

0 20 40 60 80 100

-15

-10

-5

0

5

10

15

20

25

0 100 200 300 400 500

3D model

Distance (m)

H

(

k

N

)

Node

2D model

Fig. 16 H of all macroelements

CONCLUSION

This paper presents a simple extension to the force-resultant modelling

of pipes to allow for three-dimensional pipe-soil behaviour. The two-

dimensional V-H relationship is based on the force-resultant model

developed from centrifuge tests (Zhang 2001) and the V-T relationship

on Coulomb friction behaviour (Finch 1999). The friction coefficient of

the axial force ' is highly depended on the nature of the soils. In this

paper, ' is taken as 0.88 as the V-H model was developed for the

calcareous sand. However, the value should be chosen with caution. As

a simple extension to the 2D model, there is no direct coupling between

the behaviour of H and T. However, it provides a framework for further

developments, including fully coupled V-H-T behaviour. The model

has also been shown to be easily incorporated into structural finite

elements analyses.

The first computational example was shown to simulate the behaviour

of a pipeline shallowly embedded on the seabed during the heating up

process. The temperature profile is taken only for explanatory purpose

and may vary remarkably between different oil and gas fields. Precise

temperature description should be accordingly adopted for a specific

place. The second was to the influence of the axial behaviour on the

other two directions behaviour. The 3D pipe-soil interaction model has

the potential to investigate three dimensional problems, such as non-

coherent storm loading, walking, buckling and pipe-laying.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The 2D pipe-soil model used in this paper is based on the PhD thesis of

Dr. Jianguo Zhang. The authors thank him for his discussion, help and

encouragement. The constructive suggestion and references provided

by Prof. Dave White are also appreciated. This research is being

undertaken within the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship Cluster on

Subsea Pipelines with funding from the CSIRO Flagship Collaboration

Fund.

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large penetration of a cylindrical object at shallow embedment."

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BS8010 (1993). "Code of Practice for Pipelines. Part3. Pipelines

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Carr, M, Bruton, D, and Leslie, D (2003). "Lateral buckling and

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Hededal, O, and Strandgaard, T (2008). "A 3D elasto-plastic spring

element for pipe-soil interaction analysis." Offshore Pipeline

Technology Conference, Amsterdam.

Hodder, MS, Cassidy, MJ, and Barrett, D (2008). "Undrained response

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