Current design practice limits the concrete strain to approximately 0.2% in a simplified design criterion. In most standard cases, this has proved to be safe and adequate. However, in recent years, the pipeline industry is extending into more remote, harsher environments and larger diameter pipelines. The use of the simplified design criterion has, in some circumstances, resulted in too strict installation requirements which limit the number of relevant installation vessels.

This paper presents some findings on the concrete strain for submarine pipelines with concrete weight coating (CWC) derived from the numerical program performed within the scope of Phase 1 of the joint industry project “Design of concrete coating for submarine pipelines”.

Non-linearities in the concrete weight coating, anti-corrosion coating (ACC) and steel material properties, as well as large deformation and the sequence of load application were included in the numerical model. The results from the numerical analyses have been well validated against existing experimental data, and the numerical model was subsequently used in an extensive parametric study, where the behaviour of concrete coated pipelines was investigated for monotonic and reversed bending with nominal strain up to 0.4%.

These numerical results can be used to widen the applicable range of the simplified concrete crushing criterion in DNVGL-ST-F101 (2017), and to formulate a rational approach for the design of pipeline concrete weight coating under typical installation and operation conditions. The rational design approach will allow for a wider range of installation vessels to select from for installation of the pipeline, and relaxation of the installation weather window criterion.

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