On the arresting efficiency of spiral buckle arrestors for offshore pipelines



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Buckle arrestors are devices placed along an offshore pipeline for the purpose of arresting an incoming propagating buckle. Typically, buckle arrestors locally increase the pipe’s bending rigidity in the hoop direction. Spiral buckle arrestors are rods closely wound around the pipe for a number of turns and then welded at the ends to secure it in place. Spiral buckle arrestor have some key advantages to other designs in that they provide limited resistance to axial bending of the pipeline, and they can be wound on a continuous line away from free ends. This thesis uses a combination of experiments and modeling to study the effectiveness of spiral buckle arrestors.

A series of experiments are conducted using 1.25-inch diameter SS-304 tubes with diameter-to-thickness ratios of 19 and 25. Stainless steel rods of four diameters are wound on tubes for a chosen number of turns and secured in place. A propagating buckle is subsequently initiated in the tube, engages the arrestor quasi-statically, is temporarily arrested, and eventually crosses the arrestor at a pressure defined as the crossover pressure. The crossover pressure was found to depend on the tube D/t and mechanical properties; and the rod diameter, number of turns, and mechanical properties.

Finite element models are developed that enable the simulation of rod winding, buckle propagation, and buckle crossover. Local collapse is induced by external pressure and is propagated quasi-statically until it engages the arrestor. The pressure is increased until the buckle crosses the arrestor. The model is shown to reproduce the experimental observations and a large number of the measured crossover pressures with sufficient accuracy. Additional simulations were performed varying the rod diameter, numbers of turns, and tube D/t in order to enrich the database developed. This database was subsequently used to develop an empirical design formula for the arresting efficiency based on key nondimensional parameters of the problem. As was the case for the slip-on buckle arrestor, the arresting efficiency is bounded by the confined propagation pressure of the pipe.