An accurate and computationally efficient small-scale nonlinear FEA of flexible risers


This paper presents a highly efficient small-scale, detailed finite-element modelling method for flexible risers which can be effectively implemented in a fully-nested (FE2) multiscale analysis based on computational homogenisation. By exploiting cyclic symmetry and applying periodic boundary conditions, only a small fraction of a flexible pipe is used for a detailed nonlinear finite-element analysis at the small scale. In this model, using three-dimensional elements, all layer components are individually modelled and a surface-to-surface frictional contact model is used to simulate their interaction. The approach is applied on a 5-layered pipe made of inner, outer and intermediate polymer layers and two intermediate armour layers, each made of 40 steel tendons. The capability of the method in capturing the detailed nonlinear effects and the great advantage in terms of significant CPU time saving are demonstrated by comparing the results obtained on elements of pipe of different lengths, equal to one pitch length LpLp as well as Lp/5Lp/5, Lp/20Lp/20 and Lp/40Lp/40.


  • Flexible risers;
  • Frictional contact;
  • Periodic boundary condition;
  • FE modelling

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