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Experimental Set-Up for Analysis of Subsea Equipment Installation

ABSTRACT

This paper and the companion paper (Rateiro et al., 2011) present an illustrative case of the joint application of experimental tests and numerical simulations for the proper analysis of a complex offshore operation (launching of a sub-sea equipment using one or two vessels). The main idea of the whole study is to compare two methodologies and operational procedures for the installation of the equipment in the seabed, using either one vessel (conventional operation) or two vessels in a synchronized operation in a Y-configuration. The experiment was conducted under a simplified configuration, and uses ODF (one degree of freedom) servo-actuator to emulate the vessels induced motion. The hydrodynamic properties of the equipment was then calculated, and some preliminary conclusions about system dynamics could also be drawn. After that, numerical simulations were conducted, considering the coupled dynamics of the vessels, cables and equipments under irregular sea state. Those simulations were used for determining the limiting environmental condition for a safe operation, and are described in the companion paper. This paper describes the reduced scale experimental setup used for evaluating the hydrodynamic properties of the equipment during a subsea installation under waves excitation. The reduced scale model of the equipment was attached to one or two servo-actuator, that emulate the wave-induced motion. The tests were conducted at the physical wave basin of Numerical Offshore Tank (Tanque de Provas Numérico – TPN). The experiments enabled the preliminary evaluation of the dynamic behavior of the equipment when submerged by one or two launching cables. In the later case (two launching cables), several tests considering phase shifts between the servo-actuator have been conducted. The reduction in the dynamic amplification of cable traction could also be experimentally verified.

Paper. OMAE2011-49946, pp. 763-772.  Link