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LATERAL BUCKLING OF SUBSEA PIPELINES:

COMPARlSON BETWEEN DESIGN All?) OPERATION

D. KAYE
Andrew Palmer and Associates, a Division of SAIC Limited
13 Bon Accord Square
Aberdeen AB 11 6DJ
United Kingdom

ABSTRACT

A model to predict the lateral buckling behaviour of hot pipelines exposed on the seabed
is described. Lateral buckling design predictions are compared against the observed
movement of an operational pipeline. The implications for the design and construction of
high temperature pipelines are discussed.

INTRODUCTION

A subsea pipeline which operates at temperatures and pressures above seabed ambient
conditions will tend to expand. If this expansion is restrained, for example by axial
fiiction between the pipeline and the seabed, then an axial force will be developed in the
pipeline. This force may be large enough to induce Euler (bar) buckling of the pipeline.

Many subsea pipelines need to be trenched or buried to provide physical protection


against seabed objects such as trawl gear. Large axial forces will cause a buried pipeline
to buckle upwards through the overburden and will cause a trenched pipeline to buckle
up the side wall of the trench. In both cases the pipeline may become exposed and at risk
from impact. This upheaval buckling problem has been studied in detail and design
techniques have been developed to ensure against it"].

Some subsea pipelines are laid directly on the seabed. Large axial forces will generally
cause an exposed pipeline to buckle sideways, or laterally, on the seabed. Lateral
buckling of an exposed pipeline does not affect the risk of impact of the pipeline and has
less severe consequences than upheaval buckling. Lateral buckling has therefore

ASPECT '96 p 155-174


0 1 9 6 6 Soc~etyfor Underwater Technology Pr~ntedIn the UK
156 D KAYE

received rather less attention from pipeline designers. However lateral buckling may still
be a problem if the bending deflections induced in the pipeline exceed design criteria and
subsequently threaten the integrity of the pipeline.

A number of buckles have been observed in operational pipelines in the North Sea. The
better known cases are due to upheaval buckling but there are a number of other cases
where lateral buckles have been observed. These buckles provide valuable data which
can be fed back into the design process, and which allow the validity and accuracy of
pipeline design techniques to be assessed.

This paper addresses lateral buckling and compares the predictions of a design model
against the observed lateral movement of the Total Alwyn North Extension flowlines. In
particular, the paper addresses the formation and development of a number of buckles
within a pipeline, and discusses the effect of pipeline out-of-straightness on buckle
formation and development. The implications for pipeline design and installation are
discussed.

LATERAL BUCKLING

Theoretical Buckling Analysis

A hot pipeline exposed on the seabed could buckle upwards, sideways or at an angle to
the seabed. The actual direction of movement will depend on the resistance against
movement and on any out-of-straightness of the pipeline. Typical lateral fiiction
coefficients are less than one, and so the uniformly distributed soil resistance against
lateral movement is less than the resistance against upwards movement provided by the
submerged weight of the pipeline. Assuming that the pipeline has no severe component
of out-of-straightness in the vertical plane, then a pipeline laid directly onto the seabed
without cover will buckle sideways on the seabed rather than upwards.

A pipeline on the seabed can displace to either side of its original position. The pipeline
can buckle into either a symmetric or asymmetric mode, where the symmetry is referred
to an axis drawn through the centre of the buckle and perpendicular to the original centre-
line of the pipeline. The symmetric and asymmetric modes are illustrated in Figure 1. In
the symmetric mode a large main half-wave forms at the centre of the buckle, while in
the asymmetric mode two main half-waves form on either side of the centre of the
buckle. The actual mode which will be adopted by the pipeline will depend on the
pipeline out-of-straightness in the horizontal plane, and on any other seabed features
which could influence the lateral movement of the pipeline.
LATERAL BUCKLING O F SUBSEA PIPELINES, DESIGN/OPERATION

The asymmetric and symmetric modes consist of one or two central half-waves
surrounded by a decaying sequence of half-waves moving away from the centre of the
buckle. The sequence of half-waves arises because the distributed soil resistance forces
cannot provide the concentrated lateral forces at the ends of each half-wave which are
required for equilibrium. The amplitude of each hdf-wave decreases rapidly with
increasing distance from the centre of the buckle.

Figure 1 Symmetric and Asymmetric Buckle Modes

The total length of pipe over the half-waves of the buckle is greater than the length of the
initially straight pipe over the same section. The formation of a buckle therefore involves
the movement of pipe into the buckle from the straight pipeline on either side of the
buckle, and leads to a modification of the axial force within the pipeline. The axial feed-
in movement for a single, isolated buckle in an infinitely long pipeline is illustrated in
Figure 2.

PLAN VIEW
OF PIPELINE
FEEDIN ZONE BUCKLE FEEDIN ZONE
C
, - - - -
, I
- - - - ,
1 ,

EFFECTIVE ,
I

I
I
I
I
AXIAL FORCE 8 ,

Figure 2 Feed-In to a Single Buckle in an Infinite Pipeline


Theoretical interest in lateral buckling was originally driven by the problem of
continuously welded railway tracks under thermal e ~ ~ a n s i o n [ ~More
' ~ ] . recently the
theory has been applied to subsea pipelinest441. Further numerical work has also been
The "classical" theoretical analysisof lateral buckling considers the
relatively simplified situation of an isolated lateral buckle in an infinitely long pipeline.
The analysis is applicable to small elastic deflections only, neglects second-order effects
due to large displacements or plasticity, and assumes that the axial force in the pipeline
remains constant throughout the buckled section.

The theoretical analysis determines the final configuration of the buckle fiom the
equilibrium of the buckle and the compatibility requirement that the increase in arc
length around the buckle must be equal to the axial feed-in from the straight pipeline
outside the buckle. The buckle is considered as a sequence of half-waves. The
complexity of the analysis increases rapidly with the number of half- waves which are
considered. Fortunately the rapid decay in the amplitude of each half-wave means that it
is usually only necessary to consider a few half-waves nearest to the centre of the buckle.
The literature uses a buckle mode number to describe the number of half-waves which
are considered by the analysis. These mode shapes are illustrated in Figure 3, where the
definition of buckle length L is the same as used by ~ o b b s l ~All
] . of the idealised modes
in Figure 3 assume some form of concentrated lateral force at the end of the outermost
half-waves for equilibrium. The error introduced by this assumption is greatest for
mode 1 (which is the same mode as an upheaval buckle) but becomes insignificant for
higher modes.

Mode 1

L buckle lenoth
as defined by iiobbs

Mode 3
L

Mode 4

Figure 3 Theoretical Buckle Modes


LATERAL BUCKLING OF SUBSEA PIPELINES, DESIGN/OPERATION 159

The results of the theoretical analysis are summarised below. For a thin-walled pipeline
which is fully constrained from axial or lateral movement, the effective axial force in the
pipeline (which includes the contribution due to the internal pressure'91)is given by

where D is the pipe diameter, r is the wall thickness, Ap is the pressure difference
between the internal and ambient seawater pressures, and AT is the temperature
difference between the operating and installation temperatures. The configuration of the
buckle can be determined by solving the following expression for buckle length L,

where P is the compressive effective axial force within the buckle, given by

The maximum amplitude of the buckle can then be determined from

and the maximum bending moment is given by

In these equations p is the axial coefficient of friction, p~ is the lateral coefficient of


friction, W is the submerged weight of the pipeline, A is the cross-sectional steel area, E
is the Young's modulus, and I is the second moment of area. The five constants k,,
k,, ....kj are dependent on the particular mode of buckling. These constants are
reproduced below, taken from Hobbs and ~ i a n ~ ' " .

-
Table 1 Lateral Buckling Constants
160 D KAYE

Typical results of the analysis are shown in Figure 4 which shows the fully constrained
axial force in the pipeline Poas a function of the buckle length L. The figure shows a
U-shaped curve which describes the equilibrium axial force for a range of different
buckle lengths. The actual equilibrium solution can be obtained by a graphical or
iterative process which determines the appropriate value of buckle length L for the fully
constrained axial force Po.The minimum of the curve corresponds to the lowest value of
Po at which a buckle is stable; this is the "safe" force which defines the maximum
theoretical force which can be withstood without risk of buckling.

IATERAL BUCKLING ANALYSIS

Figure 4 Results of Lateral Buckling Analysis

The analysis described above considers the single lateral buckle in an infinite pipeline
shown in Figure 2. It is useful to express the axial feed-in to the buckle separately, which
then allows the analysis to be extended to other pipeline configurations. This is
discussed later in this paper.

For the single buckle in a fully constrained pipeline, the axial feed-in on either side of the
buckle is equal to the integrated axial strains in the pipeline within each feed-in zone.
For the case in Figure 2 where the fully constrained axial force is constant along the
pipeline, the axial feed-in on either side of the buckle is equal to
LATERAL BUCKLING O F SUBSEA PIPELINES, DESIGN/OPERATION

Compatibility of displacements requires that this feed-in from outside h e buckle must be
equal to the increase in the length of pipe inside the buckle. The increase in the pipe
length inside the buckle, 2 4 is equal to

where the first term describes the increase in length along the displaced axis of the
pipeline, and the second term describes the tensile elongation of the pipeline due to the
reduced compressive force within the buckle. The feed-in A can be eliminated from
equations 6 and 7 to give equation 2.

Pipeline Out-of-Straightness

The theoretical analysis discussed above is based on a perfectly straight pipeline. The
situation is more complex for a real pipeline which contains out-of-straightness
imperfections in the plane of the seabed. In particular, out-of-straightness has a
significant effect on the critical force at which buckling first occurs.

The effect of out-of-straightness is illustrated in Figure 5, which shows the axial force in
the pipeline Poplotted as a function of the buckle amplitude j . The plot is similar to
Figure 4 and shows a U-shaped curve which describes the equilibrium configuration
defined by the theoretical analysis.

Figure 5 also shows two typical curves which illustrate the behaviour of a pipeline with
initial out-of-straightness.

The first curve describes the behaviour of a pipeline with a small initial out-of-
straightness imperfection. The axial force in the pipeline increases as the pipeline heats
up from cold. Very little, if any, movement occurs as the axial force increases, and the
equilibrium path in the figure moves upwards. The force-amplitude path passes to the.
left hand side of the theoretical equilibrium curve as the axial force passes the theoretical
"safe" axial force. The force will increase up to the critical buckling force. At this
bihcation point the lateral deflection suddenly increases rapidly ("snap" buckling) and
the force-amplitude path moves over to the right hand side of the figure. A further
increase in axial force will be accompanied by further stable (post-buckling) movement
upwards on the right hand side of the theoretical equilibrium curve. The force-amplitude
path shows that the pipeline may be able to withstand a much greater axial force than the
theoretical safe force before the onset of buckling. The exact critical force at the onset of
buckling will depend on the magnitude of the initial imperfection.
D KAYE

Figure 5 Out-of-Straightness

The second curve in Figure 5 describes the behaviour of a pipeline with a much larger
initial imperfection. In this case the lateral deflection of the pipeline increases steadily as
the pipeline heats up. There is no bifurcation point and the pipeline continues to deflect
to the right hand side of the theoretical equilibrium curve.

In the majority of cases a pipeline will be laid with relatively small imperfections, and the
behaviour of the pipeline will resemble the first curve in Figure 5. The figure shows that
it is relatively straightforward to define the "safe" force below which buckling will not
occur, but it is difficult to define the actual critical force at the onset of buckling.
Analyses show that the critical force is sensitive to the magnitude of the out-of-
straightness.

This difficulty in predicting the actual buckling force is important. In general the soil
resistance against lateral buckling for an exposed pipeline is much less than the
overburden resistance against upheaval buckling deflections for a buried pipeline, and it
is often impractical to design an exposed pipeline to avoid lateral buckling. The pipeline
designer may therefore allow lateral buckling to occur, on the basis that controlled lateral
deflections may not threaten the integrity of the pipeline. Controlled movement may
even be beneficial for other reasons because it can provide a relaxation of the axial force
in the pipeline. In order to ensure controlled behaviour, the designer must therefore be
able to predict the actual buckling force. The actual buckling force, and therefore the
pipeline out-of-straightness, is of critical importance in developing acceptable pipeline
designs.
LATERAL BUCKLING OF SUBSEA PIPELINES. DESIGN/OPERATION

Sequential Buckle Formation

The analysis described above describes the formation of a single buckle in a fully
constrained infinitely long pipeline. This rarely occurs in practice; the effective axial
force in a hot exposed pipeline is often si_enificanttylarger than the critical buckling force
so that buckling may occur over much of the pipeline length. This suggests that the
process of buckle formation may be more complex than described by the conventional
lateral buckling model. For example, buckle formation will be influenced by non-
uniform heating of the pipeline from the hot end and by interaction between adjacent
buckles. This behaviour can be considered by a more sophisticated lateral buckling
model which considers the sequential formation and development of multiple buckles in
a pipeline. The model can also be used to address buckle formation in a short pipeline
where the buckle feed-in zones interact nith the expansion zones at each end of the
pipeline.

The same theoretical buckling analysis presented earlier in this paper can be used to
describe more complex buckle behaviour, but where equation 6 is replaced with more
complex and realistic expressions for the feed-in of straight pipeline. These feed-in
expressions model the history of buckle formation and development as the pipeline heats
up from the inlet end.

The typical process of buckle formation and development is illustrated in Figures 6 to 9.


The figures show the effective axial force profiles in a relatively short pipeline. The
figures can be compared against Figure 2 for a single buckle in an infinite pipeline.

AXIAL FORCE PROFILES: Heafing of Pipelina

Length

(....... FJty Corsaalned Force -Expans~onLimt 1

Figure 6 Axial Force Profiles


164 D KAYE

Figwe 6 shows a sequence of fully constrained axial force profiles as the pipeline is
pressurised and then heats up fiom the hot end. The exact form of these profiles can be
determined by a transient hydraulic analysis, but is here assumed to fol.10~a family of
exponential decay curves describing the drop in temperature fiom the inlet end, where the
decay constant decreases as the pipeline heats up. The fully constrained axial force is the
maximum axial force which can exist in the pipeline. The actual axial force at each end
of the pipeline is less than this fully constrained axial force due to end expansion. The
actual effective axial force must therefore remain within the triangular "envelope" shown
in Figure 6 , where the slope of the axial force in the end expansion zones is equal to the
axial fiction coefficient multiplied by the submerged weight of the pipeline.

The greatest axial force in the pipeline occws at the anchor point at the end of the inlet
expansion zone where the pipeline first becomes fully constrained. As the pipeline heats
up this anchor point moves inwards away fiom the pipeline inlet and the effective axial
force at the anchor point increases. The first buckle will form when the axial force in the
pipeline rises above the critical buckling load in the pipeline. This critical buckling load
depends on the pipeline out-of-straightness; provided that the typical out-of-straightness
features are uniform in size and are distributed regularly along the pipeline, then the first
buckle will form at the inlet anchor point where the axial force is greatest.

AXIAL FORCE PROFILE: Formedon of FirscBuckle

a I ,
I a<
4 FM.L AXYL COffiTRN A m R BUCKLffi I

Length
1. .- - .. Before Buclde Formaoon A f t e r Buckle Forrnaoon 1

Figure 7 Formation of First Buckle

Figwe 7 shows the axial force profile following the formation of the first buckle. The
formation of the buckle causes the pipeline to feed-in towards the buckle and a reduction
in the compressive axial force at the buckle. The feed-in zone on the left hand side of the
buckle extends from the buckle to the end of the expansion zone at point 1. The feed-in
LATERAL BUCKLING O F SUBSEA PIPELINES, DESIGN/OPERATION 165

zone on the right of the buckle extends from the buckle up to the start of the fully
constrained pipeline section at point 2. Point 2 is a true anchor point, where the pipeline
has zero axial strain and is stationary. In contrast, the pipeline at point 1 has non-zero
strain, and has also moved outwards towards the inlet because of pipeline end expansion
prior to the formation of the buckle.

The critical buckling force can be determined from equation 7 where the total feed-in 26
is given by the general expression

where the two inte_mtions on the right hand side correspond to the integrated axial
strains over the left and right hand feed-in zones, z, is the outwards movement of point 1
towards the pipeline inlet, and z2 (which is here equal to zero) is the outwards movement
of point 2 away from the pipeline inlet.

AXIAL FORCE PROFILE: Formation of Second Buckle

kI FULL AXIAL CONSTRAINT BEFORE BUCKLING


4 k

Length
...--.Before Buckle Formstion -After Buckle Format~on1

Figure 8 Formation of Second Buckle

This first buckle, denoted buckle A, grows as the pipeline heats up further. The axial
force in buckle A drops as the buckle increases in size, and the feed-in zones increase in
length as points 1 and 2 both move outwards away from the buckle. As the pipeline heats
up further the axial force at point 2 increases. Again, provided that the pipeline out-of-
straightness does not vary significantly along the pipeline, then the second buckle will
form at this location once the axial force rises above the critical buckling load. The
formation of this second buckle (buckle B in Figure 8) is similar to the formation of
buckle A. The feed-in zone on the right hand side of the buckle B extends from the
166 D KAYE

buckle up to the true anchor point at the start of the fully constrained section. The feed-in
zone on the left hand side of buckle B extends from buckle B back to the intersection
with the feed-in zone on the right hand side of buckle A. The boundary condition at this
point is similar to the boundary condition at point I , i.e. the pipeline has non-zero strain
at this point, and has also moved outwards (towards the pipeline inlet) because of
pipeline expansion into buckle A.

AXIAL FORCE PROFILE: Final Configuration

Length

Actual Ax~alForce ----- Fullv Constra~nedA x ~ a lForce I

Figure 9 Final Axial Force Profile

The boundary conditions for the feed-in zones for bucklei A and B are therefore similar
in form. The pattern of buckle formation and development is also the same for the
formation and development of any subsequent buckles. The same process of buckle
formation therefore repeats along the pipeline as the pipeline heats up. The process
continues up to the outlet of the pipeline, at which stage the model must consider the
interaction between the feed-in to the final buckle and the outlet expansion zone. The
final force profile is shown in Figure 9. The figure shows that the actual effective axial
force in the pipeline is substantially less than the fully constrained force. The process of
buckling has allowed a relaxation of the force in the pipeline due to the outwards
movement at the location of each buckle. This relaxation may be particularly beneficial
for very high temperature pipelines.

The model therefore tracks the formation and development of existing and new buckles
with the heating of the pipeline. One feed-in expression similar to equation 8 is required
for each buckle in the pipeline. The size of these buckles is determined fiom an iterative
solution to these expressions. At each stage the analysis tests for the formation of the
next new buckle by looking for a solution of equations 7 and 8.
LATERAL BUCKLING O F SUBSEA PIPELINES: DESIGN/OPERATION 167

The analysis is too laborious to perform manually, but is straightfoxward to run using an
iterative PC-based program.

TOTAL ANE FLOWLINES

The Total Alwyn North Extension (ANE) consists of three subsea wellheads located in a
cluster approximately 5.4 km south of the Alwyn North NAA and NAB platforms. The
wells are tied back to the NAA platform via three 6-inch by 15.9 mm wall thickness
flowlines, and a single composite control umbilical. The flowlines export multiphase
well head fluids at temperatures of around 80 "C and pressures of around 150 bar.

The soils in the Alwyn North area are composed of a sandy layer overlying hard clay and
have proven to be dificult for trenching. The ANE flowlines are laid directly onto the
seabed. Annual inspections of the flowlines have identified lateral movement of the
flowlines in a traditional "lateral buckling" mechanism. Operational data at the time of
the survey are available which describe the inlet and platform anival pressures,
temperatures and fluid properties, and can be used to estimate the effective axial force
profiles along the flowlines. The flowlines therefore provide a valuable opportunity to
assess the predictions of the lateral buckling model.

It should be noted that engineering analysis of these features has demonstrated that the
stresses within each feature remain below yield and within design criteria.

The assessment described below is based on the 1993 and 1994 side-scan surveys of the
ANE PSW3 flowline from the E2 wellhead. The two surveys of the PSW3 flowline both
reported three areas of lateral movement towards the inlet end of the flowline, at KP 4.5,
KP 3.8 and KP 3.2 (where the inlet of the flowline is at KP 5.4). The features &e shown
in Figure 10. The survey data exhibit some scatter but the overall shape of each feature
can be clearly identified. The features at KP 4.5 and KP 3.2 are both asymmetric buckles
which follow the classical mode 2 or 4 shapes. The feature at KP 3.8 does not follow a
classical mode shape so clearly; the 1993 survey data suggest a symmetrical mode 3
shape while the 1994 survey data suggest a more asymmetric mode 2 or 4 shape.
KP 3.2
3

-z
EE
f 0
$ 3 0
-1
f
2 -2

-3
KP Iml

Figure 10 Lateral Movement of ANE Flowlines


LATERAL BUCKLING OF SUBSEA PIPELINES, DESIGN/OPERATION 169

The observed behaviour of the flowline can be compared against the predictions from the
design model. As discussed above, the behaviour of the pipeline during operation
depends on the initial out-of-straightness in the plane of the seabed. No information is
available describing the out-of-straightness of the ANE flowlines. The design calculation
has therefore been performed by assuming that the pipeline is straight except for
imperfections at the location of each feature only, and that the out-of-straightness at each
feature is such that the pipeline remains straight up to the point that the maximum force
in the pipeline (which occurs at the hot anchor point shown in Figures 7 and 8) reaches
the imperfection. The analysis assumes that snap buckling then occurs, and each buckle
subsequently develops as predicted by the theoretical analysis.

The results of the comparison are presented in Figures 11 and 12. The plots show the
actual pipeline configuration and the predicted configuration from the lateral buckling
analysis. The buckle mode shapes and the axial and lateral friction coefficients have
been chosen to give the best match to the observed buckle configurations. The figures
show that the agreement between the design model and observation is reasonable. The
model predicts the buckle wavelength well but is less reliable when predicting the buckle
amplitude.

The discrepancies between the predicted and observed behaviour may be due to the
unknown out-of-straightness of the pipeline. The discrepancy may also arise because of
variability in the axial and lateral soil forces. For example, the lateral soil force may
increase as the pipe displaces sideways and pushes spoil ahead of it. Spoil mounds have
been observed during surveys of the ANE flowlines, which may increase the lateral
resistance and limit the maximum amplitude of the feature. The axial soil force may also
vary with displacement, which would modify the linear axial force profiles assumed in
the analysis. Also, soil conditions and forces may vary with location. The agreement
between the predicted and observed configurations can be improved substantially by
choosing different friction coefficients for each feature.

The axial and lateral friction coefficients used in Figures 11 and 12 are equal to 0.8 and
0.6 respectively. These values were found to give the best match to the observed
behaviour. The analysis was performed using an approximate trial and error method, but
it should be noted that the predicted buckle profiles are relatively insensitive to
reasonable combinations of fiction coefficients. The lateral fiction coefficient of 0.6 is
reasonable for a pipeline on seabed of a thin layer of sand overlying firm clay. The axial
fiction coefficient of 0.8 is rather higher than perhaps could be expected, but is still
consistent with other measurements'Io1and design practicet111.The high value may
reflect partial embedment or burial of the flowlines in some limited areas, or may reflect
small amounts of out-of-straightness which will allow axial compression to be taken up
by modest amounts of lateral displacement.
D KAYE

3 -

--
E 2 --

3760 3780 3840


s
a
-1 --

-2
KP Iml

KP Iml

Figure 11 Predicted and Actual Movement, 1993 Survey Data


LATERAL BUCKLING O F SUBSEA PIPELINES, DESIGN/OPERATION

Figure 12 Predicted and Actual Movement, 1994 Survey Data


172 D KAYE

Finally, it is informative to compare the predictions fiom the-new buckling model against
the predictions fiom the conventional lateral buckling model for an isolated buckle in an
infinitely long, fully constrained pipeline. Figure 13 shows the comparison for the
second buckle, at KP 3.8, using the same friction coeficients of 0.8 and 0.6 and using the
fully constrained axial force at the location of the feature. The analysis for the single
buckle predicts a substantially larger buckle than the more refined buckling model
proposed here. The isolated buckle analysis is clearly conservative, but may be
unacceptably conservative for pipeline designs where lateral buckling is critical.

-Survey date - ---- Mult~plebuckle model -S~nglebuckle model

Figure 13 Predictions of Single Buckle Model

DISCUSSION

The results shown above show that the revised buckling model can provide much more
realistic predictions of lateral buckling behaviour in a pipeline. The model demonstrates
that the effects of (i) finite pipeline length and (ii) interaction between adjacent buckles
lead to much smaller buckles than predicted by the conventional model for an isolated
buckle in an infinitely long, fully constrained pipeline. This distinction is important for
pipelines which operate at high temperatures and large axial forces.

The model presented here shows how the lateral buckling behaviour of a pipeline
depends on the buckle locations and the number of buckles in the pipeline. It is
preferable to have many small buckles rather than one large buckle. In effect the total
pipeline expansion is shared between the available buckles; if the buckles are closely
spaced then the axial feed-in to each buckle will be less and each buckle will be smaller
in size.
LATERAL BUCKLING O F SUBSEA PIPELINES, DESIGN/OPERATION 173

The number of buckles which form in the pipeline is governed primarily by the pipeline
out-of-straightness (and to a lesser extent by the axial and lateral friction forces). The
pipeline designer will therefore need to know the as-laid out-of-straightness in order to
predict the subsequent pipeline behaviour. Techniques for measuring the vertical out-of-
straightness of a pipeline are well established; however it is difficult to measure pipeline
out-of-straightness in the horizontal plane. Conventional survey techniques are unable to
measure the pipeline profile to the accuracy required for the prediction of buckling
forces. At present, the only technique for accurate measurement of out-of-straightness in
the plane of the seabed is to run an inertial pig through the pipeline, with cost and
possibly operational implications. Further survey developments in this area may have
benefits for high temperature pipelines where lateral buckling behaviour is critical for
design.

The beneficial effect of a large number of buckles means that perfectly straight pipelines
should be avoided, because the high critical buckling force will lead to the formation of a
limited number of large buckles. This is in clear contrast to upheaval buckling design
where a straight (level) pipeline is resistant to buckling and is desirable. This also raises
the possibility of installing intentional out-of-straightness features which encourage the
development of regular, equally spaced buckles in the pipeline. One option is to install
intentional out-of-straightness features at regular intervals along the pipeline. These
features may be installed using straight linepipe but installing the imperfection as a lay
radius from the lay barge. This in turn raises a number of design and instal.lation
questions; for example, the designer must determine the required lay configuration to
ensure that the buckles form as intended and the installation contractor must ensure that
the features are installed as specified. The designer must then ensure that the buckles
subsequently develop in a uniform and consistent manner so that one buckle does not
grow in preference to the others, and that cyclic creep effects which allow a buckle to
develop in size over the operational life of the pipeline are avoided. Many of these
questions can be resolved by physical tests.

SUMMARY AhTDCONCLUSIONS

A lateral buckling model is proposed which considers the sequential formation and
development of more than one buckle in a pipeline. The model considers the effect of the
finite pipeline length and the interaction between feed-in zones of adjacent buckles. The
model is compared against the observed behaviour of a small diameter pipeline. The
model gives reasonable predictions of buckle size.

The model shows how a large number of closely spaced buckles leads to buckles of
smaller size than a smaller number of more isolated buckles. The number of buckles
depends on the lateral out-of-straightness of the pipeline, which determines the critical
buckling force, and therefore governs the number and severity of buckles in the pipeline.
174 D KAYE

Acknowledgements

The author would like to thank Total Oil Marine plc for permission to publish this paper.
The author would also like to acknowledge helphl discussions with Andrew Palmer,
Roger Hobbs and Phillippe Blondin, and would like to thank Richard Ficken, Steve
Redford and Paul Henderson for assistance with the publication of this paper.

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Mechanica, 30, 17-50.
4. Hobbs R.E. (1984). "In-Service Buckling of Heated Pipelines. ASCE Journal of
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5. Hobbs R.E. and Liang F. (1989). "Thermal Buckling of Pipelines Close to
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