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The use of plate anchors in permanent moorings for deep-water floating structures requires a thorough understanding of their performance under sustained and cyclic loading. This paper addresses the former aspect through a series of centrifuge tests on vertically loaded plate anchors in normally consolidated kaolin clay, supported by large-deformation finite-element analyses. The centrifuge experiments, which included particle image velocimetry measurements to identify the conditions leading to anchor failure, demonstrate that sustained loading can be maintained indefinitely if the anchor displacement at application of the sustained loading does not exceed 40% of the displacement reached at monotonic failure. This corresponds to a sustained load that is about 88% of the monotonic capacity, as identified from the numerical analyses. An important observation from both the centrifuge tests and the numerical analyses was a gap at the base of the anchor that developed under moderate load levels when the vertical effective stress at the base of the anchor reached zero. Although this so-called breakaway condition is generally associated with a lower capacity factor and a heightened potential for anchor failure, the conditions leading to breakaway also allow for consolidation-induced strength increase at the top face of the anchor and the mobilisation of partially drained or drained soil strength, both of which maintain anchor stability.
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