Numerical Study of Mobilized Friction along Embedded Catenary Mooring Chains

C. Sun, X. Feng, S. R. Neubecker, M. F. Randolph, M. F. Bransby, S. Gourvenec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the soil resistance along an embedded anchor chain is imperative for efficient and economic design of an overall mooring system as it determines the magnitude and direction of the load at the padeye of the anchor. The tensioning process of an embedded chain for catenary moorings was modeled using a coupled Eulerian-Lagrangian (CEL) finite-element approach simulating the large deformations of the chain as it cuts through the soil to form an inverse catenary. The analyses reveal that the configuration of the embedded chain and the relationship between tension and chain angle at the padeye show excellent agreement with previously published analytical predictions. However, the ratio of the tension at the padeye to that at the mudline obtained from CEL is significantly higher than the theoretical values, mainly due to partial mobilization of the frictional soil resistance along the length of the chain. The CEL results indicate that the partial mobilization is a result of the combined-loading effect during failure of the soil around the embedded chain as it cuts through the seabed, in contrast with the conventional assumption that the ultimate frictional and normal soil resistances are mobilized simultaneously. A new design approach is proposed for calculating the local equivalent coefficient of friction based on the yield locus for a deeply embedded chain and the normality rule.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04019081
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


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