Spudcan extraction from deep embedment in soft clay

O Kohan, Christophe Gaudin, Mark Cassidy, Britta Bienen

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    After drilling is completed, spudcan footings of mobile jack-up rigs are extracted from the seabed before the jack-up is manoeuvred to a new location. In some instances, the extraction may prove to be difficult and time consuming, especially when the spudcans are deeply embedded, because the pull-out capacity of the rig is less than the extraction resistance of the spudcans. In soft soil, the extraction resistance may be significantly augmented by the development of suction at the spudcan invert. To investigate this phenomenon, a deeply embedded 30 mm diameter model spudcan was extracted in a series of physical model experiments conducted at an acceleration of 200 × g in a geotechnical beam centrifuge. The spudcan, instrumented with two pore pressure transducers, one at the top and one at the bottom face, was extracted from normally consolidated clay and under undrained conditions. Eight tests are reported exhibiting embedments ranging from 1.5 to 3 spudcan diameters and varying operation periods. The excess pore pressure and maximum breakout force measured reveal insights into the magnitude of the suction forces at the spudcan invert, which were observed to increase with the embedment depth. No change in failure mechanism was observed between 1.5 and 3 spudcan diameters depth.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)128 - 136
    Number of pages9
    JournalApplied Ocean Research
    Early online date14 Sep 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

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