The effect of soil type on the behaviour of a tolerably mobile subsea foundation

Tianqiang Jia, Sam Stanier, Phil Watson, Xiaowei Feng, Susan Gourvenec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Tolerably mobile subsea foundations may be used to replace conventional fixed mudmat foundations for pipeline infrastructure and are designed to slide on the seabed along with the connected pipeline, in order to accommodate thermally induced horizontal forces. This allows the size of the foundation and the resulting fabrication and installation costs to be substantially reduced. The performance of mobile foundations is explored in this paper through four centrifuge model tests on a NC or LOC reconstituted calcareous silt obtained from the Northwest Shelf of Western Australia. The results are compared to three existing tests performed on a kaolin clay. The results show that under typical periodic surface sliding and intervening rests, sliding resistance evolves within a cycle with resistance peaks evident at either end of the sliding footprint due to the formation of berms, and the residual resistance increasing with sliding cycles towards a drained state. Shear and consolidation induced settlements accumulate with sliding cycles although at a reducing rate. The tests in the calcareous silt show higher normalised initial peak sliding resistance, a more dramatic loss and slower recovery of sliding resistance with cycles, and slower rate of decrease of incremental settlement compared with the response in kaolin clay.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-292
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics
Issue number6
Early online date21 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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