Three dimensional scour along offshore pipelines

Kok Yeow

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    477 Downloads (Pure)


    Three-dimensional scour propagation along offshore pipelines is a major reason to pipeline failures in an offshore environment. Although the research on scour in both numerical and experimental aspect has been extensive over the last three decades, the focus of the investigation has been limited to the two-dimensional aspect. The knowledge on three-dimensional scour is still limited. This dissertation presents the results of an experimental investigation on threedimensional scour along offshore pipelines in (1) steady currents (2) waves only and (3) combined waves and current. The major emphasis of the investigation is to investigate the propagation of the scour hole along the pipeline after the initiation of scour. Physical experiments conducted were used to quantify the effects of various parameters on scour propagation velocities along the pipeline. The problem of monitoring real time scour below a pipeline was solved by using specifically developed conductivity scour probes. Effects of various parameters such as pipeline embedment depth, incoming flow Shields parameter, Keuglegan- Carpenter (KC) number and flow incident angle to the pipeline on scour propagation velocities along the pipeline were investigated. The investigations clearly reveal that scour propagation velocities generally increase with the increase of flow but decrease with the increase of the pipeline embedment depth. A general predictive formula for scour propagation velocities is proposed and validated against the experimental results. There are still some common issues related to pipeline scour that is lacking in the literature to date. One of these issues is the effects of Reynolds number on two-dimensional scour beneath pipelines. A numerical approach was adopted to investigate the Reynolds-number dependence of two-dimensional scour beneath offshore pipelines in steady currents. A novel wall function is proposed in calculating the suspended sediment transport rate in the model. The effects of Reynolds number were investigated by simulating the same undisturbed Shields parameters in both model and prototype but with different values of Reynolds number in two separate calculations. The results revealed that scour depths for prototype pipelines are about 10~15% smaller than those for model pipelines. The normalized time scales was found to be approximately the same, and the simulated scour profiles for the model pipelines agree well with the experimental results from an independent study. The backfilling of pipeline trenches is also an important issue to the design and management of offshore pipelines. A numerical model is developed to simulate the self-burial of a pipeline trench. Morphological evolutions of a pipeline trench under steady-current or oscillatory-flow conditions are simulated with/without a pipeline inside the trench. The two-dimensional Reynolds-averaged continuity and Navier-Stokes equations with the standard k-ε turbulence closure, as well as the sediment transport equations, are solved using finite difference method in a curvilinear coordinate system. Different time-marching schemes are employed for the morphological computation under unidirectional and oscillatory conditions. It is found that vortex motions within the trench play an important role in the trench development.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2007


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