Underwater strengthening and repairing of tubular offshore structural members using Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers with different consolidation methods

Jerin Mathew George, Mehrdad Kimiaei, Mohamed Elchalakani, Sabrina Fawzia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Offshore structural steel members will need strengthening or repairing due to various reasons. Strengthening is often required due to work over demands or increased environmental loads. Repairing becomes essential as the steel members are usually severely corroded due to the marine conditions. Conventional hot work strengthening and repairing solutions become very expensive and retrofitting using Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRPs) is an economical alternative. This paper investigates strengthening and repairing of offshore steel tubular members using Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers (CFRPs) with the help of experimental testing and an analytical study. Two different specimen sizes which were representative of members in offshore structures namely leg and brace were examined in the study. Partial length strengthening of steel tubular members subject to combined loading of axial compression and bending was carried out using different curing environments (in air and underwater curing). Strengthening and repairing of leg and brace specimens with multiple layers of CFRP retrofitted in underwater conditions were also investigated. Two different consolidation methods (underwater vacuum consolidation and underwater stricture consolidation) were compared with the help of full length strengthening of leg specimens. Although partial length strengthening proved to be less effective, partial length repairing of corroded tubular members were successful in restoring their intact capacity. Full length strengthening for underwater leg specimens were experimentally tested and it was found to improve the structural behaviour in many aspects like ultimate strength, load displacement behaviour, elastic slope, energy absorption, and ductility. A novel technique of underwater vacuum consolidation of retrofit laminates was demonstrated through a set of full length strengthened leg specimens. Underwater vacuum consolidation proved to be advantageous compared to the normal underwater stricture consolidation. An analytical check to identify whether a retrofitted tubular member would reach its target section properties was also introduced. Overall, the paper demonstrates multiple successful applications of FRP composites for underwater strengthening and repairing of offshore steel tubular members. Studies like this expanding the current knowledge on how the FRP retrofitted steel tubular behave within a real offshore structure are essential to increase the uptake of this technology in the oil and gas industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109090
JournalThin-Walled Structures
Volume174
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

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