Numerical modelling of ice gouge using experimental validation

John Oliphant, Ana Ivanovic, Sergi Arnau, Sangeet Patra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution


Technip, in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen, has undertaken a project to develop a calibrated numerical model validated by physical tests. The validated numerical model is aimed at providing a realistic prediction of the seabed deformation behaviour and a realistic assessment of extent of unacceptable strains in the pipeline below the seabed. This should provide more confidence in estimating the safe burial depth at which a pipeline could be trenched in Arctic regions. The experimental part of the study was undertaken at the University of Aberdeen where two different sand channels were used for testing scaled iceberg models of different shapes (defined by different angles of the frontal side of the models). Tests were undertaken in both loose and dense sand. Numerical simulations were undertaken by Technip using CEL (Coupled Eulerian Langranglan) numerical formulation in ABAQUS. The study presented has been undertaken in three phases where each phase is characterised by a set of physical tests modelling ice gouging under laboratory conditions followed by numerical simulations. Here we report on the first two phases of the study. Phase 1 - aimed at understanding the sensitivity of the iceberg shape and gouging depth on the measured drag force. Validation of the numerical model was successfully achieved at this stage where the numerical results, in terms of drag force, were compared with experimental results. Phase 2 - a detailed experimental study using a larger and more robust channel where the influence of relative density of sand on the drag force and sub gouge deformation has been examined using load cell and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) method respectively. The results from the experimental study have been used to calibrate the subsequent numerical model. Phase 3 - an on-going experimental study using a scaled model of a rigid pipeline placed at various depths within the sub-gouged zone to establish the relationship between the strains in the soil to those in the pipeline. These results will be used to complete calibration of the numerical model for pipeline strain predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication21st World Petroleum Congress 2014
Subtitle of host publicationResponsibly Energising a Growing World, WPC 2014
PublisherEnergy Institute
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781510825673
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Event21st World Petroleum Congress 2014: Responsibly Energising a Growing World, WPC 2014 - Moscow, Russian Federation
Duration: 15 Jun 201419 Jun 2014


Conference21st World Petroleum Congress 2014: Responsibly Energising a Growing World, WPC 2014
Country/TerritoryRussian Federation


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