Pipe-in-pipe systems are usually composed of two concentric metal pipes with or without an insulation material in the annulus region. Design requirements for ultra-deep water pipelines motivated the development of a new pipe-in-pipe conception in which the annulus is filled with materials that combine low cost, adequate thermal insulation properties and good mechanical resistance. The aim of this ongoing research project is to evaluate the structural performance of sandwich pipes with two different options of core material. Because of their wide availability and relatively low costs, the materials considered in this study were cement and polypropylene for the annulus, with pipes made of API X-60 grade steel. In this paper, a three-dimensional finite element model considering material and geometric nonlinear behavior was developed. This numerical model was used to perform a parametric study to determine the collapse envelopes of different pipe-in-pipe configurations under combined bending and external pressure. The collapse envelopes were compared with others obtained for steel pipelines of equivalent collapse pressure. The study showed that the pipe-in-pipe systems with either cement or polypropylene cores are feasible options to ultra-deep water pipelines fulfilling concomitantly both the requirements of structural resistance and thermal insulation.

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