The present paper examines the denting deformation of offshore pipelines and tubular members (D/t≤50) subjected to lateral (transverse) quasi-static loading in the presence of uniform external pressure. Particular emphasis is given on pressure effects on the ultimate lateral load of tubes and on their energy absorption capacity. Pipe segments are modeled with shell finite elements, accounting for geometric and material nonlinearities, and give very good predictions compared with test data from non-pressurized pipes. Lateral loading between two rigid plates, a two-dimensional case, is examined first. Three-dimensional case, are also analyzed, where the load is applied either through a pair of opposite wedge-shaped denting tools or a single spherical denting tool. Load-deflection curves for different levels of external pressure are presented, which indicate that pressure has significant influence on pipe response and strength. Finally, simplified analytical models are proposed for the two-dimensional and three-dimensional load configurations, which yield closed-form expressions, compare fairly well with the finite element results and illustrate some important features of pipeline response in a clear and elegant manner.

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