Catenary risers in deep waters will experience conditions with insignificant wave forces in combination with strong current. The response will in such cases be dominated by vortex induced vibrations (VIV). Dynamic bending stresses will vary along the riser, but a large peak will almost always be seen near the touch down point. This peak is caused by the restrictions on riser displacements from the presence of the seafloor, and the local bending stresses will be influenced by stiffness and damping propertoes of the bottom. Analysis models based on finite elements will represent the interaction between riser and seafloor by discrete springs, which for the linear case will remain constant independent of the displacements. This type of model may give a significant over-prediction of bending stresses at the touch down point since a linear spring will give tensile forces instead of being released and allowing the pipe to lift off from the bottom. A non-linear time domain model will, however, account for changes by releasing springs if tension occurs and adding in new springs if free nodes obtain temporary contact with the bottom. The results will hence become far more realistic. Traditional empirical models for VIV prediction are based on a frequency domain dynamic analysis with constant stiffness. There is hence an obvious need for improvements when dealing with catenary risers. This paper will describe a new approach that is based on combined use of an empirical linear frequency domain model for VIV, and a non-linear model for time domain analysis. The first step is to carry out the VIV analysis according to linear response theory, and next introduce the calculated hydrodynamic forces to the non-linear structural model. The benefit from using the non-linear model is that stresses in the touch down area are described more accurately. A case study is also reported. Bottom stiffness and friction are varied, and results are compared to a simple model with a hinge at the touch down point. The conclusion is that the interaction between riser and seafloor is crucial for accurate stress prediction, and that a non-linear time domain model will give the most accurate result.

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