The present work focuses on the design of the new generation of semi-submersible platforms for oil&gas production offshore that is based on column square cross-sectional area. The platform column is based on an arrangement of stiffened flat panels having their ultimate strength characterized by buckling under in-plane compressive loading. Distortions induced by fabrication have considerable influence on the buckling behavior and are discussed in order to provide design recommendations. The aim of the paper is to study a segment of the column structural arrangement between robust transverse frames to analyze the failure behavior of the stiffened panels. Previous research demonstrated the strong influence of both mode and magnitude of the geometric imperfection distribution, as well as the boundary conditions. Numerical and experimental simulations for small scale isolated panels are carried out in order to perform a correlation study to adjust the numerical model for further use in more complex numerical simulations of the structural failure of the column arrangement. The stiffened panels are analyzed to identify the buckling initiation on a particular panel and then the interaction between plates, longitudinal stiffeners and the robust transverse frames during the progressive failure of the whole column.

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