Prediction of the as-laid embedment of a pipeline, which affects many aspects of pipeline design, is complicated by the dynamic motions that occur during the lay process. These motions cause pipelines to embed deeper than predicted based on static penetration models, as the seabed soils are both softened and physically displaced by the pipeline motion. This paper describes the results of 2D numerical analyses using a large displacement finite element approach aimed at quantifying pipeline embedment due to cyclic lateral motion at various fixed vertical load levels. The validity of the numerical results is first assessed by comparison with published data from centrifuge model tests in two different types of clay. A parametric study varying the normalized vertical load is then presented, which suggests a simple approach for estimating an upper limit to the dynamic embedment.

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