The ultimate lateral soil resistance for pipe losing lateral stability on a sandy seabed under the action of ocean currents is investigated with a newly developed test facility by employing mechanical actuators to simulate hydrodynamic loads on the pipe. Two kinds of constraint conditions, i.e. anti-rolling pipe and freely-laid pipe, are taken into account, respectively. The experimental observations indicate that, the horizontal lateral soil resistance increases gradually to its maximum (ultimate) value when the additional settlement is fully developed. The buildup of the ultimate lateral soil resistance to the anti-rolling pipe benefits from not only the additional settlements but also the sand-particle collections in front of the moving pipe, especially for the anti-rolling pipes. The lateral-soil-resistance coefficient for the anti-rolling pipe is much larger than that for the freely-laid pipe. The pipe surface roughness also affects the lateral stability of anti-rolling pipes. A comparison is made between present mechanical-actuator tests and the previous water-flume tests, indicating the results of two types of tests are comparable and the local scour may reduce the pipe lateral stability in ocean currents.

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