This paper presents a numerical model for the simulation of the axial-flexural-torsional coupling of undewater cylindrical structures. Cylindrical structures are largely utilized in the marine environment in a wide range of applications as in risers, marine cables, flexible pipes, mooring systems and so on. They may exhibit complex axial-flexural-torsional coupling, which makes the structural analysis highly nonlinear. In addition, the fluid-structure interaction may include flow induced vibrations, frequency lock-in and internal flow effects. The proposed three-dimensional model assumes that the structure aspect ratio is very high, its cross section is circular, the cable is elastic and may experience large displacements and large strains, as long as the elastic regime holds. The steady state load on the cylinder consists of the self-weight and buoyancy, drag and lift forces, in addition to a distributed residual twist along the cylinder. The drag and lift forces are evaluated by Morison type formulation. The governing differential equations are derived from first principles, assuming Newtonian mechanics. Then, they are solved numerically by a finite element formulation based on nonlinear space frame elements. The resulting set of algebraic equations is solved by a minimization technique that uses the Newton-Raphson algorithm. Results show the ability of the model to predict the static configuration of equilibrium of the cylinder and to capture the coupling between axial, flexural and torsional responses of the cylinder.

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