Semi-submersible floating platforms used in the offshore deepwater environment have hull structures that are comprised of vertical cylinders (columns) connected by braces, pontoons, etc. Several of the connections between these various members are susceptible to fatigue damage. In fatigue damage assessment or fatigue reliability analysis, a global structural response analysis is typically carried out using a finite element model where internal forces or stresses in the various members are evaluated for specified sea states of interest at the site. Of specific interest in this study is the fatigue reliability analysis of brace-column connection details in a semi-submersible hull unit for selected Brazilian environmental conditions. Stress concentration factors for the selected critical hot spots are applied to the nominal component stresses due to axial forces and biaxial bending. The hot-spot stress response spectra are used with various spectral methods — referred to as Rayleigh, Modified Rayleigh (with bandwidth correction), and Dirlik — to estimate fatigue damage using Miner’s rule. Uncertainty estimates in fatigue damage rates and life based on the various methodologies are discussed and critical sea states are identified, highlighting dynamic and quasi-static influences on the predicted fatigue.

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