The objective of this paper is to assess the impact of soil axial resistance on initiation of the buckles on sleepers. It also covers the effects of history of pressure and temperature increase on effective axial force as well as the incorporation of external pressure in the Finite Element (FE) models. This is carried out for 6″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ pipelines laying on sleepers with different heights for a range of axial soil frictions and mobilisations. Knowing the sensitivity of buckle initiation to soil parameters can help in simplifying engineering analysis by avoiding repetitive simulations for parameters with less importance.

To carry out the above, a series of FE models including normal and bi-linear axial contacts between pipeline and sleeper / seabed were built in Abaqus FE package and at the point of initiation of the buckles, the effective axial force was extracted by a Python script. FE models were validated by comparison of the simulation results with analytical solutions and experimental results from published literature.

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