Flexible riser with staggered buoyancy elements has been widely used in ocean engineering, such as steel lazy wave riser, drilling riser, etc. Both the buoyancy elements and the riser may experience vortex induced vibrations (VIV), subject to sea current. However, hydrodynamic characteristics of the buoyancy elements undergoing VIV and influence of buoyancy elements on hydrodynamic force of the bare section are still under discussion. The purpose of this paper is to reveal the hydrodynamic characteristics of flexible riser with staggered buoyancy elements, both for buoyancy element and bare pipe section. The cross flow hydrodynamic coefficients of the flexible riser with 25%, 50% and 100% staggered buoyancy covered are obtained from VIV model tests, using hydrodynamic forces and coefficients identification method. Distribution of the added mass coefficients and excitation coefficients along the flexible riser were investigated, and compared with those on the bare flexible pipe and rigid cylinders under forced oscillations. In addition, the relationship between added-mass coefficients of buoyancy element and that of bare section were obtained.

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