Vertical pipes are extensively applied on offshore petroleum operations, such as subsea wellbore drilling, wellbore re-entry, installations of equipment on the sea bottom, hydrocarbon production as the conductor for oil and gas from the wellhead at the sea bottom, among other applications. Recent oil and gas field discoveries in ultra deepwater brought an increase of the amount of produced and processed petroleum onboard of floating production system. Consequently, the process plant demands more cooling capacity. One of the alternatives is to elevate cold sea water.

The present study aims to improve the understanding of the behavior of a vertical pipe forced to move at its upper end in a water tank. Displacements along the pipe length are measured, and main features of the behavior of the pipe model with its bottom end free are observed. Motions imposed at the vertical pipe intent to represent motions of the surface from the floating platform or ship, due to waves, currents and wind. Pipe model vibrations are analyzed, and results allowed improvements for the input in numerical model simulations to Orcaflex software. Developments of the analysis procedure and evaluations of the experiment allow more reliable design of riser operations with its bottom end free in actual sea operations.

In the present work, a physical model with a pipe of small diameter has been developed for the laboratory experiment, and an optical measurement system is used to measure the pipe model displacement in the water tank. Motions are imposed at the top termination by a mechanical device. Experiment is described in details and comparative analyses between experiment and numerical simulations were carried out. Results from numerical simulations as well as from the experiment brought important contributions for description and understanding of the vertical pipe behavior.

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