The mooring of floating platforms is an important challenge for the offshore industry. It is an important part of the design engineering and, often, a critical point for the fatigue life assessment. A solution that could improve the fatigue life is to directly connect the mooring rope to the platform, without an intermediate chain. However this solution is not widespread and the behavior of a rope near such a connection is little known. The present paper proposes to better understand this behavior, thanks to a detailed finite element model of the rope. The study case is a steel wire rope directly connected to a floating wind turbine.
A local finite element model of the rope has been built, where the wires are individually modeled with beam elements. One end of the rope is clamped, simulating the connection, while tension and cyclic bending oscillations are applied to the other end. A localized bending takes place near the connection, leading to stress concentration in the wires. The stress concentration and the local contact forces are calculated for each wire. These data are important entry parameters for a local failure or fatigue analysis. This latter is however not presented here. Despite IFPEN experience in the development of local finite element models of steel wire ropes, it is the first time that such a high capacity rope (MBL = 12 500 kN) is modeled. This is challenging because of the large diameter of the rope and the large number of wires. However this modeling approach is very valuable for such ropes, because the experimental tests are rare and very expensive.