The service life of flexible risers is a vital design parameter in offshore field development. The standard approach to calculate fatigue life is the nonlinear time-domain analysis. The approach uses time history of riser responses in local structure assessment to get the fatigue damage of tensile layers. Another approach is the linearized frequency-domain analysis. Instead of using time history of stress and rainflow counting technique, the approach uses stress spectrum and empirical mathematical terms to estimate the fatigue damage. The frequency domain approach is significantly faster. However, due to the whole system being linearized, the latter usually produces different results and is considered to be less accurate than the time domain approach. To address this issue, Baker Hughes previously developed an approach which uses the frequency domain technique as base solution and calibration factors from limited time domain cases. The approach is limited to tensile wires at the end fitting entrance where tension and tensile stress is directly linked. In this paper, a similar approach is proposed to be applied for tensile fatigue at all regions, whose tensile stress are induced by a combination of tension, pressure, bending and friction between layers. Since tensile stress is not directly related to any single riser response, the stress spectrum is predicted by using a transfer function. With the predicted stress spectrum, the fatigue damage of each case is calculated with Dirlik’s method and SN curves.
The paper summarizes the development of the hybrid frequency domain approach. The fatigue damage of risers from several projects are acquired with both time domain and frequency domain approaches. The approach is significantly faster than traditional time domain approach and produces conservative results. Furthermore, discussions are made on options to improve the approach and reduce the conservatism in the frequency domain fatigue analysis.