Composite materials are often utilized in weight-critical applications, owing to their higher specific strength\stiffness characteristics. In addition, composite materials also possess qualities such as better corrosion resistance, lower coefficient of thermal expansion, etc., which makes them a potential material choice for riser systems in high pressure and high temperature environments. However, design certification of risers using the finite element method requires modeling and analysis techniques, centric to the multi-layered nature of composite structures.
Riser systems, owing to their high aspect ratios, have traditionally been modeled with beam elements. The methodology for extracting the stress results and certifying a metallic riser is well established in the Oil and Gas industry. However, for analyzing a composite riser, three-dimensional shell or hexahedral elements are generally required to capture the through-the-thickness (or pipe cross-sectional) variation of structural response, especially in critical regions such as touchdown point, pipe-intersection zones, etc.
In this paper, a method for analyzing a detailed local model (discretized with shell\hexahedral elements) driven by results from a global model (meshed with beam elements) is presented. The global model captures the structural response whereas the local model provides cross-sectional stress\strain information for individual layers. Although the method is illustrated for a composite riser, it is also applicable to metallic structures.