Strain gauges provide a convenient and affordable method to accurately measure the strain field for complex systems. Not only do they provide crucial information for predicting the fatigue life of components, but they can also determine the principle stresses which can be used to compare design factors with accepted industry standards. The use of electrical resistance strain gauges for load verification has become an ever-increasing practice in the design of subsea connectors as evidenced by the recent application in the industry guidance API 17TR7 [1]. The design is aided by the development of a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) which is used to predict the load capacities for normal, extreme, and survival conditions. The present work describes the experimental validation of a 18-3/4in 10,000 psi subsea collet connector model by applying linear pattern CEA-06-062UW-350 strain gauges at discrete points along the circumferentially spaced collet segments. The collet segments are the selected components for strain gauge placement because not only are they the primary connecting element between the subsea wellhead and the connector body, but they also only support axial loads. The axial strain of the collet segments in tension were compared at two combined loading cases: maximum bending capacity with and without internal working pressure and found to be in good correlation with the elastic-plastic FEA. The experimentally validated FEA is a crucial tool in determining the connector’s application to project or customer specific load and fatigue requirements and eliminates the need for unnecessary experimentation.

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