This paper presents an analytical formulation and a finite element analysis of the behavior of multilayer unbonded flexible risers. The finite element model accurately incorporates all the fine details of the riser that were previously considered to be important but too difficult to simulate due to the significant associated computational cost. All layers of the riser are separately modeled, and contact interaction between layers has been accounted for. The model includes geometric nonlinearity as well as frictional effects. The analysis considers the main modes of flexible riser loading, which include internal and external pressures, axial tension, torsion, and bending. Computations were performed by employing a fully explicit time integration scheme on a parallel 16-processor cluster of computers. Consistency of simulation results was demonstrated by comparison with those of the analytical model of an identical structure. The close agreement gives confidence in both approaches.

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