Composite flexible pipe is used in the offshore oil and gas industry for the transport of hydrocarbons, jumpers connecting subsea infrastructure, and risers with surface platforms and facilities. Although the material fabrication costs are high, there are technical advantages with respect to installation and performance envelope (e.g., fatigue). Flexible pipe has a complex, composite section with each layer addressing a specific function (e.g., pressure containment, and axial load). Continuum finite element modeling (FEM) procedures are developed to examine the mechanical response of an unbonded flexible pipe subject to axisymmetric loading conditions. A parameter study examined the effects of: (1) pure torsion, (2) interlayer friction factor, (3) axial tension, and (4) external and internal pressure on the pipe mechanical response. The results demonstrated a coupled global-local mechanism with a bifurcation path for positive angles of twist relative to the tensile armor wire pitch angle. These results indicated that idealized analytical- and structural-based numerical models may be incomplete or may provide an accurate prediction of the pipe mechanical response. The importance of using an implicit solver to predict the bifurcation response and simulate contact mechanics between layers was highlighted.

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