|February 15, 2017
J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng
, (2017); doi: 10.1115/1.4035996
A method is presented that enables the analysis of weather window assessments for the installation and retrieval phases of a self-elevating unit (SEU). The method takes site-specific parameters, defined as soil type and water depth, into account in addition to vessel-specific and environmental parameters. The inclusion of site-specific parameters is the novel contribution compared to assessment methodologies used today. A simulation model is presented that incorporates a coupled non-linear time-domain analysis of vessel motion and soil-structure interaction. Soil deformation behaviour during impact is described by resistance curves based on a bearing capacity theory. A structural evaluation criterion against which impact forces are compared is used for weather window assessments. The simulation model is applied on a case study utilizing different soil types to study impact forces and the capacity of the structure for withstanding such impacts and eventually performing a weather window assessment. The results show that the jacking operation can be divided into two phases when it comes to loads on the spudcan: a phase dominated by vertical forces followed by a phase dominated by horizontal forces. It is found that including soil deformation behaviour is of paramount importance to the magnitude of the resulting impact forces and that class-recommended practice does indeed produce rather large force estimates. Thus, assessments where site-specific parameters are incorporated could definitely increase the operable weather window for SEUs, and, consequently, increase the economic competitiveness of, for example, the offshore wind industry.