Carcass, the innermost layer of a flexible pipe structure is designed to prevent the collapse of the pressure sheath due to external pressure. Weakness, damage or failure of the carcass layer can result in collapse with associated loss of production and potentially serious risk to pipe integrity and hydrocarbon leakage to the environment. Avoiding carcass failure in service is therefore an essential consideration during the design of unbonded flexible pipes.

Carcass failure is rare in service. This paper highlights the three possible failure modes and presents further analysis on the fatigue failure mode, relevant to dynamic service. Two key features of carcass manufacture are identified as causes for dynamic stress; locking of the carcass profile due to extended pitch and polymer ingress within the carcass cavity.

Guidelines for the design of carcass profiles, setting safe pitch limits and appropriate barrier profile controls to mitigate carcass fatigue failure in dynamic service are presented.

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