Steel catenary risers (SCRs) offer a cost-effective solution to deep water deployments. Hanging from a floater, an SCR is commonly subjected to large tension at hangoff location and large bending moments at touchdown zone (TDZ) which lead to fatigue damage. Field observations showed that the depth of a seabed trench might reach to a depth of four to five times of the diameter of a riser, however, a flat seabed was often assumed for the modeling of SCRs which surely affects simulations of fatigue behavior of the SCR at the touchdown zone. Studies on the effects of seabed trench on TDZ fatigue conducted by different researchers led to contradictory conclusions, i.e., some studies suggested that considering seabed trench reduced fatigue damage at TDZ of SCRs, while, others drew opposing conclusions. The contradiction may be explained by factors including inappropriate trench profiles and different sea states assumed in the analysis model. An iterative procedure initially developed by Wang and Low and further improved in the present work was used to estimate the position and the length of a seabed trench beneath an SCR and, then, an improved empirical formulation was generated to approximate the profile of the seabed trench. Additionally, dynamic simulations were conducted to study the effects of seabed trench on fatigue behaviors of SCRs encountering variant directional waves.

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