DOI: 10.1002/nag.3676 ISSN: 0363-9061

A limit analysis approach to uplift bearing capacity of shallow plate anchors in marine environments

Mateus Forcelini, Samir Maghous, Fernando Schnaid
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Materials Science
  • Computational Mechanics


Offshore oil and gas exploration activities involve the installation of various subsea infrastructures on the ocean floor, often supported by shallow foundations such as anchor plates or mudmats. These foundations must be designed to withstand applied service loads along the structure lifecycle, including decommissioning loads required for subsequent removal. In this context, this work is dedicated to the evaluation of uplift bearing capacity of shallow anchors within the theoretical framework of limit analysis and its related kinematic approach. Based on the implementation of 3D failure mechanisms, rigorous upper bound estimates for the uplift force viewed as ultimate load for the material system are derived from either total or effective stress analyses. In that respect, emphasis is given to the formulation of limit analysis problem in the context of effective stresses, showing how the effect of seepage flow may be accounted for by means of driving body forces derived from the gradient of excess pore pressure distribution and how suction forces arise from pore pressure difference between upper and lower anchor surfaces. Evaluation of suction forces developed during anchor lifting is addressed by resorting to a simplified modeling applied to circular and rectangular anchors. The accuracy of the upper bound predictions derived for uplift force is assessed by comparison with available experimental data. Several numerical results are also provided to investigate the effects of relevant problem parameters on the uplift bearing capacity.

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