ISSN 0016-8505 | E-ISSN 1751-7656
Volume 70 Issue 8, August, 2020, pp. 732-749
Themed issue on embedded foundations under complex loading
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Plate anchor technology is an efficient solution for mooring offshore floating facilities for oil and gas or renewable energy projects. When used with a taut mooring, the anchor is typically subjected to a maintained load component and intermittent episodes of cyclic loading throughout the design life. These loads, and the associated shearing, remoulding and consolidation processes, cause changes in the anchor capacity, particularly in soft, fine-grained soils. The changing anchor capacity affects the mooring performance by changing the safety margin and also the overall system reliability. In this paper the changing anchor capacity in reconstituted, normally consolidated natural carbonate silt was assessed through a series of beam centrifuge tests on horizontally loaded circular plate anchors. The results demonstrate that full consolidation under a typical maintained load leads to a 50% gain in the anchor capacity, and subsequent cyclic loading and reconsolidation can triple this increase. An effective stress framework based on critical state concepts is employed to explain and support the experimental observations. This study shows that, when viewed from a whole-life reliability perspective, maintained and cyclic loading provide a long-term enhancement of anchor capacity in soft, fine-grained soils. This beneficial effect is currently overlooked in design practice, but can be predicted using the framework shown here, which can form the basis for a digital twin that monitors the through-life integrity of a plate anchor.

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