Recent Trends in Research on Tubular Connections
- J.G. Bouwkamp (U. Of California)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 1966
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,491 - 1,499
- 1966. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.2.3 Materials and Corrosion, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 1.6 Drilling Operations
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- 146 since 2007
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This paper presents three general approaches towards the solution of the stress distribution and the behavior of tubular connections as used in offshore well drilling structures.
First, the possibilities of using plastic models and photoelasticity techniques in evaluating the stress distribution in gusset plate connections are analyzed. The results of photoelastic studies on the stress distribution in the in-plane gusset plate of two-dimensional joints are prevented. The influence of the configuration of the gusset plate (with and without cut-outs) is discussed.
Second, the paper deals with recent developments and applications of computer programs to analyze connections with directly inter-welded tubes and with gusset plates. The possibilities and limitations of these programs are discussed. Stress patterns analyzed with these programs are presented for different joint configurations.
Finally, the basic test procedures and results of a test on a tubular joint under static and alternating loads are discussed.
The effective design of tubular connections as encountered in offshore well drilling towers or floating platform has been complicated basically by the radial flexibility of the tube walls. This flexibility is a source of severe stress concentrations which can initiate an early failure of these joints. In an attempt to reduce the influence of the wall flexibility of the column tube, certain joints are presently designed by inter-welding the incoming branch members. In those designs, the force acting normal to the chord tube can be reduced considerably. A second group of joints incorporate gusset plates or stiffening rings to stiffen the column wall and to distribute the incoming branch member forces over a larger part of this wall. A third approach to improve the stress distribution in a tubular joint is to increase wall thickness of the column member. This can be achieved by simply applying a thicker wall section in the vicinity of the joint. A fourth possibility to restrain the radial flexibility of the tube wall is to fill the column member with concrete. Also, a single, cast steel seat welded to the column tube can be used to improve the stress distribution in this wall. Although all these designs improve, in general, the state of stress in the column wall, the altered stiffness often causes the development of critically stressed areas in the web members. At the same time the actual design in most instances is decisively influenced by the site which governs the depth and controls the forces produced by waves, earthquakes and ice flow. Also, the towing, erection and foundation requirements of offshore structures can affect the actual design selection. Because of the complexity of the structural configuration of tubular joints, the stress analysis of these connections has necessarily been based on simplified and often crude assumptions. For the earlier and smaller type of connections with about 4-ft diameter column sections, the primary problem was to evaluate the relative stiffness of the column wall section and the load transfer between joint members. Due to the recent developments of offshore drilling structures with increasingly larger connections (e.g., column diameter, 32 ft; web members, 8.5 ft) this problem has become even more critical. One design philosophy for such large joints follows a member-to-member connection with radially heavy reinforced column sections. This radial stiffness can be attained by closely spaced and intensively stiffened horizontal diagrams together with vertical stiffeners. A second solution incorporates a concrete-filled section between the outer and inner walls of the column tube. Another philosophy considers large gusset-plated joints. The problem in these joints is to develop an effective load transfer between the branch tubes and the gusset plate and to minimize the stress concentrations in the member walls as effectively as possible. Several concepts are followed to achieve this gradual transfer between web-member walls and gusset plates. Because the number of joints in these huge platforms is limited compared to the over-all size, a proper design of these joints is even more important than was the case for the many joints in the smaller, but multi-legged towers. A failure of one of those ultra-large joints could well cause the complete collapse of such a structure. Under these circumstances an accurate analysis of the large joints is of the greatest importance, together with information regarding the expected behavior of such joints under critical alternating load conditions. Recent applications of photoelastic model techniques have proved to be quite effective in evaluating the elastic behavior of such joints. Although a complete study of such connections is quite well possible with present-day photoelastic techniques, it might often be feasible and necessary to limit the objectives and to restrict these investigations to the study of a specific aspect of the joint. Another very promising avenue of approach to solve the complex stress pattern in these connections seems to be the recent development of digital computer programs.
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