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Journal of Applied Mathematics
Volume 2012, Article ID 983819, 29 pages
Research Article

A Theoretical Approach to Predict the Fatigue Life of Flexible Pipes

1Programa de Engenharia Civil (PEC), COPPE/UFRJ, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21945-970 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2Centro de Pesquisas da Petrobras (CENPES), Cidade Universitária, Quadra 7, Ilha do Fundão, 21949-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 20 January 2012; Accepted 30 April 2012

Academic Editor: Carl M. Larsen

Copyright © 2012 José Renato M. de Sousa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper focuses on a theoretical approach to access the fatigue life of flexible pipes. This methodology employs functions that convert forces and moments obtained in time-domain global analyses into stresses in their tensile armors. The stresses are then processed by well-known cycle counting methods, and S-N curves are used to evaluate the fatigue damage at several points in the pipe’s cross-section. Finally, Palmgren-Miner linear damage hypothesis is assumed in order to calculate the accumulated fatigue damage. A study on the fatigue life of a flexible pipe employing this methodology is presented. The main points addressed in the study are the influence of friction between layers, the effect of the annulus conditions, the importance of evaluating the fatigue life in various points of the pipe’s cross-section, and the effect of mean stresses. The results obtained suggest that the friction between layers and the annulus conditions strongly influences the fatigue life of flexible pipes. Moreover, mean stress effects are also significant, and at least half of the wires in each analyzed section of the pipe must be considered in a typical fatigue analysis.