A Method for Determining Quasi-Static and Dynamic Riser Inclination Using Collocated Accelerometers and Angular Rate Sensors


A method is described for determining quasi-static and dynamic riser angles using measured data typically found in a riser fatigue monitoring system, specifically acceleration and angular rate data.  Quasi-static riser inclination and orientation of the inclination plane are determined from the low frequency triaxial accelerations, containing measurement of the gravitational body force.  Components of the gravitational body force along the accelerometer axes vary slowly with the riser quasi-static response.  The slowly varying Euler angles are determined from the components of gravity along the three axes.

Dynamic riser inclination along and transverse to the quasi-static inclination plane are determined by integration of the angular rates, followed by transformation into a coordinate system aligned with the quasi-static inclination plane.  The quasi-static and dynamic inclination angles are combined to arrive at the time trace of riser inclination angles.

Following implementation of the method in Matlab®, the procedure was validated and the program verified using laboratory test data.  A double-gimbaled platform was constructed, on which were mounted a triaxial accelerometer, biaxial angular rate and biaxial inclinometer (reference sensor).  A battery of static and dynamic tests was carried out on the platform.  Machinists’ levels and angle gauges were used to set the inclination in the various tests.  The angles derived from the acceleration and angular rate data were compared to those of the reference inclinometer.  Angle estimates were shown to match the reference angles with negligible error.

The method was then implemented into the real-time Riser Fatigue Monitoring System (RFMS) aboard the Chikyu drillship.  The algorithm was run using data from an emergency disconnect event that occurred in November, 2012.  Quasi-static riser inclination angles were quite large due to high currents near the sea surface.  Dynamic riser inclination angles proved to be significant due to Vortex Induced Vibration of the lower portion of the riser that immediately followed the disconnect event.

It is important to note that the method uses data that is typically already included in real-time riser monitoring systems.  Therefore only a software update is required to provide real-time riser angle information.  If the method is built into data processing routines for real-time riser monitoring systems, the need for additional instrumentation, such as inclinometers near flex joints, may be circumvented.  On the other hand, if inclinometers already exist, the method serves as an independent source of riser angle information at several locations on the riser.  The method can also be used to calculate riser and Blow out Preventer (BOP) stack angles from data recorded using stand-alone, battery-powered loggers.

McNeill, S., Angehr, P., Kluk, D., Saruhashi, T., Sawada, I., Kyo, M., Miyazaki, E., and Yamazaki, Y., “A Method for Determining Quasi-Static and Dynamic Riser Inclination Using Collocated Accelerometers and Angular Rate Sensors,” Proceedings of the 33nd OMAE Conference (OMAE2014-24035), San Francisco, California USA, June 8-13, 2014.


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