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Spectral and Cycle-Counting Fatigue Damage Estimation Methods for Steel Catenary Risers

Estimating fatigue damage under wind-driven sea loading is of primary importance in the design of steel catenary risers (SCRs) serving floating hosts. For design, the wind-driven sea is modeled as a stationary random process. The resulting dynamic stress in the SCR is also a stationary random process. Spectral methods provide closed-form fatigue damage estimates in terms of statistics for stationary random stress processes. Rainflow cycle counting provides an alternative damage estimation approach that is generally applicable and requires simulation of stress time series. The rainflow approach requires more computation than spectral methods. Damage estimates using the rainflow method may be lower than spectral damage estimates; however, a substantial amount of simulation may be required to quantify the difference.

This paper considers fatigue damage in SCRs attached to both tension-leg platform and semi-submersible hosts. Spectral and cycle-counting estimates are generated and compared. Accuracy of the estimates is discussed, and guidelines for damage estimation are presented. It is demonstrated that the differences between spectral and cycle-counting estimates of lifetime fatigue damage arise primarily from assumptions made regarding the spectral shape of the stress processes of interest.

Power, T.L., Garrett, D.L., Maniar, D.R., Phifer, E.H., Vogiatzis, J.P., “Spectral and Cycle-Counting Fatigue Damage Estimation Methods for Steel Catenary Risers,” OTC 19454, Presented at the 2008 Offshore Technology Conference, May 5, 2008, Houston, Texas.