A Novel Mooring Tether for Highly Dynamic Offshore Applications
Date: 9 September 2015
University of Exeter
PhD in Renewable Energy
The mooring of vessels and other floating bodies at sea, such as offshore platforms has necessitated the development of specialised moorings technology. The marine renewable energy (MRE) sector is now at a stage in its development whereby floating devices are adding new challenges to the moorings industries. Floating MRE devices are ...
The mooring of vessels and other floating bodies at sea, such as offshore platforms has necessitated the development of specialised moorings technology. The marine renewable energy (MRE) sector is now at a stage in its development whereby floating devices are adding new challenges to the moorings industries. Floating MRE devices are smaller than, for instance offshore platforms, and are usually targeted for deployment in highly energetic environments. The extreme conditions and the highly dynamic response of an MRE device present challenges in terms of peak loading within the mooring system itself and load transfer to the floating body. Compliant mooring systems provide advantages by reducing the peak loads and fibre ropes are an important asset in achieving such compliance. However, the extent to which existing fibre ropes can safely extend axially to provide compliance is insufficient and is strongly associated to the minimum breaking load (MBL) of the rope. A novel fibre rope mooring tether is presented here that provides advantages over existing ropes. The tether employs a hollow fibre rope containing an elastomeric core, this mechanism de-coupling the extension properties from the strength of the line. The load path is carried through the polyester rope which is terminated conventionally by eye splices, thus minimising any new risks to reliability. Very low axial stiffness is achieved and is shown to be selectable within limits. For comparison, the prototype tether’s MBL of 222 kN is assigned to polyester and Nylon reference ropes. The axial stiifness of these ropes are 590 kN and 463 kN respectively when measured by a secant between the origin and 30% MBL; the novel tether displays an axial stiffness of 72 kN by the same method. This enables the novel tether to achieve more than two and a half times the extension of a comparable Nylon rope in its working range. Numerical modelling of a moored installation demonstrates a threefold reduction in peak load magnitude compared to the existing Nylon rope solution. The tether exhibits two distinct stages of extension, the first having very low axial stiffness. It is demonstrated that the extent of this soft phase can be selected by design and that this might add another useful element of control to moorings design work.
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