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XVI Congresso AIMETA di Meccanica Teorica e Applicata

16th AIMETA Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics




Dipartimento di Meccanica, Universit Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona
Istituto di Scienza e Tecnica delle Costruzioni, Universit Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona
Snamprogetti, Fano (PU)


La memoria tratta delle problematiche dellinstallazione di condotte sottomarine con il

cosiddetto metodo a J, che consiste nel varare le condotte stesse con lausilio di una rampa
quasi verticale. Lattenzione del lavoro viene focalizzata sul rilevamento della posizione
relativa tra nave appoggio e punto di contatto della condotta con il fondale marino, che
rappresenta un elemento di grande importanza da molti punti di vista: per il tracciamento del
percorso di varo prescritto, per lesecuzione di una installazione sicura ed affidabile e nella
determinazione delle massime tensioni/deformazioni, solitamente concentrate nella sezione di
massima curvatura, e rappresentanti un parametro di progetto ovviamente fondamentale.
Sono considerati modelli analitici e numerici. I primi sono di pi facile utilizzo, catturano
gli aspetti pi importanti del problema e possono essere utilizzati come punto di partenza per
algoritmi iterativi di ricerca numerica della soluzione. I modelli numerici, daltra parte,
permettono raffinamenti, specialmente intorno al punto di contatto con il fondo ed alla
sezione di massima curvatura e permettono la valutazione della rilevanza relativa dei vari
fenomeni meccanici interagenti sullo sfondo.


The paper deals with pipeline installation by the so-called J-Lay method, which consists in
laying submarine pipelines with a straight stinger at near vertical angles. Attention is focussed
on the detection of the touch down point (TDP) vessel relative position, which is the
principal point for following a prescribed laying route and having reliable installation, and in
the determination of the maximum stress/strain, usually attained in the section of maximum
bending, which is obviously a fundamental design constraint.
Analytical and numerical models are considered. The former ones are easier to be handled,
capture the principal features of the problem, and may be used as starting condition for
numerical solutions obtained iteratively. The latter models, on the other hand, permit
refinements, especially around the TDP and the section of maximum bending and allow for
the assessment of the relevance of the various underlying mechanical phenomena.


Submarine crossings are now strategic in a series of new projects of long distance gas
transportation via pipeline. The Mediterranean basin provides relevant examples of pioneer
(and successful, the Transmed three ND 20 and two ND 26 - system) and near-to-come
(the Lybia to Sicily pipeline, detailed engineering in progress) strategic submarine crossings,
while the internal seas (Black and Caspian seas, construction completed), Middle-East (the
Oman to Pakistan and Iran to India pipeline projects, at desk study level) and Far-East
(continental China to Japan and Sakhalin to Japan pipeline projects, at desk study level) are
promising concepts. Development plans are now considering projects in water depths up to
3500 m and more. In view of these ultra deep water challenges, the offshore industry has been
called to solve demanding material and line pipe technology aspects, to develop a new and
reliable installation technology for ultra deep waters and difficult sea bottoms, to improve the
robustness of engineering prediction of in-service behaviour over the entire design lifetime,
and to find the suitable technological measures to tackle environmental hazards, typical of
ultra deep waters. Different methods are adopted to install marine pipelines, Fig. 1.
In the S-lay method, the pipeline is assembled on the welding ramp of the lay vessel using
partial or full automatic welding techniques. These (field) girth welds are in general
controlled using X-ray or/and ultrasonic methods. The near-horizontal ramp (so called firing
line) includes a suitable sequence of welding stations, one or more tensioners, one NDT
station and one field joint station, where girth welds are coated and, in case of concrete coated
joints, filled in. The pipeline leaves the firing line to enter the launching ramp or stinger,
where the pipe is supported by rollers regularly spaced for a certain length and set up to
provide a suitable curved envelope to the pipeline. So it can leave the stinger with a slope that
ensures a smooth transition between the rigid launching ramp and the flexible lay span. The
pipeline lay span takes an S-shaped configuration due to the tension from the mooring and/or
dynamic positioning system transferred to the pipeline through the tensioners.
The J-lay method has been developed as an alternative method to install a pipeline in very
deep waters: as the name suggests, during installation the pipelines takes up a J-shape. This is
achieved by lowering the pipe almost vertically into the water, thus totally eliminating the
curvature required on the overbend to reach the required departure slope and supplied by the
stinger (which represents the major limitation for extending the S-lay method into deep
waters). The J-lay method allows pipelaying at much lower horizontal tensions, to control the
state of stress on the sagbend. As a consequence the effective residual lay tension on the
pipeline at touch down can be considered negligible if compared with the S-lay method. This
may have considerable implications for pipelines laid on uneven sea beds and, therefore, on
actual free span length and associated intervention works. Dynamic positioning is the most
effective and practical method to keep the J-lay barge on course thus relieving the problems
of controlling very long and therefore less effective mooring lines in deep waters. The J-lay
eliminates the long vulnerable stinger. The obvious disadvantage is that the steep ramp makes
the welding operation critical. In order to keep the lay rate competitive, most of the welding
operations, e.g. to assembly two or more joints, are carried out before the vertical lining up,
on the deck or in a yard on land. Vertical line-up of a long section of few joints and welding it
to the suspended part, requires a special purpose developed equipment. This has major
implications on the layout of the vessel, in consideration of work-ability in concomitance with
severe sea states in relation to such a long lining derrick.
The following demanding conditions are needed: large lay pull capacity, to ensure the
heavy long free span assumes the suitable J-lay configuration from the launching ramp to the
touch down point; large installed power, for station keeping (dynamic positioning) of the
necessarily huge lay vessel under normal and extreme environmental conditions. The
structural integrity of the pipeline moving from the launching ramp to the touch down point
has to be controlled in real time, aiming at avoiding unexpected incidental damage to the
pipeline, detectable on the seabed only after laying when it is difficult any recovery for repair.
These challenging applications demand for a refined structural analysis of the installation
process, which is the most severe condition for pipeline design. Depending on the adopted
laying technology, various mechanical features play a key role: top angle and tension, pipe
bending/tension stiffness, surface sea-waves, deep currents, soil stiffness and slope, etc. Also
out of plane 3D effects are worthy of attention. All of them require appropriate modelling and
are accurately investigated. Nowadays, the industry uses refined Finite Element Models
which may suitably take into account the above listed issues. Nevertheless, analytical and
semi-analytical model are still important to understand the relevance of complex phenomena
which characterise pipeline installation in very deep waters.
This paper discusses analytical models developed to analyse the static and dynamic
behaviour of a pipeline during J-lay operation, particularly:
- Static models based on the close-form solution of the elastica (inextensible,
unshearable beam) are briefly introduced and discussed.
- Finite difference-based techniques have been developed to determine the pipeline static
equilibrium configuration using large displacement-rotation theory of deflected beams.
- The dynamic equilibrium equation has been solved by using a perturbation technique.
The work presented in this paper has been carried out in the framework of the project
Ultra Deep Water Pipelines under the supervision of Snamprogetti and partially sponsored
by the ENI Group.

Fig. 1: Pipe laying in shallow and deep waters by S-lay and J-lay method


The structural modelling of the pipelaying operation is one of the first subjects developed
within the offshore pipeline engineering technologies and is reflected in Rules and
Normatives brought to light at the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s [1-2].
However, aspects concerning the lay criteria, mainly related to the acceptability of the
evaluated static and dynamic response, in terms of state of stress and strain, are not fully
clarified. Moreover, the minimum requirements for evaluating the response and the
approximation of the obtained results in a given specific scenario are not clearly defined.
Indeed, the acceptance of a proposed pipelay strictly depends, apart from the various limit
states and capacity strength recommended, on the laying scenario (shallow or deep waters,
small or large diameter pipe, light or heavy lines) and on the way in which the structural
integrity is assessed. These aspects are not of secondary concern as dynamic analysis is very
important especially in case of large diameter pipelines in deep waters in which the laybarge
has no supplementary pulling reserves to help the pipeline for a better dynamic response.

2.1. Modelling of Pipelay Statics

The assessment of the pipeline static equilibrium configuration and corresponding stresses
can be achieved by using the large displacement-rotation theory of deflected beams [3]. The
problem can be considered three-dimensional or two-dimensional (vertical plane only), the
latter being more rapid and of general use provided that the envisaged route is almost
rectilinear and cross currents are negligible. Numerical methods based on the finite element
formulation are usually preferred, but pure analytical methods were also developed. Two
numerical methods, considered the most efficient ones, are generally adopted at present.
One method consists in constructing the deflected shape of the pipe span starting from the
seabottom and growing gradually upwards by adding beam elements one at a time [4]. The
second method consists in a stepwise determination of the deflected pipe shape. The pipeline,
subdivided in finite elements, has an assumed horizontal starting position, at sea level or on
the seabed. The tension is then imposed and the submerged weight is gradually applied. Other
methods, based on a more general theory of large deflections and large rotations pipe-beam
modelling (Lagrangian, L-Updated, Mixed, etc.) to deal with the geometric nonlinearity, can
be used. However, their efficiency with respect to the ad-hoc formulation is far less. A series
of computer programs are currently available and represent a standard for calibration of new
computer programs and for design applications.
The basic equation giving the equilibrium configuration of a pipeline during laying subject
to its own weight is the following:

EI y
( )
N E y = ( w + A) 1 + y2 1/ 2 (1)

( )
1 + y 2 3/ 2

where EI is the pipe bending stiffness, y(x) the pipe deflected shape in the vertical plane, w
the pipe submerged weight per unit length, the specific gravity of seawater, A the pipe cross
section and NE the effective axial force which is constant for long sections of pipeline. The
non-linear equation is solved by successive calculation of the linearized system through
numerical methods (finite element method, finite difference methods, etc.).

2.2. Modelling of Pipelay Dynamics

Dynamic pipelaying analysis is necessary as the laybarge and the suspended span are subject
to the action of hydrodynamic loads due to waves and marine currents. The loading process
on the pipe is both direct and induced by the laybarge response mainly in pitch and heave
oscillations, transmitted to the pipeline through the lay ramp. The dynamic behaviour of a
pipeline during installation is mainly related to the laybarge response to wave action, as the
pipe is accompanied up to a certain water depth by the lay ramp and the effects of the direct
action of waves upon the suspended pipeline starts at a certain depth being therefore decayed
and of minor importance for the dynamic response.

Wave direction with respect to the lay heading has an important influence on the pipe
dynamic behaviour because the laybarge response to a given sea state is strictly dependant on
it. Indeed, the laybarge response in pitch is very significant for head seas, less important for
quartering seas and negligible for beam seas. Moreover, the pipeline response may be
different for waves coming from the bow of the laybarge with respect to waves coming from
its stern, due to the different combinations of pitch and heave motions dependent on their
phases with respect to the wave crest. Dynamic problems may also arise due to the vortex
shedding phenomena which can have very important effects upon the pipeline in some very
particular situations, however they are not considered within the present paper (see ref. [5-6]).
The modelling of the dynamic behaviour of a pipeline during installation is not simple as it
involves many non-linearities. Important are the ones due to the following:
- reaction between the pipeline and the last rollers of the stinger with an alternance of
impact (contact) and separation (no contact) periods;
- dead band at the tensioner which can be assimilated as a restraint in the axial direction
with a non-linear spring coupled with a viscous damper;
- fluid-pipe interaction;
- non-linearity of the relationship between the bending moment and the curvature for the
curved geometry envisaged during laying.
A linearization of the dynamic phenomena could be made acceptable e.g. in situations in
which the succession of pipe-roller impact and detaching is not so relevant and an almost
linear response of pipe section can be envisaged.
For shallow water depths, a simplified modelling could be successfully used. The
dynamics is studied for a pipe suspended span fixed or hinged or elastically restrained to the
sea bottom at one end and to the laybarge (lift-off point) at the other, excited by the laybarge
motions applied at one end [7-8]. This model can be applied successfully when dynamics
mainly affects (shallow waters) the suspended length and when critical pipe sections for both
statics and dynamics occur at the sagbend. In these cases, due to the slenderness of the lay
span, boundary conditions are of minor concern.
As concerns the dynamic behaviour of the pipeline in the proximity of the stinger exit,
which is usually the most critical zone in deep water-heavy pipe laying, a complete analysis is
required. The analysis of the dynamic behaviour is performed by using the numerical step-by-
step integration of the equations of motion. The application within this study were performed
by using in-house software based on this method. The integration of the equations of motion
is carried out at appropriate time steps and the response is calculated during each increment of
time for a linear system having the properties determined at the beginning of the interval. At
the end of the interval, the properties are modified to conform to the state of deformation and
stress at that time. Thus, the non-linear analysis is approximated as a sequence of analyses of
successively changing linear systems. The final scope of a dynamic pipelay analysis is usually
to predict a limit sea state for which the limit of resistance of the pipeline, as defined by the
accepted criteria for a given situation, is reached. Some other methods, e.g. frequency
domain, could also be used successfully in case linearization is reasonably applicable [9-10].


Several models have been developed for the suspended pipe span. First, the catenary model
was used: it gave a deformed shape very close to the one obtained from FEM analysis, but it
did not provide a direct assessment of the bending moment. A rough estimation could be
obtained by evaluating the bending along the pipeline axis and then using the flexural
stiffness to guess the moment [11]; a more refined model is obtained by treating the pipeline
like an elastica with no weight and an inflection point, which means that in the deformed
shape there is a point with zero curvature. In this model such point coincides with the ramp on
the vessel, point A in Fig. 2: so it is possible to assume that in this point the bending moment
is null. As a matter of fact, the tensioning system represents a fixed joint, but the high depth
of the sea gives little bending moment on the ramp, so it is possible to place in this point a
revolute joint (hinge).
The pipe span that is laid on sea bottom is modelled as a beam on elastic foundation,
adopting Winklers model: since its length is longer than the suspended pipe span, it can be
treated like an infinite length beam. Therefore, the boundary conditions can be directly
applied in B, by imposing the congruence of the displacements in the x1 direction and
imposing the continuity of internal actions by a flexural spring in the same point. It can be
supposed that the spring stiffness depends on pipeline and sea bed mechanical characteristics.
It is noted that this is a free boundary problem, since the length of the suspended pipe span is
not known a priori, but is part of the solution.
It is assumed that the loads acting on the suspended pipeline during the laying operation
are the gravitational and hydrostatic forces and no torsional moment is applied: so the
problem can be reduced to a bidimensional one and referred to a fixed plane frame [12].
Furthermore, Archimedes buoyancy can also be looked like an effect lowering the weight of
the suspended pipeline, so that the effective axial force acting on the pipe can be computed.

Fig. 2: Free-body diagram for the suspended span

3.1. Model of elastica without weight

Besides the boundary conditions already discussed, the sea depth H and a set of values for the
angle of the pipeline leaving the stinger must be granted by the model. To work out the
solution, it is used an orthogonal frame x1-y1 with origin in the TDP, from where the
curvilinear abscissa s is measured. The geometric congruence conditions at point B require a
null height y1 and the same orientation angle of the pipeline span that is laid on sea bottom;
with this model there is a continuity of the moment in B, but not as well for the shear forces:
this is an intrinsic weak point of the model itself.
With reference to Fig. 2, it is possible to call R the force acting in A and in B and to
indicate with MB the bending moment acting in B; for each point of the curvilinear abscissa
that identifies the pipeline axis, it is also possible to define the angle as the angle between
the straight line tangent at the curvilinear abscissa in that point and the x1 axis. To grant the
equilibrium of the pipeline in a generic point defined by its curvilinear abscissa s, the
following equation must hold:

EJ = Ry1 M B (2)
If previous equation is differentiated with respect to s:
d 2 dy
EJ 2 = R 1 = R sin (3)
ds ds
and then integrated with respect to , it is obtained:
1 d
EJ + R cos = C (4)
2 ds
The solution of the previous equation (4) is obtained with the aid of the elliptic integrals
[13], that lead to the relation between and s; defining F as the elliptic integral of second kind
and W = 2 R EJ , the curvilinear abscissa is given by:

+ F cos ,
2 2 2
s= F cos , 2 4 1 + cos
W 1 + cos 2 1 + cos
where is the angle between the straight line tangent to the pipeline in the point with
curvilinear abscissa s and y1 axis. It is now possible to find the coordinates x1-y1 of each point
of the pipeline and the internal forces acting along the pipeline, N, T and M:
N = R cos T = R sin M = EJW cos cos (6-8)

3.2. Model of elastica with external loads

The analytic model developed so far is characterised by closed form solutions, that have been
duly worked out; unfortunately, when external loads are applied along the axis of the pipeline,
a closed form solution does not exist any more.
This is a strong limitation for the model, since the weight of the pipeline represents an
important kind load both in static and in dynamic analysis. Another system of forces acting
along the axis of the pipeline is the drag force provided by the marine streams. Defining U the
sea water velocity, the drag force Fd, with the same positive direction of water velocity, can
be split in two forces, acting along the pipeline and orthogonally to its axis. These forces are,
respectively [14]:
Fdt = 0.5 Ct De U t U t = 0.5 Ct DeU 2 cos 2 = f dt cos 2 (9)
Fdn = 0.5 Cn De U n U n = 0.5 Cn DeU 2 sin 2 = f dn sin 2 (10)
The pipeline is not deformable by axial forces or by shear forces, so the equilibrium
equation [15-16] becomes, see Fig. 3:
dH dV
+ Fdn sin + Fdt cos = 0 Fdn cos q + Fdt sin = 0 (11-12)
ds ds
H sin +V cos = 0 (13)
If the following equations are added to the system (11-13):
= M = EJ (14-15)
2 2
dy dx dy dx
= sin = cos + =1 (16)
ds ds ds ds

a new differential algebraic system of 6 equations in 6 unknowns is obtained, that can be
solved by numerical methods; therefore, at each point s of the curvilinear abscissa, the values
for M, H, V, x, y, can be worked out.

Fig. 3: Forces acting on an elementary segment of the pipeline, including hydrodynamic forces

3.3. Formulation of the dynamic problem

For the setting of the dynamic problem, an approach derived from the perturbation theory has
been used, then the outcoming model has been solved by means of a finite differences
algorithm. As a starting point, the static model derived in previous section is considered, then
the inertial effects are added on [17]. Such a scheme would imply the solution of a set of
partial differential equations: anyway, since just little perturbations are admitted, it is
assumed that the dynamic solution differs from the static one, already known, only for a little
oscillatory term; in such a way, the problem is turned into the mere determination of the
amplitude of the oscillation and therefore it is still possible to integrate the system in the
spatial variable only.
Let y 0 be the static solution; the dynamic solution is then searched in the following form:
y = y 0 + y sin ( t ) (17)
It can be thought of the new model as if at every point of the spatial mesh along the
pipeline the unknown variables oscillate about the static solution with angular frequency .
The amplitude of the perturbation y is assumed to be small (i.e. <<1) so that the
polynomial expansion can be halted at the first order terms [18]. Such a technique can be used
only if the excitation angular frequency does not correspond to a natural frequency of the
pipeline; if such a condition is verified, a set of ordinary differential equations is obtained, the
amplitude vector , containing all the amplitude components y , being unknown.
The equilibrium equations are formally similar to Eqs. (11-16) also in the dynamic case,
except for the addition of an inertial term on the right hand side [18]:
FI = m1 2 + A [J + (U t )t ]
t dt
where r is the position vector of the pipe span, t is the unit vector tangent to the pipeline, J
is water flow velocity, U is relative velocity, m is pipe mass per unit length. The resulting
ordinary differential system takes the following expression:
x = cos y = sin EJ = H sin V cos = (19-22)
[ (
H = m1&x& A &x& cos2 2x&& cos sin + &y& sin cos + y&& cos2 sin2 )] (23)
[ ( )]
V = m1 &y& A &y&sin 2 + 2 y&& cos sin + &x&sin cos + x&& cos2 sin 2 + q (24)
where the prime sign () indicates derivation with respect to curvilinear abscissa s.

4.1. Statics
The system (11-16) of non-linear differential algebraic equations can not be solved in closed-
form due to the heavy coupling among them; the solution has been worked out through a
finite differences numeric scheme, after adimensionalisation. Figures 4a-4f show the
deformed shapes and bending moments for the same pipeline but plotted in case of different
stream velocities (considered positive if coherent with the x axis direction) for the most
common laying angles at vessels end.

(a) (b)

(c) (d)

(e) (f)

Fig. 4: Deformed shapes and moments obtained for different drag forces and for different angles at vessel

Previous plots of Fig. 4 clearly show the influence of the drag force generated by the
stream: a unit-force stream flowing in the same direction of laying progression yields a
decrease in the bending moment (and therefore in pipes stress state) while the lay barge goes
away from the TDP; on the other hand, if the current flows opposite the TDP gets closer to
the vessel but the bending moment is increased. The solutions obtained by the described
model have been compared with the output of a commercial FEM package, with a close
agreement as shown in Tab. 1.

F.E.M. Finite Difference

XTDP 580 m 579 m
TDP 0.032 0.032
MTDP 184 kNm 135 kNm
NTDP -5.81 MN -5.81 MN
TTDP -61.8 kN -58.9 kN
Mmax 2310 kNm 2180 kNm
X(Mmax) 95 m 99 m
NA 3.37 MN 3.11 MN
A 85.8 85.8
w.f.max 0.763 0.736
Tab. 1: Comparison between FEM and finite difference method results

4.2. Dynamics
To solve the differential system (19-24) by a finite differences scheme, the following
parameters are introduced [19]:
m 2 L m 2 L0 A 2 L A 2 L0
fa = 1 fi = 1 f ca = f ci = (25-28)
q q q q
and the following adimensional system is obtained:
~x = sin 0 ~y = cos 0 ~ = 0 (29-31)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ = p0 (H0 cos0 +V0 sin0 ) + p0 sin0H p0 cos0V + p(H0 sin0 V0 cos0 ) (32)
H = ~
x ( f i + f ci cos2 0 ) + f ci sin0 cos0 ~ [
y + fa ~
x0 + f ca (~
x0 cos2 0 + ~ ]
y0 sin0 cos0 ) (33)

x +[f ~ x sin cos )]

V = ~
y ( f i + f ci sin2 0 ) + f ci sin cos ~
0 0 y +f
a 0 ca (~
y sin + ~
0 0 0 0 (34)
Eqs. (29-34) represent an ordinary system of 6 linear differential equations in the 6
~ ~
unknowns ~ x , ~y , ~ , , H , V . The boundary conditions are the same already
defined in the static case, therefore, by using the linearization method introduced while
stating the equilibrium equations, the following boundary conditions are imposed:
~x1 = 0 ~y1 = 0 N +1 = 0 ~ N +1 = 0 (35-38)
Kt 4
~1 = 2 (L0 1 + L0 ) (39)
~ ~ ~ L ~
H N +1 cos + VN +1 sin = N N +1 N 0, N +1 (40)

where subscripts represent the node related to the indexed variable. The following Figs. 5 and
6 refer to a simulation case where the vessel has been subjected to a sinusoidal heave motion
with a period of 20 s and an amplitude of 10 m: pipeline response linearly depends on the
driving motion, since in test conditions the natural modes of the pipeline are not excited. In
particular, Fig. 5 plots the deformed shape of the pipeline close to TDP and near vessels end
in different time steps: it is apparent how TDP displacement closely follows vessels motion.
The bending moment in the sag bend is shown in Fig. 6 and is characterised by the same time
behaviour imposed by the motion of the vessel: the maximum value of 1 065 MNm is found at
t = 5 s in correspondence of the maximum vertical displacement of the vessel.

Fig. 5a: Pipeline deformed shape at different time Fig. 5b: Pipeline deformed shape at different time
steps near the TDP (note the different axes scale) steps near the vessel (note the different axes scale)

Fig. 6: Moment in the sag bend at different time steps


The solution obtained by integrating the elastica model with inflection point by means of the
finite differences scheme gives results that are comparable with the output of FEM packages,
both for the static and the dynamic cases. From the dynamic point of view, the approach
based on perturbation theory yields correct results whereas pipelines response can be
considered linear, i.e. in limited bandwidths far from natural frequencies: if such conditions
are satisfied, also in this case the results closely agree with other more sophisticated models.
It is noted that the proposed models do not consider any damping factors.
It must be stressed that in both cases computing times are one order of magnitude shorter
than the corresponding times of FEM simulation packages: this is an important result of the
work, in view of possible control applications; in fact, it could be very interesting to be able
to evaluate during laying the deformed shape of the suspended pipeline and therefore to
assess its stress state (particularly in the sag bend) at every instant, so as to be able to take
corrective actions tending to decrease pipe deformations that could possibly damage pipes
structure or limit its working conditions for all the possible lay configurations.
It is finally anticipated that the Authors are currently working out more sophisticated
models that are able to take damping into consideration as well as DAE models that integrate
the suspended pipe span and the pipeline laid on the bottom of the sea into one coherent
model, without any need for a separation in two parts, as done in the present work.


The authors would like to thank Snamprogetti and ENI for the fruitful cooperation and for the
permission to publish this paper.


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