This paper presents the fatigue evaluation of a flexible riser subjected to bi-modal sea states, where the local wind and swell conditions act simultaneously, and is observed in many offshore regions including Brazil and West Africa. Due to the irregularity of the riser responses, the traditional, regular wave approach for assessing the fatigue damage of a flexible pipe cannot be applied without significant simplifications. A typical deviation would be to treat the combined swell and wind conditions at sea as two sets of separate cases. The regular wave approach can then be applied and the summation of the damage of both cases defined as the final damage of the pipe.
As an alternative, this paper presents a more theoretically accurate irregular wave approach. The entire irregular wave simulation was first performed using the commercial software, OrcaFlex™, together with a tensile wire stress model developed in-house. The model implements the pipe bending hysteresis behavior during dynamic excitation, producing corresponding time history stress results, which are used to assess the fatigue damage using a rain-flow counting method. Two case studies are presented, the first being a dynamic simulation performed with two wave trains generated based respectively on the given swell and wind sea spectrums. In the second case study, a single wave train is generated based on the combined spectrum of the swell and wind sea states. Both results are compared with those obtained by the traditional regular wave approach and a preferred analysis method is recommended based on the conservatism and time efficiency.