Strain prediction is a preliminary requirement for the strain based design of arctic pipelines subject to frost heave. It involves modeling of thermal, geotechnical and mechanical of both pipe and soil behaviors. The objective is to predict frost heave and the consequences on pipeline stress-strain state.

This study involves the development of three numerical models: a geothermal model to simulate the heat transfer processes in the soil; a frost heave model to simulate the coupled heat transfer and displacement of soil; and a pipe-soil interaction model to calculate the pipe stresses and strains due to soil displacement. The frost heave prediction in the present study is based on two-dimensional finite element (FE) calculations integrating the so-called “porosity rate function”. The advantage of this approach over the other models stems from a formulation consistent with continuum mechanics.

The frost heave model is first validated with literature data. Then, calculations are performed to predict the heat transfer, frost heave, and pipe strain under design configurations and conditions.

This study presents a good application of porosity rate function in pipeline engineering design. The developed models can be further used to investigate different design options of a chilled pipeline buried in the Arctic environment.

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