This paper presents a time-domain S-N fatigue analysis and an approach to reliable and robust engineering criticality assessments to supplement or provide an alternative to S-N fatigue assessments of offshore platform structures based on time domain structural response analysis. It also provides recommendations for industry standards to improve guidance for structural integrity assessments of offshore platforms using fracture mechanics.
Demand continues to grow in the offshore industry to attain value from captured operational data for a number of purposes, including the reduction of uncertainties in structural integrity assessments during design and over the operational lifetime of floating offshore platforms. Recent advances in time domain structural analysis technology demonstrate substantially more accurate assessments of non-linear platform loadings and responses with enhanced computational efficiency. The current S-N approach for fatigue design and integrity assessments calculates a fatigue damage factor that does not address how loading occurs over time (ABS, DNVGL-RP-C203).
For the present study, engineering criticality assessments (ECAs) based on fracture mechanics theory (BS 7910) are applied utilizing time-domain loading information theory. The ECA returns the smallest initial flaws that can grow to a critical size during a design lifetime, which can serve as an indicator of acceptability during design, a technical basis for in-service inspection intervals and facilitates asset integrity and life extension assessments. Critical initial flaws are calculated using the Paris Law (BS 7910) and cumulative fatigue crack growth in two ways: with and without an integrated and consistent check for fracture instability. The results are compared with those from S-N fatigue analyses and recommendations are provided.