Discrete element method simulations of offshore plate anchor keying behavior in granular soils

L. Zhang, N. Zhang, S. Zhao, T. M. Evans, Y. Du
Taylor & Francis
Marine Georesources & Geotechnology
Discrete Element Method (DEM), Granular material, Numerical analysis, Offshore anchors, Rotation

The keying mechanism of plate anchors (PLA) embedded into granular sandy soils is investigated in this work using the discrete element method (DEM) modeling to simulate microscale response and to observe the emergent macroscale behavior. Parameters (e.g., padeye eccentricity, loading direction) that influence anchor keying are analyzed in the simulations. The load-displacement response and embedment losses during keying are evaluated and compared to published experimental results from the literature. The keying mechanism of the PLA for different padeye eccentricities and loading directions are investigated. The DEM results are found to have the same trends as published experimental results. The embedment loss has a bilinear response with the padeye eccentricity which is in accordance with the experimental results reported in the literature. Embedment losses increase linearly with increasing loading directions. Microscale observations of mobilized particle friction, particle rotation, contact force network, and steering coefficient during keying are used to provide insights into the keying mechanisms. The potential for particle mobilization is reached more quickly for the larger padeye eccentricities. The particle rotation is the major keying mechanism for all the cases in the simulations. Finally, the granular assembly adjacent to the PLA is steering from horizontal to vertical for all padeye eccentricities.

Keywords: Offshore anchors, granular material, discrete element method (DEM), rotation, numerical analysis

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