Continuous current action on risers develops vortices. These vortices cause risers to respond in a dynamic manner, leading to relatively large oscillations in the flexural and circumferential stresses. Vortex-induced vibration (VIV) and the resulting changes in the level of stresses in a riser could therefore cause detrimental fatigue induced problems, ranging from leakage to catastrophic failure of the riser. As a result, the VIV induced fatigue has always been a critical parameter in the design of risers, particularly when considering risers in deep waters. An experimental investigation into the fatigue crack propagation was conducted using a series of field data obtained on the high mode vibration of a relatively long flexible model riser. The field test data clearly illustrated the variable amplitude nature of the loading imposed on the riser by the current profile. There are currently several methods available for consideration of the crack growth rate due to overload and/or underloads; however, none has been developed based on data obtained for an actual riser. Indeed, fatigue experimental data on risers subject to VIV are relatively scarce in the literature. In this study the influence of the different harmonics resulting from VIV on the overall fatigue damage of the material is investigated. It is shown that the available basic approaches for assessing the fatigue crack propagation of components under variable amplitude loadings may significantly underestimate the VIV-induced fatigue damage of risers.

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