C.L. Ngo-Tran

Doctor of Philosophy, Brasenose College, University of Oxford, Michaelmas Term 1996

The Analysis of Offshore Foundations Subjected to Combined Loading


This thesis is concerned with four different types of offshore foundations, namely gravity foundations, jack-up foundations, the mudmats for piled jacket structures and caisson foundation for jacket structures. In most applications, these can be idealised as circular rigid foundations. Unlike onshore foundations, offshore foundations are subjected to large horizontal and moment loads. This research used the finite element method to examine the elastic behaviour and stability of circular footings under combined loading. Due to the circular shape of the footings and the combination of vertical, horizontal and moment loads, three dimensional finite element analysis was used.

In-depth analyses of the elastic behavior of circular footings under combined loading (V,H,M) were performed. The vertical stiffness coefficient was investigated using two dimensional axi-symmetric analyses whereas three dimensional analyses were used to examine the other coefficients. Different features of offshore foundations such as footing embedment and cone angle were taken into consideration. Based on the numerical results, a set of empirical expressions for elastic stiffness coefficient was derived.

For footing stability calculations, large horizontal or moment loads can cause the footing to lose contact with the soil, or cause the footing to slide relative to the soil. In finite element analyses, this loss of contact and sliding are modelled by interface elements. A new zero-thickness iso-parametric interface element was formulated for both two and three dimensional analyses. An exact close formed solution for integration of the stress-strain relationship (for the two dimensional interface element) was found. The element is then used to explore footing stability. It was shown that by using a yield criteria which allows the interface to behave as either frictional or cohesive interface, depending upon the normal stress, numerical stability is achieved.

The footing stability was examined by establishing the bearing capacity envelope. The envelopes for footings on undrained clays were established for surface flat strip footings and for surface flat circular footings. The effects of soil strength varying with depth, cone angle and embedment on the bearing capacity envelope were also investigated.

Thesis (7.70MB, pdf)

This thesis can also be downloaded from the ORA website