The most common ways of installing flexible pipes for offshore hydrocarbon extraction involve equipment called tensioners, which radially compress the flexible pipe and thus allow a smooth and safe launch, without the unexpected slip of the pipe. The crush test is performed to determine the suitability of a flexible pipe’s design to the loads imposed by the tensioners, combining radial and axial loads to simulate the predicted installation conditions.
To perform the crush test in full-scale, Símeros has a modular test bench with installed capacity of applying radial loads up to 225 tonne (2,250 kN) and axial loads of up to 1,400 tonne (14,000 kN). The system can be adapted to the client’s needs, being able of applying the radial load in 2 or 4 points, use of pads similar to those used in the actual installation tensioner and modifying the bench’s length to suit the length of the sample. The acquisition of the applied loads, both radial and axial, is done via load cells in all hydraulic actuators installed in the system, thus allowing a more precise load control and more reliable data for later analysis.
Símeros also has ancillary equipment that aims to extract the maximum amount of relevant data during the tests. Recently, we developed a pig type equipment for pipe inspection to evaluate the internal profile of the flexible pipe as the crush loads are applied, providing important information such as the variation of the internal diameter as well as the ovalization of the sample’s section.