Mechanical Behavior of Syntactic Foams for Deep Sea Thermally Insulated Pipeline
Ultra Deep offshore oil exploitation (down to 3000 meters depth) presents new challenges to offshore engineering and operating companies. Flow assurance and particularly the selection of insulation materials to be applied to pipe lines are of primary importance, and are the focus of much industry interest for deepwater applications. Polymeric and composite materials, particularly syntactic foams, are now widely used for this application, so the understanding of their behavior under extreme conditions is essential. These materials, applied as a thick coating (up to 10-15 cm), are subjected in service to: - high hydrostatic compression (up to 30 MPa) - severe thermal gradients (from 4°C at the outer surface to 150°C at the inner wall), and to high bending and shear stresses during installation. Damageable behavior of syntactic foam under service conditions has been observed previously  and may strongly affect the long term reliability of the system (loss of thermal properties).This study is a part of a larger project aiming to model the in-service behavior of these structures. For this purpose it is important to identify the constituent mechanical properties correctly [2, 3]. A series of tests has been developed to address this point, which includes: - hydrostatic compression - shear loading using a modified Arcan fixture This paper will describe the different test methods and present results obtained for different types of syntactic foams.
R.A.W. Mines and J.M. Dulieu-Barton
D. Choqueuse et al., "Mechanical Behavior of Syntactic Foams for Deep Sea Thermally Insulated Pipeline", Applied Mechanics and Materials, Vols. 24-25, pp. 97-102, 2010