Offshore Technology Research Center


OTRC Project Summary

Project Title:

A Laboratory for Measuring the Axial and Lateral Load Capacity of Model Suction Caissons

Prinicipal Investigators:

Roy Olson and Alan Rauch


Minerals Management Service and Industry Consortium

Completion Date:

December, 2001

Final Report ID#

B110(Click to view final report abstract)

Note: This study was part of a broader project Suction Caissons: Model Tests (MMS Project #362)

Rational design work requires verified analytical methods for computing caisson capacity. However, lacking sufficient data on measured capacity in representative soils, it is not possible to have confidence in any method for estimating axial or lateral capacity of suction caissons. Model tests are one way to get performance data to support the development of better methods of analysis.

Accordingly, a facility for testing the axial and lateral capacity of suction caissons has been built at the University of Texas at Austin. Model tests are conducted in a normally consolidated kaolinite clay deposit that is 3.5 to 4.0 ft thick. The facility is capable of measuring lateral and axial caisson capacity on a model that is 4 inches in diameter and 36 inches long. Applied loads, caisson rotation, displacement, and pore water pressures on the caisson and in the surrounding soil are measured using electronic instrumentation and a computerized data acquisition system. The construction and instrumentation of this facility is presented in this report.

A summary of the material properties of the soil test bed is also included in this report. A profile of the soil unit weight in the tank was determined using a miniature piston sampler. The undrained shear strength of the soil was determined using a T-bar penetrometer. The soil data are used to interpret capacity tests performed with the model caisson.

Related Publications: Rauch, A. F., R. E. Olson, A. M. Luke, and E. C. Mecham (2003), “Measured Response During Laboratory Installation of Suction Caissons”, International Symposium on Offshore and Polar Engineering, Honolulu, Hawaii, p. 780-787

Luke, A. M., A. F. Rauch, R. E. Olson, and E. C. Mecham (2003), “Behavior of Suction Caissons Measured in Laboratory Pullout Tests”, Proc. OMAE03, 22nd International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering, Cancun, Mexico, Paper 37023

Olson, R. E., A. F. Rauch, A. M. Luke, D. R. Maniar, J. T. Tassoulas, and E. C. Mecham (2003), “Soil Reconsolidation Following Installation of Suction Caissons”, Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, paper 15263

Luke, A. M., A. F. Rauch, R. E. Olson, and E. C. Mecham (2003), “Components of Suction Caisson Capacity Measured in Axial Pullout Tests”, Deepwater Mooring Systems: Concepts, Design, Analysis and Materials, OTRC (Offshore Technology Research Center) Specialty Conference, Houston, TX

Olson, R. E., A. F. Rauch, E. C. Mecham, and A. M. Luke (2003), “Self-Weight Consolidation of Large Laboratory Deposits of Clay”, Proc., 12th PanAmerican Conf. on Soil Mech. and Geot. Engr., MIT, Vol. 1, pp. 703-708

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