Static Stability of Tension Leg Platforms
The static stability of a Tension Leg Platform (TLP) with an intact tendon system is principally provided by its tendons and hence quite different from those of a conventional ship or even a floating structure positioned by its mooring system. Because small deformations in tendons are capable of providing sufficient righting moment to a TLP, the contribution from the inclination of its hull is relatively insignificant, especially when its tendon system is intact. When the tendon system of a TLP is completely damaged, the static stability of a TLP behaves and is calculated in a similar manner as those of a conventional ship. In the case of a TLP with a partially damaged tendon system, the stability of a TLP may be provided by the deformation of its tendons and to a certain extent the inclination of its hull. Several hurricanes in recent years have raised concerns about the feasibility and the robustness of the TLP concept in the deep water Gulf of Mexico. To the best of our knowledge, existing publications on the research of static stability of TLPs are limited. This study investigates the static stability of different types of TLPs representing those deployed in the Gulf of Mexico, under three different scenarios. That is, a TLP with 1) an intact tendon system, 2) a partially damaged tendon system, and 3) a completely damaged tendon system. The four different types of TLP chosen for this study are 1) a conventional four-leg TLP, 2) three-leg mini TLP, 3) extended four-leg TLP and 4) mini four-leg TLP. To avoid buckling and yielding occurring in a tendon, we define that the maximum righting moment provided by an intact or partially damaged tendon system is reached when the tension in one or more tendons on the down tension leg becomes zero or when the tension in one or more tendons on the up tension leg starts to yield. This definition leads us to identify the most dangerous (or vulnerable) directions of met-ocean conditions to a TLP with an intact or partially damaged tendon system. Hence, our finding may also be used in the study on the pitch/roll dynamic stability of a TLP. The righting moments of each TLP in the three different scenarios are respectively computed and compared with related wind-induce static upsetting moment at certain velocities. By comparing their ratios, the static stability of a TLP and the redundancy of its tendon system may be revealed, which has important implication to the design of a TLP.
Xu, Ning (2009). Static Stability of Tension Leg Platforms. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from