Analytical formulations are presented to determine the bending moment-curvature relationship of a helical layer in unbonded flexible pipes. Explicit expressions describing the variation of both bending stiffness and moment as a function of the applied curvature are given. The approach takes into account the nonlinearity of the response caused by the interlayer slip. The contribution of local bending and torsion of individual helical elements to the bending behavior of helical layers is included. Theoretical results for a typical unbonded flexible pipe using the nonlinear formulation for helical layers are compared with experimental data from the available literature. Encouraging correlations are found and the importance of the initial interlayer pressures is seen. The influence of local bending and torsion of individual helical elements on the bending behavior of the entire pipe is also evaluated. The results show that the inclusion of this local behavior significantly influences the full-slip bending stiffness.

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