A study of the break-out factor (Nc) for plate anchors is presented in this paper. Comparisons among finite element method (FEM) analysis and laboratory results were performed. A soil corresponding to a soft normally consolidated clay was considered. Numerical FEM analyses were performed with the Plaxis® code, using an elasto-plastic model with a Mohr-Coulomb criterion. Undrained soil parameters and an adhesion factor α = 1 were used. Values of Nc factor for axisymmetric and 2D FEM were obtained. Two geometries considering a perpendicular load applied in the anchor area and horizontal anchor position to different depths were studied. In the same way, anchor plates to a reduced scale were tested in a tank containing a soft soil. It was verified that the factors Nc reach constant values beyond a determined depth of the soil. Finally, the experimental and numerical values were compared with suggested methods reported in the literature.

1. Introduction

Plate anchors are frequently used as foundation solutions for offshore structures to transmit forces to surrounding soils at various depths. The capacity estimation of the anchor is nevertheless uncertain insofar as there are factors that have a large influence in its behaviour. Examples of such factors include the installation process, soil characteristics, geometry of plates and large numbers of methods used to calculate the holding capacity of the anchors. In this context, this paper presents a study of Nc values, obtained from axisymmetric and plane strain finite element model (FEM) simulations done in Plaxis® code. In addition, it outlines the results of scaled-down plate anchors tested in the laboratory. In both cases, the soil considered was soft clay with deepwater sediment characteristics. The description of specific FEM analyses and laboratory test characteristics taken into account are described. Comparisons with expressions found in literature were made.

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