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Multiphysics Simulation: An IEEE Spectrum Insert
Manager’s Guide

Analysis of Subsea Umbilicals and Cables

Tim Poole, JDR Cables, Cambridgeshire, UK
Mark Yeoman, Continuum Blue, Hengoed, UK

JDR Cables designs-to-spec and manufactures subsea umbilical systems of cables and reelers for the oil and gas and renewable energy industries. In these designs, the harsh environments of deep water pressure, wind and waves, as well as the rough ocean floor must all be considered, along with the forces acting on cables from being pulled and deployed through tight-radius reels. A challenge for Tim Poole of JDR Cables, and Mark Yeoman of COMSOL Certified Consultant, Continuum Blue, has been to do this in systems where over 3,000 localized regions of high contact have been identified.

They turned to COMSOL Multiphysics to perform the local stress, fatigue and thermal analyses. Firstly, they created 3D cable structures with a proprietary program and included it through COMSOL’s Livelink™ for MATLAB®.

From here, they could explore many loading conditions on various cable designs, and compare the results in a very short space of time. Their models cost half as much as physical testing, and led to reductions in manufacturing costs.

An umbilical cable on a drum ready to be placed on a ship for deployment