A cone penetration test (CPT) approach to cable plough performance prediction based upon centrifuge model testing

Scott Robinson (Lead / Corresponding author), Michael Brown, Hidetake Matsui, Andrew Brennan, Charles Augarde, William M. Coombs, Michael Cortis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
230 Downloads (Pure)


Cable ploughing is an important technique for burying and protecting offshore cables. The ability to predict the required tow force and plough performance is essential to allow vessel selection and project programming. Existing tow force models require calibration against full-scale field testing to determine empirical parameters, a requirement that may hinder their use. In this study the factors controlling the plough resistance were investigated using a series of dry and saturated 1/50th scale model cable plough tests in sand in a geotechnical centrifuge at 50g at a range of target trench depths, sand relative densities, and plough velocities. An improved model for predicting cable plough tow force that separates out the key components of resistance and allows tow force prediction without the use of field-derived empirical coefficients is presented. It is demonstrated that the key parameters in this model can be easily determined from in situ cone penetration tests (CPTs), allowing it to be used offshore where site investigation techniques may be more limited compared to onshore locations. The model is validated against the centrifuge cable plough tests, demonstrating it can correctly predict both the static (dry) and rate effect (saturated) tow forces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1466-1477
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number10
Early online date23 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Cable
  • cable plough
  • Offshore
  • Cable ploughing
  • Sand
  • Rate effects
  • Cone penetration test (CPT)
  • Centrifuge modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A cone penetration test (CPT) approach to cable plough performance prediction based upon centrifuge model testing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this