A 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

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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, which 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 which 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 Testing (CPT), 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
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Early online date24 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Nov 2020


  • Cable
  • cable plough

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