Modelling Seabed Ploughing Using the Material Point Method

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)
211 Downloads (Pure)


Ploughing of the seabed is needed for the installation of cables and pipelines and is an area of construction likely to increase given plans in the UK and elsewhere for offshore marine energy (wind and tidal). Seabed ploughing is an expensive and sometimes risky operation for which there are limited guidelines as to what the tow force and speed is for an expected trenching profile within a specified ground condition. Most ploughing schemes are designed using semi-empirical approaches, with very few computational tools able to take into account the geometric and material nonlinearity inherited by the ploughing problem. In this paper we describe how the Material Point Method (MPM) is being used as a numerical tool to model seabed ploughing with the aim of providing an improved predictive tool for the future, via an EPSRC-funded research project at Durham and Dundee Universities. Various issues are discussed in the paper including the means of modelling moving essential boundaries and the choice of basis functions, and this new method in MPM is demonstrated on a simple ploughing problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalProcedia Engineering
Early online date27 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Essential boundary conditions
  • Material point method
  • Offshore geotechnics
  • Ploughing

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  • Projects

    Research Output

    • 3 Citations
    • 5 Conference contribution
    • 1 Paper
    • 1 Article

    Comparative Assessment of Pipeline Plough Performance Prediction Models Against Field Experience in Sand

    Brunning, P., Ashton, G., Brown, M., Robinson, S. & Lauder, K. D., 2020, Proceedings of the 30th International Ocean and Polar Engineering Conference. International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers, 7 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  • Centrifuge testing to verify scaling of offshore pipeline ploughs

    Robinson, S., Brown, M., Matsui, H., Brennan, A., Augarde, C. E., Coombs, W. M. & Cortis, M., 14 Nov 2019, In : International Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics. 19, 6, p. 305-317 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)
    187 Downloads (Pure)

    Investigation into the effect of plough share leading edge geometry on cable plough performance

    Matsui, H., Robinson, S., Brown, M., Brennan, A., Augarde, C. & Coombs, W. M., 14 Oct 2019, Proceedings of the 16th Asian Regional Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. Southeast Asian Geotechnical Society, 4 p. JGS-045

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Open Access
  • Activities

    • 2 Invited talk
    • 1 Hosting an academic visitor

    UPC Barcelona, Physical modelling insights into the performance of offshore pipeline and cable ploughs

    Michael Brown (Invited speaker)

    11 Apr 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    Hidetake Matsui

    Michael Brown (Host)

    1 Mar 201730 Mar 2018

    Activity: Hosting a visitor typesHosting an academic visitor

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