Pipeline plough performance in sand waves. Part 1: model testing

Mark Fraser Bransby, Michael Brown, Andrew Hatherley, Keith Lauder

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Offshore pipelines are often buried in the seabed by ploughing a trench,
    placing the pipe at the base, and then backfilling. The ploughing
    operation is critical in terms of cost and project time, with increased
    risk due to uncertain soil conditions or geohazards. One problem that
    can be encountered is the presence of sand waves or megaripples on the
    seabed surface. This may affect the progress of the plough, prevent the
    plough from generating a level trench or modify the size of the spoil
    heaps for backfilling. These aspects have been investigated by
    conducting a series of small-scale model tests in the laboratory. These
    have revealed information about the plough kinematics and the resulting
    trench conditions when ploughing in sand waves with different
    wavelengths and amplitudes. It is shown that it may be possible to
    plough through regions of sand waves and estimate likely plough
    performance by knowing the sand wavelength and amplitude relative to the
    plough size.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)49-64
    Number of pages16
    JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Pipeline ploughs
    • Seabed
    • Megaripples
    • Sand waves
    • Trench depth
    • Drag forces


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