This paper is a companion paper to OTC 28671, titled "Experience with Interface Shear Box Testing for Axial Pipe-Soil Interaction Assessment on Soft Clay", and presents a similar range of experience and best practice recommendations for geotechnical laboratory testing to determine soil properties relevant to pipeline-seabed friction on sandy seabeds. The paper is underpinned by a new database that demonstrates the driving parameters that influence interface friction in granular materials. By accurately quantifying shear resistance along the pipe-soil interface under low normal stresses imposed by subsea pipelines, design ranges in friction can be narrowed and/or tailored to specific pipeline conditions. These improved geotechnical inputs to pipe-soil interaction can alleviate unnecessary axial expansion mitigation and lateral stabilization measures, unlocking cost savings otherwise unavailable through conventional testing.

A large database is presented, compiled from both previously published research and unpublished recent industry experience with low normal stress interface shear testing using various modified direct shear box devices. The test database comprises several coarse-grained soil types of both silica and carbonate minerology tested against pipeline coatings of various material, hardness and roughness.

The database populates a framework for assessing frictional pipe-soil interaction response, illuminating key trends from normal stress, interface roughness and hardness, and particle angularity, which otherwise remain elusive when examined through individual test datasets. This database and the populated framework provides guidance to pipeline and geotechnical engineers in the form of a basis for initial estimates of axial and lateral friction of pipelines on sand and an approach for improving these estimates via focused site-specific testing.

The test database includes previously unreleased project data collected over the past few years for offshore oil and gas projects. Similar to its predecessor paper on soft clays (OTC 28671), this paper shares the authors’ collective experience providing guidance on the planning, execution and interpretation of low stress interface shear tests in sands. The combined databases across both papers provide a significant improvement in early stage guidance for characterization of geotechnical soil properties for subsea pipeline design.

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