The MUFFINS project assembles a multidisciplinary team from Newcastle University, Imperial College London, Glasgow University, industrial partners including BP, Chevron, TOTAL and TechnipFMC, who are members of the Transient Multiphase Flow and Flow Assurance Consortium (TMF), Wood, Xodus, Orcina and TNO in the Netherlands, and an academic partner, the National University of Singapore, to develop the next generation of pioneering technologies and cost-efficient tools for the safe, reliable and real-life designs of subsea systems, such as flowlines, pipelines, risers, jumpers and manifolds, transporting multiphase hydrocarbon liquid-gas flows and subject to internal/external hydrodynamic excitations.
The proposed framework will specifically address fundamental and practical challenges in areas of internal multiphase flow-induced vibration (MFIV), in combination with external flow vortex-induced vibration (VIV), whose fatigue damage effects due to complicated fluid-structure interaction mechanisms can be catastrophic and result in costly production downtime. From a practical viewpoint, liquid-gas slug flows induced by the pipe geometry, the seabed topography or the thermo-physic-hydrodynamic instability, are common and problematical. Such flows have a highly complex hydrodynamic nature as the different mechanical properties of the deformable and compressible phases cause spatial and temporal variability in the combination and interaction of the interfaces. Subsea layout architecture, operational lifetime and environmental conditions can all affect the flow-pipe interaction patterns.
Nevertheless, reliable practical guidelines and systematic framework for the response, stress and fatigue assessments of subsea structures undergoing MFIV do not exist. Greater complexities and unknowns arise when designing these structures subject to the combined MFIV and VIV. Through this integrated project combining modelling, simulation and experiment, high-fidelity three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics are being performed, and a hierarchy of innovative and cost-efficient reduced-order models are being developed to capture vital multiple MFIV and VIV effects, providing significant insights into detailed flow features and fluid-structure coupling phenomena. Validation, verification, uncertainty and reliability analyses will be carried out by comparing numerical results with experimental tests and available industrial data to improve confidence in identifying the likelihood of fatigue failure and safety risks. Computationally-efficient tools and open-source codes will be advanced and utilised by industry and worldwide researchers. The project also aims to minimise uncertainties in MFIV-VIV predictions associated with the multi-scale multi-physics fluid-elastic solid interactions, ultimately delivering improved design optimisation and control of the most efficient multiphase flow features.
The MUFFINS project will deliver the maximum benefits to and security of global oil and gas energy by means of cutting-edge technologies, cost-efficient tools and recommended guidelines to significantly improve the integrity, reliability and safety of subsea systems transporting multiphase flows.