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IADC/SPE 87205

Helical Buckling of Pipe with Connectors and Torque
Robert F. Mitchell/Landmark Graphics and Stefan Miska, University of Tulsa

Copyright 2004, IADC/SPE Drilling Conference
This paper was prepared for presentation at the IADC/SPE Drilling Conference held in Dallas,
Texas, U.S.A., 2–4 March 2004.
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paper, as presented, have not been reviewed by the International Association of Drilling
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considered in the plane buckling analysis are used, but now
there are deflections out of the plane. A solution for helical
buckling is developed that produces pipe sag, maximum
dogleg angle, contact force, and bending stress magnification
as a function of pipe effective axial force and torque. An
application problem is solved and the relative effects of
compressive axial force and torque on sag between
connectors, contact loads, and maximum bending stress are
examined.
Applications include the analysis of bottom hole
assemblies, drill pipe, casing, and tubing. The solutions are
simple enough that they are suitable for spreadsheet
calculations.

Abstract
It has been generally recognized that connectors
should have some effect on the buckling of pipe. For instance,
the connector outside diameter may be as much as 50%
greater than the pipe body diameter. As a result, the radial
clearance of the connector can be substantially smaller than
the radial clearance of the pipe body.
The analysis of buckling has received extensive
attention in the last 20 years. The effect of connectors on pipe
stresses has received somewhat less attention. Lubinski used
the beam-column equations to analyze the effect of connectors
on pipe bending stresses for a pipe in tension in a twodimensional constant curvature wellbore. Bending stresses
were significantly magnified by the connector stand-off.
Paslay and Cernocky completed this analysis by analyzing the
pipe in compression. Mitchell extended these results to threedimensional helical buckling.
Torque adds a new dimension to the buckling
problem. Without torque, buckling occurs only for positive
effective axial force (compressive axial force plus pressure
effects). A pipe with applied torque can buckle in tension! The
contact force between pipe and wellbore can be increased or
decreased, depending on the direction of the applied torque.
And, of course, pipe used in rotary drilling always has applied
torque; so buckling analysis without torque is always
questionable.
This paper looks at three-dimensional buckling of
pipes with connectors with applied torque. The problem
formulation is similar to Lubinski’s buckling analysis: the
wellbore is vertical and straight. The beam-column equations

Introduction
Clearly, connectors should have an effect on the
buckling of pipe. For instance, since the connector outside
diameter may be as much as 50% greater than the pipe body,
the wellbore radial clearance of the connector can be
substantially smaller than the radial clearance of the pipe
body. Buckling criteria, such as the Paslay-Dawson formula,
depend on the radial clearance. Which radial clearance should
be used? Should it be the pipe body clearance or the connector
clearance? Further, there should be a measurable effect of
connectors on pipe stresses for axially loaded pipe.
There is limited analysis available on non-buckled
pipe with connectors. Lubinski used the beam-column
equations to analyze the effect of connectors on pipe bending
stresses for a pipe in tension in a two-dimensional constant
curvature wellbore1, and Paslay and Cernocky completed this
analysis by analyzing the pipe in compression2. Pipe was
found to be either suspended between connectors, in point
contact with the wellbore, or in wrap contact with the
wellbore, depending on the pipe tension. Bending stresses
were significantly magnified by the connector stand-off.
The first step in the analysis of three-dimensional
buckling of pipes with connectors was taken by Mitchell3. In
this problem a helical geometry, similar to Lubinski’s
buckling analysis for pipe without connectors4,5 was chosen.
The beam-column equations considered in the plane buckling
analysis1,2 were used, but now there were deflections out of
the plane. A solution for helical buckling was developed that
corresponded to Lubinski’s solution for low axial compression

2

IADC/SPE 87205

but produced pipe sag and bending stress magnification for
higher axial loads. Calculation results included connector
contact forces, bending stress magnification, maximum dogleg
angle, and pipe sag.

where:

M
F
M2
2
τ=
α = +
2EI
EI 4(EI )2

(3)

Equation (2) has the following solution:
The next step, three-dimensional buckling of a
horizontal well with lateral loads on the pipe, was also taken
by Mitchell6. Lateral buckling of the pipe was analyzed, with
critical loads for buckling initiation determined. Equilibrium
lateral deflections were determined, along with pipe sag
between connectors, bending stress, and contact loads.
Conditions for positive contact forces were determined and
compared to buckling criteria, such as Paslay-Dawson7.
The third logical step in the investigation of the effect
of connectors on pipe buckling was the introduction of
wellbore curvature8. As previously stated, a non-buckled pipe
in a curved wellbore had been studied both by Lubinski and by
Paslay 1,2. Only Paslay’s paper considered pipe in
compression, but in this case, he cautioned that the results
were contingent on no buckling taking place. In Mitchell’s
analysis, it was found that buckling caused the bending stress
magnification to change substantially. Conditions for positive
contact forces were also compared to buckling criteria for
curved wellbores, such as He-Kyllingstad and others9,10.
This paper adds the effect of torque to the type of
analysis done in reference 3.
At the end of this paper is a complete nomenclature
and reference list.

Buckling Models for Pipe with
Connectors
Beam-Column Solutions. The theoretical basis for the analysis
of buckling in vertical wellbores is described in this section.
Figure 1 illustrates the coordinate system used in this analysis.
Pipe deflections are in the “1” coordinate direction, which is
vertical in the Figure, and in the “2” coordinate direction, which
is lateral in the Figure. The axial coordinate, which is out of the
plane of the Figure, corresponds with pipe measured depth s.
The beam-column equations corresponding to this coordinate
system are:

EIu1iv + [Mu ′2′ ]′ + Fu 1′′ = w 1
EIu − [Mu 1′′]′ + Fu ′2′ = w 2
iv
2

(1)

where ui is the deflection in the ith coordinate direction, F is the
axial buckling compressive force, M is the applied torque,
derivatives( denoted by iv , ″ and ′) are with respect to s, and wi is
the distributed lateral load. For this particular problem, the
lateral loads are zero and the applied torque and axial forces
are constant. Equation (1) is rewritten in a more convenient
form:

u 1iv + 2τu ′2′′ + (α 2 − τ 2 )u 1′′ = 0
u iv2 − 2τu 1′′′ + (α 2 − τ 2 )u ′2′ = 0

(2)

u1 = a1 + b1s − cc sin(α1s) + cs cos(α1s)
+ dc sin(α 2s) + ds cos(α 2s)
u 2 = a 2 + b 2s + cc sin(α1s) + cs cos(α1s)

(3)

+ dc sin(α 2s) − ds cos(α 2s)
where:

α1 = α + τ , α 2 = α − τ
(4)
For two displacement equations, there are eight
undetermined constants, which can be used to satisfy boundary
conditions. The first boundary conditions we want to consider
are illustrated in Figure 2. In this Figure, the pipe connectors are
tangent to the borehole wall. The next step in resolving these
degrees of freedom is to connect one joint of pipe to another.
This relationship is shown in Figure 3. With two joints, the
number of degrees of freedom increases to 5. We can resolve
this increase of degrees of freedom by deciding to
approximate a constant pitch helix with a sequence of beamcolumn solutions. This “helical” beam has the following
properties:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

All connectors in full borehole contact
Constant pitch from connector to connector
Continuity of curvature at connectors
Continuity of shear tangent to borehole wall
Positive contact force between connector and wall
All pipe displacements within the borehole

Conditions 1-5 can be satisfied, surprisingly leaving a degree
of freedom. The details of this complex calculation are given
in Appendix A. For tubing and drillstring analysis, it is known
that terms of order higher than linear in τ can be neglected16,17.
Using this fact, the results in Appendix A can be simplified to
give:

u1 = rc {1 + c1[1 − cos(α o s)] + d1[α o s − sin(α o s)]
+ co2τ s[1 − cos(α o s)] − d o2τ s sin(α os)}
u 2 = rc {ε s / L + c 2 [1 − cos(α o s)] + d 2 [α o s − sin(α o s)]
+ c1oτ s[1 − cos(α o s)] + d1oτ s sin(α o s)}
(5)
where:

αo =

F
EI

Conditions 1-5 are satisfied for:

(6)

IADC/SPE 87205

3

ε x sin θ y(cosθ − 1)
+
D
D
ε y sin θ sin φ o (cosθ − 1)
+
d1o =
D
D
ε
φ
θ
+

[
y
x
(cos
1
)] y sin θ
o

c o2 =
D
D
ε
θ
φ
φ


[
y
(
1
cos
)
sin
]
sin φo sin θ
o
o
+
d o2 =
D
D
o
c1 = c1 +

The following solution to the beam-column equations
describes a helix:

c1o =

u 1h = rp cos( βs)

where rp is the radial clearance of the pipe body. This solution
requires that the wi are the contact forces:

w 1 = w N cos( βs)

τ
xy o y 2
+ c2 }
d1 = d1o + {d o2
αo
D
D
c 2 = c o2 +

φ 2 cos φo − sin 2 φ o
φ 2 sin φ o − y(φ o + sin φo )
τ
{−d1o o
− c1o o
}
αo
D
D
τ
xy o y 2
{−d1o
+ c1 }
αo
D
D

where:

(8)

D = x sin φ o − y 2
This notation was revised to correspond with the notation used
in reference 3. In all cases, the first term corresponds to the
zero torque solution, as given in reference 3. The slope ε is
constrained to be:

α y sin θ
φ 2 sin φ o − y(φ o + sin φ o )
ε= o
+ τ c1o o
De
De
φ 2 cos φo − sin 2 φ o
+ τ d1o o
De
D e = α o x (cosθ − 1) + y(α oφo + 2τ sin θ )
2
xy
o y
Pc = −Frc {α o d + τ [d
+ c 2 ( + 3)]}
D
D
o
2

EIβ 4 − Tβ 3 − Fβ 2 + w N / rp

. . . . .(13)

The constant β is undetermined by this analysis, other than the
requirement that the contact force wN be positive. We see that
for constant loads, the pitch of the helix is not determined by
equilibrium conditions. This is the same result we found for
the helical beam. Lubinski and Woods1 determined the pitch
of a helically buckled pipe through a virtual work analysis. If
we adopt the same approach, we can eliminate the last degree
of freedom in equations 7-11 (see Appendix B):

3T
F
⎛ 3T ⎞
β=
± ⎜
⎟ +
8EI
⎝ 8EI ⎠ 2EI
θ =βL

. . . . .(14)

Bending Stress Magnification. The solution for the constant
pitch helix, equation 11, gives a reference to compare the
bending stresses developed by equation 5. Bending moment is
given by the following equation:
Mi = EIui″, i=1,2

. . . . .(15)

From equation 5 we get the bending moments for the helical
beam:

M1 = EIrcα 12 [cc sin α 1s − cs cosα 1s]
(9)

− EIrcα 22 [dc sin α 2 s + ds cosα 2 s]
M 2 = − EIrcα 12 [cc cosα 1s + cs sin α 1s]

. . .(16)

− EIrcα 22 [dc cosα 2 s − ds sin α 2 s]

The contact force Pc is given by:
o
1

and that:

2

(7)

φo = α o L
x = φ o − sin φ o
y = 1 − cos φ o

. . . . .(12)

w 2 = w N sin( βs)

2
τ o sin 2 φ o − φ o2 cosφ o
o φ o sin φ o − y (φ o + sin φ o )
+ c2
{d 2
}
αo
D
D

d 2 = d o2 +

. . . . .(11)

u 2 h = rp sin( βs)

(10)

Clearly, the choice of θ is not arbitrary, or condition 5 will not
be satisfied by equation 10. However, is it reasonable that the
pitch of the helical beam with torque is not determined? To
answer this question, we will look at solutions of the beamcolumn equations for a pure helix with no connectors.

and from equation 11, using rc for rp, we get the bending
moments for the equivalent helix:

M1h = − EIrc β 2 cos βs
M 2 h = − EIrc β 2 sin βs

. . . . .(17)

Equation 16 can be simplified by neglecting of order τ2 or
higher:

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IADC/SPE 87205

M 1 = EIrcα o2 [d1sin α o s − c1cosα o s]

From this formulation we were able to develop bending stress
magnification factors (BSMF) relative to a pure helix and also
the contact force at the connectors.

+ EIrcτα o d o2 (2 cosα o s − α o s sin α o s)
− EIrcτα o c o2 (2 sin α o s + α o s cosα o s)

(18)

M 2 = EIrc [d 2 sin α o s − c2 cosα o s]
− EIrcτα o d 1o (2 cosα o s − α o s sin α o s)
− EIrcτα o c1o (2 sin α o s + α o s cosα o s)

The maximum bending stress is proportional to the bending
moment:

σb =

Md o
2I

. . . . .(19)

Therefore, the bending stress magnification factor (BSMF) is
the ratio of the magnitude of the helical beam bending
moment to the magnitude of the helix bending moment:

BSMF =

M12 + M 22
M12h + M 22 h

. . . . .(20)

The final requirement for this solution is that all pipe
displacements must stay within borehole. To evaluate this
requirement, we first calculate the magnitude of the radial
displacement of the pipe:

R (s) = u 12 (s) + u 22 (s)

Sample Calculations
Conclusions and Observations
The helical buckling of a beam with torque and connectors has
been formulated with the following features:

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

In previous connector models, the displacements were planar,
and the wellbore had non-zero planar curvature. Without
curvature, no bending stress would be generated. In contrast,
this model has three-dimensional displacements and can
develop bending stress in a wellbore without curvature.
The buckling model presented here is yet another step toward
a comprehensive model. In drillstrings, torque is often applied,
and a comprehensive model must account for its effects.
While the torque value is not large, it is usually desireable to
keep the axial force low or tensile, so the torque becomes
relatively more important. The analysis necessary for
understanding the effect of torque is given here.
In the analysis, it was found that the pitch of the helical beam
is not determined by the equilibrium equations, and that an
additional consideration was needed. The analysis of boundary
conditions at a packer or at the bit could help indicate the
actual pitch of the helical beam.

. . . . .(21)

We can define a dimensionless quantity R(s)/rc which we call
the “sag ratio” of the pipe. The sag ratio will generally be
greater than 1, but if this ratio exceeds rp/rc, where rp is the
radial clearance of the pipe body, then the pipe will touch the
borehole.

1.
2.

The helical beam was found to behave like a pure helix with
torque for low values of the axial buckling force, but to vary
more significantly for higher values. This explains the relative
success of the pure helix model to explain buckling behavior,
but limits the range of applicability of that model.
Conventional wisdom says that torque is negligible in
buckling analysis, but plausible values of torque do show
discernable effects.

The wellbore is straight and vertical.
Connectors are in full tangential contact with the borehole
wall.
The helical pitch is constant.
Beam bending moments are continuous at connectors.
Tangential shear is continuous at connectors.
Contact force between the wellbore and connectors is
positive.
Pipe displacements lie within the wellbore.

Nomenclature
dc= pipe connector diameter (in)
dh = borehole diameter (in)
do = pipe body outside diameter (in)
E = Young's modulus (psi)
EI = the tubular bending stiffness (lbf-in2)
F = the axial compressive buckling force(lbf)
F0 = central connector contact force (lbf)
F1 = displaced connector contact force (lbf)
Fp = the Paslay buckling force (lbf)
Fc = critical column buckling force (lbf)
I = moment of inertia (in4)
K=dimensionless curvature
L = the pipe joint length (ft)
M = bending moment (ft-lbf)
Mi = bending moment in the i direction (ft-lbf)
rp = the pipe body radial clearance (in)
rc= the connector radial clearance (in)
s = measured depth (ft)
t2, t3 = coefficients in displacement formula
we = effective buoyed lateral distributed load in the pipe (lbf/ft)
σb = bending stress
ξ = dimensionless length
θ = angle between the pipe center and the 1 coordinate axis

IADC/SPE 87205

φ=L√F/EI
φ0=initial buckling value of φ
κ=pipe curvature (feet-1)

5

14. Miska, Stephan and J. C. Cunha: “An Analysis of Helical
Buckling of Tubulars Subjected to Axial and Torsional
Loading in Inclined Wellbores,” SPE 29460 presented at
the 1995 Production Operations Symposium, Oklahoma
City, OK, (April 2-4, 1995).

References
1. Lubinski, A.: “Fatigue of Range 3 Drill Pipe,” Revue de
l’Institut Français du Pétrole, March-April, 1977, vol 32, 277011.
2.

Paslay, P. R. and E. P. Cernocky: “Bending Stress
Magnification in Constant Curvature Doglegs With Impact
on Drillstring and Casing,” SPE 22547 presented at the 66th
Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition of SPE,
Dallas, Texas, (October 1991).

3.

Mitchell, R. F.: “Helical Buckling of Pipe with Connectors
in Vertical Wells,” SPEDC (September 2000).

4.

Lubinski, A., Althouse, W. S., and Logan, J. L., “Helical
Buckling of Tubing Sealed in Packers,” JPT (June 1962),
655-670.

5.

Mitchell, R. F.: “Effects of Well Deviation on Helical
Buckling,” SPEDC (March 1997).

6.

Mitchell, R. F.: “Lateral Buckling of Pipe with Connectors
in Horizontal Wells,” SPEJ, Volume 8, No. 2, (June 2003).

7.

Dawson, Rapier and Paslay, P. R., “Drillpipe Buckling in
Inclined Holes,” JPT (October 1984).

8.

9.

Mitchell, R. F.: “Lateral Buckling of Pipe with Connectors
in Curved Wellbores,” SPEDC, Volume 18, No. 1, (March
2003).
He, X. and A. Kyllingstad: “Helical Buckling and Lockup Conditions for Coiled Tubing in Curved Wells,” SPE
25370 presented at the SPE Asia Pacific Oil and Gas
Conference and Exhibition, Singapore, (February 8-11,
1993).

10. Mitchell, R. F.: "A Buckling Criterion for ConstantCurvature Wellbores," SPEJ, (December 1999).
11. Greenhill, A. G.: “On The Strength of Shafting When
Exposed Both to Torsion and to Endthrust,” Proc. Inst.
Mech. Eng., London, (1883).
12. Timoshenko, Stephen P. and James M. Gere: Theory of
Elastic Stability, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York,
(1961).
13. Paslay, P. R.: “Stress Analysis of Drillstrings”, SPE
27976 presented at The University of Tulsa Centennial
Petroleum Engineering Symposium, Tulsa OK, (August
29-31, 1994).

15. Miska, Stefan and J. C. Cunha: “Helical Buckling of
Long Weightless Strings Subjected to Axial and
Torsional Loads,” presented at the Drilling Symposium
of the ASME Energy and Environment EXPO 95,
Houston, Texas, (January 29-February 1, 1995).
16. He, X., Halsey, G. W., and A. Kyllingstad: “Interactions
between Torque and Helical Buckling in Drilling,” SPE
30521 presented at the SPE ATCE, Dallas, Texas,
(October 22-25,1995).
17. Wu, Jiang: “Torsional Load Effect on Drill-String
Buckling,” SPE 37477 presented at the 1997 Production
Operations Symposium, Oklahoma City, OK, (March 911, 1997).
18. Crandall, Stephen H. and Dahl, Norman C. (ed.): An
Introduction to the Mechanics of Solids, McGraw-Hill
Book Company, (1959), 360-384.

Appendix A – Boundary Conditions
Equation (3) must satisfy the following boundary conditions at
s=0:

u 1 (0) = rc
u 1′ (0) = 0

u 2 (0) = 0
u ′2 (0) = rc ε / L

(A-1)

(the slope is written in this dimensionless form for later
convenience). When these boundary conditions are imposed,
equation (3) takes the form of:

u1 = rc {1 − cc [sin(α1s) − α1s] + cs [cos(α1s) − 1]
+ dc [sin(α 2s) − α 2s] + ds [cos(α 2s) − 1]}
u 2 = rc {ε s / L + cc [sin(α1s) − α1s] + cs [cos(α1s) − 1]
+ dc [sin(α 2s) − α 2s] − ds [cos(α 2s) − 1]}
(A-2)
Equation (A-2) must satify the next set of boundary conditions
at s=L:

u 1 (L) = rc cosθ

rc ε sin θ
L
u 2 (L) = rc sin θ
u 1′ (L) = −

u ′2 (L) =

rc ε cosθ
L

(A-3)

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IADC/SPE 87205

Before solving (A-3) for the four remaining unknown
constants, it is convenient to consider the remaining curvature
and shear constraints. This is most easily done by considering
constraints at s = 0. The shape of the pipe displacement in the
interval [-L,0] is given by:

~
u1 (s) = u 1 (−s)
~
u (s) = − u (−s)
2

(A-4)

2

The displacement functions must satisy the following
conditions:

1

(A-5)

+ (f 4 x 2 − f 3φ 2 y 2 )(cosθ − 1) + y 2 (f 4 + φ 2 f1 ) sin θ } / D

D = f1 (φ1 y1 x 2 − φ 2 y 2 x 1 ) + f 3 y1 y 2 (φ1 + φ 2 )
− f 4 ( x 1 y 2 + x 2 y1 )
(A-9)
For more compact notation, we define the following functions:

2

u ′2′′(0) = ~
u ′2′′(0)
Because of the care we took in the construction of the
displacement functions, equation (A-5) imposes only one
constraint:

α cc + α dc = 0
2
1

cs = {−ε [(f 4 + f1φ 2 ) y 2 + (f 3 y 2 + f1 x 2 )(cosθ − 1)]

+ (f 4 x 1 − f 3φ1 y1 )(cosθ − 1) + y1 (f1φ1 − f 4 ) sin θ } / D

u 2 (0) = ~
u 2 (0)
u ′2 (0) = ~
u ′2 (0)
~
u ′′ (0) = u ′′ (0)
2

+ (φ1 x 2 y1 − φ 2 x 1 y 2 )(cosθ − 1) + (φ1 + φ 2 ) y1 y 2 sin θ } / D

ds = {ε [ y1 (f 4 − φ1f1 ) + (f 3 y1 − f1 x 1 )(cosθ − 1)]

u 1 (0) = ~
u1 (0)
u 1′ (0) = ~
u1′ (0)
~
u ′′(0) = u ′′(0)
1

cc = {−ε [ y1 y 2 (φ1 + φ 2 ) + ( x 1 y 2 + x 2 y1 )(cosθ − 1)]

2
2

(A-6)

Equation (A-3), using (A-6) now takes the form:

cc1 = − y1 y 2 (φ1 + φ 2 ) + ( x 1 y 2 + x 2 y1 )(1 − cosθ )
cc 2 = (φ1 x 2 y1 − φ 2 x1 y 2 )(cosθ − 1) + (φ1 + φ 2 ) y1 y 2 sin θ
cs1 = − (f 4 + f1φ 2 ) y 2 + (f 3 y 2 + f1 x 2 )(1 − cosθ − 1)
cs 2 = (f 4 x 2 − f 3φ 2 y 2 )(cosθ − 1) + y 2 (f 4 + φ 2 f1 ) sin θ

cc f1 − cs y1 − ds y 2 = cosθ − 1

ds1 = y1 (f 4 − φ1f1 ) + (f 3 y1 − f1 x 1 )(cosθ − 1)

cc f 2 + cs φ1 ( x 1 − φ1 ) + ds φ 2 ( x 2 − φ 2 )

ds 2 = (f 4 x 1 − f 3φ1 y1 )(cosθ − 1) + y1 (f1φ1 − f 4 ) sin θ

= −ε sin θ
cc f 3 − cs x 1 + ds x 2 = sin θ − ε

(A-7)

(A-10)
then equation (A-9) takes the form:

cc f 4 − cs φ1 y1 + ds φ 2 y 2 = ε (cosθ − 1)
where:

φ1 = α 1L
x 1 = φ1 − sin φ1
y1 = 1 − cos φ1
φ2 = α 2 L
x 2 = φ 2 − sin φ 2
y 2 = 1 − cos φ 2

cc = (cc1ε + cc 2 ) / D
cs = (cs1ε + cs 2 ) / D

(A-11)

ds = (ds1ε + ds 2 ) / D
The remaining equation (A-3)2 is now used as a constraint on
ε:

ε =−

φ1 sin φ1cs 2 + φ 2 sin φ 2 ds 2 − f 2 cc 2
φ1 sin φ1cs1 + φ 2 sin φ 2 ds1 − f 2 cc1 − D sin θ
(A-12)

(A-8)

f1 = (φ1 / φ 2 ) 2 x 2 + x 1
f 2 = (φ1 / φ 2 )(φ1 y 2 + φ 2 y1 )
f 3 = (φ1 / φ 2 ) 2 ( y 2 − y1 )
f 4 = (φ1 / φ 2 )(φ 2 x 1 − φ1 x 2 )
The unknown coefficients are determined using equations (A3)1, (A-3)3 and (A-3)4:

The contact force Pc is given by:

Pc = EI[~
u1′′′(0) − u 1′′′(0)]

= −4EIrcαα12 cc

(A-13)

Appendix B – Stability and Equilibrium
of a Helically Buckled Weightless Pipe
with Torque
The equilibrium equations for a beam-column with torque,
small lateral deflections, is given by:

IADC/SPE 87205

7

EIu 1ivh + [Tu ′2′h ]′ + [Fu1′ h ]′ = w N cosθ
EIu

iv
2h

− [Tu 1′′h ]′ + [Fu ′2 h ]′ = w N sin θ

(B-1)

1
2

where the contact force w, the applied torque T and the
applied axial force F may depend on s. The displacements u1
and u2 are related to the angle θ through:

u 1h = rp cosθ
u 2 h = rp sin θ

(B-2)

A variational form of equation (1) can be derived for constant
torque T:

δ [ 12 EI ∫ (u 1′′h2 + u ′2′h2 ) ds + 12 T ∫ (u 1′′h u ′2 h − u ′2′h u 1′ h )ds
− 12 ∫ F(u 1′h2 + u ′22h )ds = 0

u 2 h = rp sin βs

(B-3)

(B-4)

Substituting equation (4) into equation (1) yields:

EIβ 4 − Tβ 3 − Fβ 2 + w N / rc = 0

(B-5)

Equation (B-5) gives a relation between w and β, but does not
determine β. If we assume that stability is determined by w
equal zero, then the stability load is given by:

F = Tβ + EIβ 2

δ ∫ T(u 1′′h u ′2 h − u ′2′h u 1′ h )ds

(B-12)
for T constant. Note also that we recover equation (B-9) by
calculating the value of β that maximizes the contact force w:

dw
= rc [−4EIβ 3 + 3Tβ 2 + 2Fβ ] = 0

(B-13)
The equilibrium value of β is:
2

For the remainder of this analysis, we assume that T and F are
constant, and that the pipe forms a constant pitch helix:

u 1h = rp cos βs

∫ T(u 1′′hδu ′2 h − u ′2′hδu 1′ h )ds =

(B-6)

3T
F
⎛ 3T ⎞
β=
± ⎜
⎟ +
8EI
⎝ 8EI ⎠ 2EI
(B-14)
as well as the straight pipe solution β = 0. The contact force
corresponding to the equilibrium value of β is:
2
2
EIrc ⎡ ⎛ 3T ⎞
3F 3T ⎛ 3T ⎞
F ⎤
⎢2⎜
⎥×
±
wN =
⎟ +

⎟ +
3 ⎢ ⎝ 8EI ⎠ 2EI 4EI ⎝ 8EI ⎠ 2EI ⎥


2
⎡ 3T
F ⎤
⎛ 3T ⎞


± ⎜
+

8EI ⎠ 2EI ⎥
⎢ 8EI


2

If we define β in terms of pitch p:


β=
p

(B-15)
(B-7)

then equation (6) becomes:

F=

2πT
4π 2
+ EI 2
p
p

(B-8)

This result is the same as Miska and Cunha14, equation (6),
with zero lateral force.
To determine an equilibrium value for β, we use the
variational form, equation (B-3):
1
2

δ [EIβ 4 − Tβ 3 − Fβ 2 ] = 2EIβ 3 − 32 Tβ 2 − Fβ = 0
(B-9)

Again, substituting equation (B-7):

Frc2 8π 2 rc2 3π Trc2

+
=0
EI
p2
EI p

(B-10)

The equivalent result from Paslay is:

Frc2 8π 2 rc2 6π Trc2

+
=0
EI
p2
EI p

(B-11)

where the term proportional to T2 has been neglected and the
axial force changed to compression. The term multiplying T
differs between equation (B-10) and equation (B-11). My
guess is that the factor of ½ multiplying T in equation (B-3) is
missing in Paslay’s derivation, but I cannot be sure. Note that:

If we assume T/EI is small, then, to first order:

β=

3T
F
±
8EI
2EI

w=

rc F 2 rc TF F
±
4EI 2EI 2EI

(B-16)
The contact force result is equivalent to He, Halsey, and
Kyllingstad15, equation (11).

8

IADC/SPE 87205

u1

u2

F ig u r e 1 : C o o r d in a te s fo r B u c k lin g A n a ly s is

CONNECTORS
T ANGENT T O
CYLINDER

θ
e1

T HREE DEGREES OF FREEDOM
TANG ENT ANG LES e 0 AND e 1
DISPLACEM ENT ANGLE

θ

e0

Figure 2: Beam-column With Connectors

IADC/SPE 87205

9

CONNECTORS
TANGENT TO
CYLINDER

θ1

θ0

e2

FIVE DEGREES OF FREEDOM

e1

TANGENT ANGLES

e 0 ,e 1 , AND e 2

DISPLACEMENT ANGLES

AND

θ 0 θ1

Figure 3: Multiple Beams With Connectors

e0

1.2

1

0.6

φ o = 1.885

0.4

u1 - zero torque
0.2

u1 - 0.10 tau/alpha
u1 - 0.20 tau/alpha

0

u2 - zero torque
u2 - 0.10 tau/alpha

-0.2
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

u2 - 0.20
0.5 tau/alpha
0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

s/L

Figure 4 : Effect of Torque on Displacements

1.2
1
0.8

displacement/rc

displacement/rc

0.8

0.6

φ = 2.67

0.4

o
u1 - zero torque

0.2

u1 - 0.07 tau/alpha
u1 - 0.14 tau/alpha

0

u2 - zero torque

-0.2

u2 - 0.07 tau/alpha
-0.4

u2 - 0.14 tau/alpha

-0.6
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

s/L

Figure 5: Effect of Torque on Displacements

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

10

IADC/SPE 87205

1.15
1.1
1.05
1
BSMF

0.95

φ

o

= 1 . 885

0.9
0.85

no torque
0.10 tau/alpha

0.8

0.20 tau/alpha
0.75
0.7
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

s/L

Figure 6: Bending Stress Magnification

1.5
1.4
1.3
1.2

BSMF

1.1

φ

o

= 2 . 67

1
0.9

no torque

0.8

0.07 tau/alpha

0.7

0.14 tau/alpha

0.6
0.5
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

s/L

Figure 7: Bending Stress Magnification

1.02

1.015

sag ratio

1.01

1.005

φο = 1.885

1

zero torque
0.995

0.10 tau/alpha
0.20 tau/alpha

0.99

0.985
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

s/L

Figure 8: Effect of Torque on Sag Ratio

0.7

0.8

0.9

1

IADC/SPE 87205

11

1.145
1.125
1.105

sag ratio

1.085
1.065

φ

o

= 2 . 67

1.045

zero torque

1.025

0.07 tau/alpha

1.005

0.14 tau/alpha
0.985
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

s/L

Figure 9: Effect of Torque on Sag Ratio

0.7

0.8

0.9

1