Subsea-asset protection from falling objects using multi-layered shielding: A preliminary study

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Place of Publication

New York


School of Engineering


Originally published as: Balash, C., MacLean, G., & MacLean, D. (2017, June). Subsea-Asset Protection From Falling Objects Using Multi-Layered Shielding: A Preliminary Study. In ASME 2017 36th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering (pp. V05BT04A046-V05BT04A046). American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Article available here.


Protection solutions for pipelines, umbilicals, and cables from accidentally dropped objects are generally implemented with concrete mattresses, though concrete does not effectively dissipate shock loading. The presented work investigated relative absorption properties of two materials (concrete and polystyrene), singly and in combination, with an aim to ultimately advance the protection of subsea assets from falling objects. A series of experiments were undertaken to measure the impact force from dropped objects of varied mass and height on single and stacked plates of varied thickness. It was concluded that the combination of absorptive and non-absorptive materials could be beneficial; specifically, a protection shield for a subsea asset could comprise concrete at the base, polystyrene through the middle, and a thin shell layer of concrete on the outer surface. The proposed next phase will seek the combination of concrete strength and polystyrene compression to provide optimum levels of absorption