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Predicting the Brittle-to-Ductile Transition Temperatures for Surface Cracks in Pipeline Girth Welds: It’s Better Than You Thought

[+] Author Affiliations
Gery Wilkowski, David Rudland, Do-Jun Shim

Engineering Mechanics Corporation of Columbus, Columbus, OH

David Horsley

BP Exploration and Production Technology, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Paper No. IPC2008-64658, pp. 775-780; 6 pages
  • 2008 7th International Pipeline Conference
  • 2008 7th International Pipeline Conference, Volume 3
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada, September 29–October 3, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: International Petroleum Technology Institute and the Pipeline Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4859-3 | eISBN: 798-0-7918-3835-8
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


A methodology to predict the brittle-to-ductile transition temperature for sharp or blunt surface-breaking defects in base metals was developed and presented at IPC 2006. The method involved applying a series of transition temperature shifts due to loading rate, thickness, and constraint differences between bending versus tension loading, as well as a function of surface-crack depth. The result was a master curve of transition temperatures that could predict dynamic or static transition temperatures of through-wall cracks or surface cracks in pipes. The surface-crack brittle-to-ductile transition temperature could be predicted from either Charpy or CTOD bend-bar specimen transition temperature information. The surface crack in the pipe has much lower crack-tip constraint, and therefore a much lower brittle-to-ductile transition temperature than either the Charpy or CTOD bend-bar specimen transition temperature. This paper extends the prior work by presenting past and recent data on cracks in line-pipe girth welds. The data developed for one X100 weld metal shows that the same base-metal master curve for transition temperatures works well for line-pipe girth welds. The experimental results show that the transition temperature shift for the surface-crack constraint condition in the weld was about 30C lower than the transition temperature from standard CTOD bend-bar tests, and that transition temperature difference was predicted well. Hence surface cracks in girth welds may exhibit higher fracture resistance in full-scale behavior than might be predicted from CTOD bend-bar specimen testing. These limited tests show that with additional validation efforts the FITT Master Curve is appropriate for implementation to codes and standards for girth-weld defect stress-based criteria. For strain-based criteria or leak-before-break behavior, the pipeline would have to operate at some additional temperature above the FITT of the surface crack to ensure sufficient ductile fracture behavior.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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