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Warm Pre-Stressing and Leaks in Pipelines

[+] Author Affiliations
Andrew Cosham

Atkins, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Phil Hopkins

Penspen, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

David G. Jones

Pipeline Integrity Engineers, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Julian Barnett

National Grid Carbon, Solihull, UK

Paper No. OMAE2014-24085, pp. V06BT04A010; 17 pages
  • ASME 2014 33rd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 6B: Pipeline and Riser Technology
  • San Francisco, California, USA, June 8–13, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4547-9
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Line pipe steel is a carbon manganese steel. The toughness of line pipe steel undergoes a transition from high toughness (on the upper shelf) to low toughness (on the lower shelf) as the temperature decreases.

A fluid will cool significantly as it expands through a leak in a pipeline. This has led to the suggestion that localised cooling of the material surrounding the leak might be sufficient to cool the material down to below the ductile to brittle transition temperature and cause a brittle fracture.

Warm pre-stressing occurs when a load is applied to a structure containing a defect and then the temperature of the structure is reduced. Warm pre-stressing causes the defect in the structure to fail at a higher load at the lower temperature than if it had not experienced this prior loading at the previously higher temperature.

A programme of single edge notch bend tests has been conducted on behalf of National Grid Carbon to demonstrate the beneficial effect of warm pre-stressing in a line pipe steel. The material tested was a sample of 914.4 mm outside diameter, 19.1 mm wall thickness, Grade API 5L X60 line pipe. Single edge notch bend specimens were subject to the ‘load-cool-fail’ cycle and the ‘load-unload-cool-fail’ cycle. The effect of different levels of stable ductile crack growth during the pre-load was also investigated.

Warm pre-stressing is shown to have a beneficial effect. The load at failure in the specimens that had been subject to warm pre-stressing was higher than those that had not been subject to warm pre-stressing, and, in most cases, it was higher than the pre-load. The fracture toughness (in terms of the stress intensity factor) of the specimens that had been subject to warm pre-stressing was 1.4 to 1.7 times higher than that of those that had not been subject to warm pre-stressing. The results of the tests were conservatively predicted using the theoretical models. Also, the results are consistent with previous tests on structural steels.

Therefore, localised cooling of the material around a leak in a pipeline is not predicted to result in a failure.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Pipelines , Leakage



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