Prediction of pipeline collapse due to hydrostatic pressure

Prediction of pipeline collapse due to hydrostatic pressure, International Journal of Structural Integrity (2019), Vol. 10 Issue: 1, pp.55-66, doi: 10.1108/IJSI-06-2018-0033
Nikolaos Athanasopoulos, Evangelos Gavalas, Spyros Papaefthymiou

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a finite element method (FEM) model that predicts the collapse pressure of the majority of the gas/petroleum pipelines worldwide. More specifically, it refers to pipelines with diameter to wall thickness (D/t) ratios between 15 and 45. The model’s results were evaluated on the basis of the DNV-OS-F101 offshore pipeline design code.

Design/methodology/approach – A series of FEM simulations were conducted using a 2D model created in the ANSYS’ software environment considering both the plane strain and the plane stress approach. The corresponding values of the collapse pressure for pipes with different value sets of D/t and ovality were calculated in Python (programming language) according to the DNV equations. Given that the pipeline’s resistance to collapse is governed by geometric imperfections and material properties, amongst others, the influence of other crucial factors, such as ovality, eccentricity, hardening modulus and the chemical composition (pipe’s steel grade) was examined.

Findings – The FE model approaches very closely the DNV  calculations. Although the effect of the hardening modulus and pipe’s steel grade, respectively, was found to be insignificant on the pipeline’s collapse, it turned out that the lower the D/t ratio was the bigger the influence of these factors appeared. The D/t ratio does not affect the pipe’s sensitivity in eccentricity, because for a pipe with the same characteristics and eccentricity, but with higher ovality, the decrease in collapse pressure was found to be lower.

Originality/value – A 2D FEM which estimates collapse pressure and simultaneously takes into account the effect of various factors is less time-consuming and costly than the fullscale pipe collapse tests in pressure chambers.

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