A Damage Mechanics based Evaluation of Dynamic Fracture Resistance in Gas Pipelines


Investigation of running ductile fracture in gas transmission pipelines and the derivation of reliable crack arrest prediction methods belong to major topics in pipeline research. The yet available crack arrest criterion, known as the Battelle Two-Curve Method (BTCM), leads to reliable predictions up to grade X70 line pipe steels for which it has been validated. This includes specific limits in terms of mechanical properties, pressure and geometry. The application of this criterion to modern pipeline steels, i.e. especially grades X80 and beyond in combination with larger diameters and high pressure, has led to mispredictions of the BTCM. Hence, in order to ensure safe design of pipelines, new methods are required based on in depth knowledge and appropriate characterization of material resistance. This paper presents a procedure for the assessment of dynamic ductile fracture resistance based on combined experimental and numerical investigations. The procedure involves quasi-static and dynamic drop- weight tear testing (DWTT) on modified specimens with pre-fatigued crack for grades X65, X80 and X100 materials, and the application of cohesive zone (CZ) and Gurson-Tveergard-Needleman (GTN) models to describe ductile material damage. The damage model parameters are calibrated on basis of DWTT results and subsequently used to simulate dynamic crack propagation in a pipeline. The influence of material properties (strain hardening, toughness), pipe geometry, usage factor and decompression behaviour on ductile fracture propagation behaviour is studied and evaluated. The results will contribute to an enhanced understanding of major parameters controlling ductile fracture propagation and will help to establish a reliable procedure for safe design of new high-capacity pipelines with regard to crack arrest.
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