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A novel approach to the qualification of nonmetallic pipe systems

A novel approach to the qualification of nonmetallic pipe systems

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Published by Michael Gibson

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Published by: Michael Gibson on Jan 22, 2009
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08/05/2011

 
A NOVEL APPROACH TO THE QUALIFICATION OF NON-METALLIC PIPE SYSTEMS- AS APPLIED TO REINFORCEDTHERMOPLASTIC PIPE
A.G. Gibson, N. Dodds, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.S.R. Frost, AEA Technology.M. Stratfold, T. Sheldrake, Wellstream International.
 
This paper discusses the possibilities offered by ramp pressure loading tests togenerate data for determining the long term load-bearing characteristics of plasticspipe systems. In addition to ramp pressure loading, procedures are also consideredwhere the pressure is held at a constant value for a period of time, after which theproduct is subjected to a ramped pressure burst test. The method discussed relies onthe material in question obeying Miner’s law in its static fatigue behaviour. The pipesystem to which the procedure has been applied is Reinforced Thermoplastic Pipe(RTP), in which the reinforcement is aramid fibre. However the results are expectedto apply to any polymeric system where there is evidence of conformity to Miner’slaw. A set of ramp loading tests, and constant pressure plus burst tests are reportedand compared with the results of conventional ‘constant pressure’ stress rupture testsand a method is proposed for converting these results into ‘equivalent’ constantpressure values. The results obtained on RTP using this new approach lie close tothose generated using constant pressure.
Introduction
Qualification of non-metallic pipes, reinforced or otherwise, involves constantpressure stress rupture tests
1-5
. A log-log plot of hoop stress vs. failure time, theregression relationship, is used to calculate the 97.5% lower predicted limit (LPL),which is extrapolated give a characteristic stress at the design life. This paperinvestigates the possibilities offered by ramp loading and other non-constant pressureprofiles, in this procedure. It also discusses the benefits and drawbacks. A method willbe proposed to enable failure pressures from these tests to be converted into datapoints that can be used alongside results from constant pressure testing in forming theregression relationship.The results presented here relate to a recently developed product, reinforcedthermoplastic pipe (RTP). This is a completely polymeric high pressure pipe, with aliner and cover of polyethylene, and in which the reinforcement is provided by aramidfibre, as shown in Figure 1. Products of this type are finding increasing use in the oiland gas industry for the transportation of oilfield fluids and natural gas. This work was carried out as part of a joint industry project on
The Implementation of Reinforced Thermoplastics Pipe in the oil and Gas Industries
. One of the aims of this JIP is toimprove the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the qualification process. Althoughthe behaviour of RTP is presented here as an example, the procedures proposed
 
should be applicable to a wide range of other non-metallic pipe materials. The mainrequirement is that the material in question should obey Miner’s law in its long termstress rupture behaviour.Figure 2 shows the regression relationship, determined using constant pressure tests,for one type of RTP, determined at 60ºC. The mean line and the 97.5% LPL areshown. As in the majority of procedures for thermoplastics pipes
1-3
, the mean line wasdetermined by regression of log time on log pressure, rather than vice versa, becausethis gives the most conservative prediction. Table 1 gives values of the regression lineparameters and the 20 year LPL calculated from these data, as well as those obtainedfrom other experiments using the novel loading profiles.Constant pressure testing has some drawbacks as a means of generating qualificationdata. The principal difficulty arises when the slope of the log pressure vs log failuretime relationship is shallow. In this case small statistical variations in the product canproduce large variations in the time to failure, with the effect that it is very difficult toknow when a pipe spool under a particular pressure will fail during the testingcampaign. This can be highly inconvenient, and expensive in the case of points atlong times. Most qualification procedures require a certain number of failure pointsto be generated at failure times exceeding 10,000 hours. This needs a careful estimateto be made of the test pressure. If the sample fails prematurely, just short of therequired time, it may be necessary to repeat the test. However, there is also theproblem of what to do if with ‘run-out’ spools- samples that do not fail within the testperiod. Usually such unfailed samples are treated as failure points, but this proceduremay be unduly conservative.Procedures involving ramp loading, and employing Miner’s Law to interpret theresults, offer a solution to these problems. In addition, they offer the possibility of deciding or determining when samples will fail during the test campaign. One variantof the technique- constant pressure testing, followed by a ramped short term burst testoffers the most advantages. With this procedure it is possible to hold samples atconstant pressure in the conventional manner, then at fixed times carry out bursttesting.The proposed procedures also have some drawbacks. For instance, Miner’s Law is anempirical law and the product class in question needs to have been already shown toobey it. It will also be seen that care is needed with timescales when converting ramp-type results into equivalent constant pressure values.
Theory
The theory will be presented here in terms of pressure. However, it would be equallyvalid in terms of hoop stress. Miner’s Law will be assumed to apply. This is anempirical law and there is no reason why,
a priori
, a particular material system shouldbe expected to conform. Nevertheless, for a number of polymers the law has beenshown to be applicable with reasonable accuracy. Current evidence for aramid fibrereinforced RTP
5,6
suggests that it is obeyed. Miner’s Law states that, for a systemsubject to
i
different stress values, (in this case, pressure,
P
i
) each lasting for duration,
i
, failure occurs when
 
 
i fi
=
1 [1]where
 fi
is the value of the time to failure at pressure,
P
i
. If the constant pressurestress rupture behaviour obeys
P Ft 
 f G
=
[2]where
P
 f 
and
 f 
are pressure and time to failure, respectively and
and
G
areconstants, then the Miner’s Law expression becomes11
11
t P
Gi iG
=
[3]When pressure varies over time the summation can be replaced by an integral:11
11
P dt 
GG
=
∫ 
[4]The following pressure histories will be considered here: (i) general pressure history;(ii) pressure ramped linearly with time, and (iii) a constant pressure period, followedby a ramped burst.
General pressure history.
This would apply for any variation of pressure with timeduring the test period. The pressure profile would need to be continuously recordeduntil the sample failed. It can be seen from Equation [4] that
 
∫ 
==
=
 f 
GG
dt P
011
[5]As with constant pressure regression testing, several tests would be needed to enablestatistically accurate values of 
and
G
to be determined. If a provisional value for
G
 were available, the above integral could be used to determine the equivalent value of constant pressure,
P*
, that would cause failure in time,
 f 
. Since
G f 
Ft P
=
* then
GG f 
 f 
dt PP
    
=
∫ 
==
01
1* [6]
Ramped pressure.
With the pressure ramped linearly up to failure as in Figure 3 (sothat
P kt 
=
 
and, for failure,
 f  f 
kt P
=
) then, for experiments at different ramp rates,the Miner’s Law integral would become
 
k t dt k GG
G G GGGGG
111111111212111
1111
=+
   
=+
   
=
+
   
+
   
∫ 
[7]

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