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1 Copyright 2012 by ASME

AN APPROACH FOR EVALUATING THE INTEGRITY OF PLAIN DENTS REPORTED


BY IN-LINE INSPECTION TOOLS


Joseph P. Bratton
Det Norske Veritas (USA), Inc.
Dublin, Ohio, USA
Tom Alexander
TD Williamson Canada ULC
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Thomas A. Bubenik
Det Norske Veritas (USA), Inc.
Dublin, Ohio, USA
Shane Finneran
Det Norske Veritas (USA), Inc.
Dublin, Ohio, USA
Hans Olav Heggen
Det Norske Veritas (USA), Inc.
Dublin, Ohio, USA


ABSTRACT
Current federal regulations in the U.S. require excavation of
plain dents identified through in-line inspection surveys based
primarily on depth. Industry experience, and previous research,
has shown that the depth of the dent, alone, is not sufficient to
assess dent severity and that releases could occur at dents
below the excavation threshold (Dawson, 2006). Canadas
National Energy Board released a safety advisory on June 18,
2010, to all companies under their jurisdiction regarding two
incidents involving shallow dents. The safety advisory stated
that all integrity management programs should be reviewed and
updated where appropriate to address the threat posed by
shallow dents. Similar incidents have raised awareness in the
United States and elsewhere around the world.
This paper focuses on the fitness for service of dents
identified by in-line inspection surveys. The fitness for service
assessment provides an estimated remaining life of a dent based
on the geometry of the dent and current pressure cycling of the
pipeline. Dynamic pressure cycling at each dent location is
estimated using the upstream and downstream pressure cycle
data, elevation, and distance along the pipe. The dynamic
pressure cycle data at each dent is then converted into
equivalent stress cycles based on the results of rainflow cycle
counting.
Maximum strain levels of the dents are calculated based on
the geometry of the dent as determined by radial sensor
measurements from the in-line inspection survey. The
combination of assessment methods provides estimates of
remaining fatigue life and peak strain which can be used for
prioritizing the investigation and remediation of plain dents in
pipelines.
Finite element analysis (FEA) is performed for one dent to
calculate the maximum strain levels and identify stress
concentration areas. These results are compared with the
values applied during the fitness for service assessment to
validate the accuracy and conservatism of the calculation
methods used. An idealized dent will be analyzed to investigate
the strain calculations in ASME B31.8 and localize maximum
strain values.
INTRODUCTION
Canadas National Energy Board (NEB) released a safety
advisory, Erickson (2010), on June 18, 2010, to all companies
under its jurisdiction regarding two incidents which occurred in
dents with depths much shallower than the repair requirements
in Canadian Standards Association (2007) CSA Standard Z662-
07. CSA Standard Z662-07 requires dents with a depth greater
than 6% of the outside diameter be repaired. The two dent
failures in the safety advisory had depths of less than 3% of the
outer diameter. Similar incidents have raised awareness in the
United States and elsewhere around the world.
High resolution internal in-line inspection caliper tools
provide measurements to analyze the geometry of a dent
located within a pipeline. The geometry of the dent can be used
along with the stress loads (internal pressure) to estimate a
remaining life. The geometry of the dent can also be used to
estimate maximum stresses within the dent.
This study analyzed 24 dents that had been previously
evaluated on a 67.5 kilometer pipeline segment that transports
refined liquid products. The pipeline is nominally comprised of
323.9 mm outside diameter by 5.2 mm wall thickness, API 5L
X52 line pipe, manufactured by STELCO, Inc., and contains a
high frequency electric resistance welded (ERW) longitudinal
seam. The previously evaluated dents were excavated between
1988 and 2009. In all 24 cases the constraint (typically a rock)
was removed and the area was recoated. Because the constraint
Proceedings of the 2012 9th International Pipeline Conference
IPC2012
September 24-28, 2012, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
IPC2012-90643
2 Copyright 2012 by ASME
was removed during the field evaluation, the now
unconstrained dents were able to flex and fatigue at a much
faster rate. The quality of the re-coating of the dents after field
evaluation can also be suspect, resulting in environmental
degradation, such as stress corrosion cracking. One of the 24
dents evaluated had previously failed and was included in the
NEB safety advisory.
The goal of the analysis of the 24 dents, which were
identified and characterized through in-line inspection, was to
prioritize a schedule for field investigation. The analysis
consisted of a fatigue assessment, using the API 579 fitness-for-
service (FFS) Level 2 Assessment, American Petroleum
Institute (2007), a strain assessment, using the ASME B31.8
Appendix R Strain Assessment, American Society of
Mechanical Engineers (2007), and a stress and strain
assessment using Finite Element Analysis (FEA). The
combination of assessment methods provides an analysis of
fatigue and strain. All 24 dents were reported as, and assumed
to be, plain, isolated dents, free from stress risers and not in
close proximity to girth or longitudinal welds
1
.
APPROACH AND RESULTS
Engineering Critical Assessment
Engineering critical assessments of the 24 dents were
performed which consisted of an API 579 Fitness-For-Service
(FFS) Level 2 assessment and a strain assessment based on the
method provided in ASME B31.8 Appendix R. The
combination of assessment methods provides an analysis of
fatigue and strain. Both assessment methods are described
below in more detail.
Fatigue Assessment API 579 FFS Level 2
API 579 (FFS) Level 2 assessments of the 24 dents located
within the pipeline segment were performed. As a result of the
API 579 FFS Level 2 assessment, an allowable number of
cycles acceptable during the life of the dent is determined. The
acceptable number of cycles is then compared to the sum of the
past and future anticipated number of cycles to determine the
estimated remaining life of each dent, according to Equations 1
and 2 below. Past cycles are considered to be those
experienced at each dent location from the date of excavation to
the present year. A negative value indicates that the dent was
predicted to fail prior to the present year.

r cycles/yea equivalent
cycles past of sum - factor ety cycles/saf allow
Life Remaining =
(1)

62 . 5
A
2
strength tensile ultimate
562.2 cycles allowable
(

=
Kg K
d

(2)


1
If MFL and Caliper technologies are used to inspect the dents, ERW seams
may not be visable in the data. In our case, the dents were all inspected by
direct examination and the dents were determined to not affect the long seam.
1
2
a
a A
strength tensile ultimate
- stress ntial circumfere maximum
1

(
(

|
|

\
|
=


(3)

2
stress ntial circumfere min. - stress ntial circumfere max.

a
=
(4)

( )
5 . 1
0 d
1 K
ul d
C
S
C d
D
t
C + =
(5)

C S
5t curvature of radius dents, smooth for 2.0 = C
(6)

C S
5t curvature of radius dents, sharp for 1.0 < = C
(7)

.0 1
g
= K
(8)

Where d
d0
is the depth of the dent measured when the
component is not pressurized, and C
ul
is a conversion factor, C
ul

=1.0 for millimeters and C
ul
= 25.4 for inches. If the dent is
measured under pressure, the measured depth should be
increased by dividing the depth by 0.7.
The original depths of the dents were measured by in-line
inspection while the constraint (rock) was in contact with the
pipe. The depths of the dents were then recorded in the field
evaluations that took place between 1988 and 2009. After the
constraint was removed, the subsequent ILI measured the depth
of the dent after the constraint (rock) was removed. Dents with
a depth of greater than 7% of the outside diameter do not meet
the initial screening criteria of the API 579 Level 2 FFS
assessment and were excluded from the assessment. The field
evaluated depths were used in this assessment and increased by
dividing the depth by 0.7.
Discharge and suction pressure data from the pipeline
section was analyzed, using rainflow cycle counting (RCC)
performed in accordance with ASTM Standard 1049, to
determine the number and amplitude of pressure cycles
experienced at each dent location. Figure 1 show the discharge
and suction pressure data.
Validation of the pressure data is necessary prior to
interpolating the data between pump stations. Generally
validation of the data involves identifying data that may be
erroneous, such as poor communication to SCADA systems and
pressure sensor calibrations. This process should involve the
pipeline operator when there are questions regarding the
pressure data.

3 Copyright 2012 by ASME

Figure 1. Discharge and Suction Pressure History

The results of the RCC analysis at each dent location was
then converted to a single equivalent pressure cycle (stress)
value using Miners Rule. The stress cycle is defined as the
difference between the minimum and maximum pressure values
experienced by each dent indication.
Strain Assessment ASME B31.8 Appendix R
The strains associated with the dents using the geometry in
line inspection data were calculated. The minimum radius of
curvature of each dent in the axial (R
2
) and circumferential (R
1
)
direction was estimated from the geometry in line inspection
data and used to calculate bending strains. Cubic splines were
calculated along the entire axial length and around the
circumference of the dent. The cubic splines were used to
determine the radius of curvature at the maximum depth of the
dent or anywhere along the dent. The radius of curvature was
then used to calculate the peak axial and circumferential
bending strain, based on the method provided in ASME B31.8
Appendix R and shown below in Equations 9 and 10.

( ) ( )
1 0 1
/ 1 / 1 1/2 direction, ntial circumfere in strain Bending R R t =
(9)

( )
2 2
/ 1/2 direction, al longitudin in the strain Bending R t =
(10)

Where t is the wall thickness of the line pipe at the location
of the dent,
0
R is the initial pipe surface radius, and
1
R is
indented surface radius of curvature, in a transverse plane
through the dent. And
2
R is indented surface radius of
curvature, in a circumferential plane through the dent.
The geometry in-line inspection tool reported radius
measurements approximately every 0.1 inch axially along the
pipe and had sensors every 1-inch around the pipe.
Engineering judgment was used to filter erroneous
measurements along the axial profile in order to estimate the
most accurate profile. Erroneous measurements result when the
geometry in line inspection tools sensors lose contact with the
internal wall of the pipe.
The quality of the ILI caliper data can vary drastically.
Sometimes ILI data does not contain any erroneous data while
other ILI data contains many erroneous data points and can
require extensive analysis to either remove the erroneous data
points, or to smooth the data. The amount of erroneous data
that is removed, or the degree of smoothing the data, requires
engineering judgment and should not alter the original shape of
the dent, but remove unrealistic measurements or scatter of the
data.
The axial extensional (membrane) strains were also
estimated using the methodology given in ASME B31.8
Appendix R and shown below in Equation 11. The strain
estimates are based on the dent lengths as reported by the
geometry in-line inspection survey. The bending and
membrane strains were then combined to estimate the
maximum effective strain in the dents, as shown below in
Equations 12 and 13.

( )( )
2
3
/ 1/2 direction, al longitudin in strain l Extensiona L d =
(11)

( ) ( ) [ ]
2 / 1
2
3 2 3 2 1
2
1 i
surface, pipe inside on Strain + + + =
(12)

( ) ( ) [ ]
2 / 1
2
3 2 3 2 1
2
1 o
surface, pipe outside on Strain + + + + =
(13)
Where d and L are the dent depth and length, respectively.
Fatigue and Strain Assessment Results
The results of the remaining life and strain assessments for
each dent are shown in Table 1. Examples of the axial and
circumferential profiles for one of the dents (the dent subjected
to FEA validation) are also shown as Figures 2 and 3,
respectively. The example dent shown in Figures 2 and 3 is
highlighted below in Table 1. As discussed in Section 2.1.2 of
this paper, cubic splines were used to estimate the profile of the
dent, using in-line inspection measurements. The dent profiles
were estimated using both constrained cubic splines and natural
cubic splines. The cubic spline that estimated the dent profile
the most accurately was used, and the corresponding radius of
curvature is represented by a circle, as shown in Figures 2 and
3.
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
7/26/2009 9/4/2009 10/14/2009 11/23/2009
I
n
t
e
r
n
a
l

P
r
e
s
s
u
r
e

(
p
s
i
g
)
Time Period (date)
Discharge
Suction
4 Copyright 2012 by ASME

Table 1. Engineering Critical Assessment Results





Figure 2. Example of Axial ILI Sensor Data with Minimum
Radius of Curvature


Figure 3. Example of Circumferential ILI Sensor Data with
Minimum Radius of Curvature

The API 579 FFS Level 2 assessment methodology assumes
the pipe material acts in an elastic behavior; however, in some
cases, due to the calculated and applied stress concentration
factor of the dent, the methodology predicts stresses that exceed
the yield and even the ultimate strength of the pipe material. In
these cases the methodology results in an overly conservative
number of allowable equivalent cycles which then yields a
shorter remaining life.
Although the API 579 FFS Level 2 assessment
methodology yields results that in some cases are considerably
conservative, the relative number of allowable cycles is
considered useful for prioritizing field evaluations.
Finite Element Analysis
Two different finite element models are used to compare to
the ASME B31.8 and the API 579 methods. An idealized dent
was created with the aim to reproduce the radii and depth of the
measured dent and extract maximum strains to compare with
the ASME B31.8 calculations. A preformed dent model was
also created using an actual dent profile based on the measured
in-line inspection data. Internal pressure equal to the maximum
value experienced during the pressure history was applied
afterwards to estimate the stress concentration factor. This
stress concentration factor was then compared to the stress
concentration factor calculated according to API 579. Previous
work performed by Alexander (2010) showed a significant
variation between the various approaches for estimating stress
concentration factor. The methods are further described in
section 2.2.1 and 2.2.3 below.
Idealized Dent
The finite element modeling effort was carried out using
ABAQUS 11.1-1. The pipe body was modeled using 8-noded
solid elements (C3D8R), and the indenter using rigid shell
elements (R3D4). The contact between them was defined as
hard contact. The indenter, modeled as a bend, was displaced a
prescribed distance into the pipe wall to create the dent.


Depth

(%OD)
Rehab.
Date
(Year)
Calculated
Fatigue Life
(Year)
Outside
strain
(%)
Inside
Strain
(%)
1.50% 2009 12.38 11.95% 12.01%
1.40% 2009 15.14 12.07% 12.12%
2.90% 1988 5.17 21.45% 21.78%
2.40% 1988 7.70 21.66% 22.16%
2.20% 2009 1.45 5.77% 5.79%
1.60% 1988 2.95 10.53% 10.43%
1.13% 1996 6.25 1.96% 1.98%
0.01% 1996 119.72 2.45% 2.45%
0.50% 2009 31.34 2.14% 2.14%
4.10% 1988 0.45 6.09% 6.50%
0.40% 2009 41.38 1.46% 1.46%
0.19% 2009 3.15 10.12% 10.14%
0.08% 1988 133.42 3.07% 3.07%
3.70% 1988 41.33 12.00% 12.58%
4.50% 1988 27.02 30.40% 33.04%
0.90% 1988 138.93 2.81% 2.93%
0.90% 1988 138.93 3.66% 4.20%
2.60% 2001 132.61 15.31% 15.44%
7.33% 1988 N/A 2.97% 3.30%
1.50% 1988 154.63 4.92% 4.97%
2.40% 1988 366.46 9.79% 10.11%
2.40% 2008 60.42 6.38% 6.56%
8.05% 1988 N/A 28.51% 28.50%
1.50% 1988 239.89 1.68% 1.71%
-7
-5
-3
-1
1
3
5
7
-7 -5 -3 -1 1 3 5 7
R
a
d
i
u
s

(
i
n
)
Radius (in)
Dent with Radius of Curvature
ILI Sensor
Data
Cubic Spline
Radius of
Curvature
5 Copyright 2012 by ASME
Figure 4 shows the quarter model used for creating the dent.
Note the symmetry boundary condition to allow for a quarter
model, and the vertical restraint on the top edge of the pipe.
The internal pressure was applied to the inside of the pipe
surface.
The quarter pipe section is 1.5m long, the outer diameter is
323.9mm and the wall thickness is 5.2mm. The indenter sizing
is based on iterations to best represent the radii of curvature and
depth used in the strain calculations according to ASME B31.8
Appendix R.

Figure 4. FE model of idealized dent

The element size in the dented area of the pipe was 2mm x
2.7mm x 1.3mm in axial-, circumferential- and throughwall
direction. The axial component of the element size increases
further away from the dent.
The material model for the X52 steel was created using a
Ramberg-Osgood curve; see Figure 5 for plastic properties.
The elastic properties used were Youngs modulus 207,000MPa
and Poissons ratio 0.3.


Figure 5. Ramberg-Osgood true stress plastic strain curve for
X52 used as plastic properties in ABAQUS

In order to get a dent with the radii and depth as close to the
measured as possible, an iterative approach was used, changing
the displacement and/or radii of the indenter.
Outputs from the analyses are dent configuration, stress and
strain axially and circumferentially along the inner and outer
diameter of the pipe. See Figure 6.


Figure 6. Red elements used for estimating the strain and dent
configuration

The radii are estimated using the same spline function as for
the in-line inspection data on the coordinate output from
ABAQUS. The strains are the sum of the maximum or
minimum plastic and elastic strain in each integration point.
Idealized Dent Results
The circumferential and axial indentation are shown in
Figure 7, the maximum indented depth is 38mm and after
rerounding the depth is 25mm at the center of the dent.

0.00E+00
1.00E+08
2.00E+08
3.00E+08
4.00E+08
5.00E+08
6.00E+08
7.00E+08
0.000 % 20.000 % 40.000 % 60.000 % 80.000 % 100.000 %
T
r
u
e

s
t
r
e
s
s

[
P
a
]
Engineering plastic strain [%]
X52
X52
6 Copyright 2012 by ASME

Figure 7. Circumferential and axial deformation

The radii and depth of in-line inspection the dent
measurements compared to the ABAQUS approximation are
listed in Table 2. The radii were calculated using cubic splines,
as described in Section 2.1.2.

Table 2. Idealized dent parameter comparison


The von Mises stress values in the dent exceed the yield
stress of the line pipe material, resulting in significant yielding,
as shown in Figure 8. The von Mises stress values represent
the condition after the indenter is removed.


Figure 8. Deformed plot with indenter removed, showing
von Mises stress

ABAQUS strain output for solid elements are given in the
global coordinate system or maximum/minimum principal
strains. The maximum and minimum principal strains along the
outside and inside edges, as shown previously in Figure 6, of
the dent in both the circumferential and longitudinal directions
are shown in Figure 9 and Figure 10.



Figure 9. Principal strain in longitudinal direction

-0.200
-0.150
-0.100
-0.050
0.000
0.050
0.100
0.150
0.200
-0.200 -0.150 -0.100 -0.050 0.000
[
m
]
[m]
max indentation
spring back
Undeformed
Pressurized
-0.18
-0.16
-0.14
-0.12
-0.10
-0.08
-0.06
-0.04
-0.02
0.00
1.35 1.4 1.45 1.5 1.55
[
m
]
[m]
max indented
spring back
Undeformed
Pressurized
Parameters
Calculated from
in line inspection
measurments
Calculated from
ABAQUS nodes
R0 161.9mm 161.9mm
R1 -8.3mm -9.1mm
R2 -16.0mm -14.8mm
d 26.1mm 25.3mm
0.00%
10.00%
20.00%
30.00%
40.00%
50.00%
1.4 1.42 1.44 1.46 1.48 1.5
M
a
x

P
r
i
n
c
i
p
a
l

S
t
r
a
i
n

[
%
]
Longitudinal length [m]
Max Principal Strain Outside Diameter
Plastic Strain
Elastic Strain
Elastic + Plastic Strain
-50.00%
-40.00%
-30.00%
-20.00%
-10.00%
0.00%
1.4 1.42 1.44 1.46 1.48 1.5
M
i
n

P
r
i
n
c
i
p
a
l

S
t
r
a
i
n

[
%
]
Longitudinal length [m]
Min Principal Strain Outside Diameter
Platic Strain
Elastic Strain
Plastic + Elastic Strain
0.00%
10.00%
20.00%
30.00%
40.00%
50.00%
60.00%
70.00%
1.4 1.42 1.44 1.46 1.48 1.5
M
a
x

P
r
i
n
c
i
p
a
l

s
t
r
a
i
n

[
%
]
Longitudinal length [m]
Max Principal Strain Inside
Plastic Strain
Elastic Strain
Elastic + Plastic Strain
-70.00%
-60.00%
-50.00%
-40.00%
-30.00%
-20.00%
-10.00%
0.00%
1.4 1.42 1.44 1.46 1.48 1.5
M
i
n

P
r
i
n
c
i
p
a
l

s
t
r
a
i
n

[
%
]
Longitudinal length [m]
Min Principal Strain Inside
4th PE
4th EE
4th PE+EE
7 Copyright 2012 by ASME


Figure 10. Principal strain in circumferential direction

The strains in global directions are plotted in Figures 11 to
13.


Figure 11. Strain in global x-direction


Figure 12. Strain in global y-direction


Figure 13. Strain in global z-direction

Due to symmetry in the model we can compare the strain in
the global directions at the center node of the dent to the
bending strains in the circumferential and longitudinal
directions along with the extensional strain in the longitudinal
direction from ASME B31.8, as shown in Table 3. Although
strains in the YY direction (through the wall thickness) of the
model are not comparable to strain values from ASME B31.8,
they were observed to be larger than the strain values in the
longitudinal and circumferential directions. The strain value in
the YY direction was calculated to be approximately -62.9% as
shown previously in Figure 12. This strain value represents the
thinning of the pipe wall due to the denting process.


0.00%
5.00%
10.00%
15.00%
20.00%
25.00%
30.00%
35.00%
40.00%
45.00%
50.00%
0 50 100 150
M
a
x

P
r
i
n
c
i
p
a
l

s
t
r
a
i
n

[
%
]
Circumferencial distance [deg]
Max Principal Strain Outer Diameter
Plastic Strain
Elastic Strain
Elastic + Plastic Strain
-50.00%
-45.00%
-40.00%
-35.00%
-30.00%
-25.00%
-20.00%
-15.00%
-10.00%
-5.00%
0.00%
0 50 100 150
M
i
n

P
r
i
n
c
i
p
a
l

s
t
r
a
i
n

[
%
]
Circumferencial distance [deg]
Min Principal Strain Outer Diameter
Plastic Strain
Elastic Strain
Elastic + Plastic strain
0.00%
10.00%
20.00%
30.00%
40.00%
50.00%
60.00%
70.00%
0 50 100 150
M
a
x

P
r
i
n
c
i
p
a
l

s
t
r
a
i
n

[
%
]
Circumferential distance [deg]
Max Principal Strain Inner Diameter
Plastic Strain
Elastic Strain
Plastic + Elastic Strain
-70.00%
-60.00%
-50.00%
-40.00%
-30.00%
-20.00%
-10.00%
0.00%
0 50 100 150
M
i
n

P
r
i
n
c
i
p
a
l

s
t
r
a
i
n

[
%
]
Circumferential distance [deg]
Min Principal Strain Inner Diameter
Plastic Strain
Elastic Strain
Plastic + Elastic Strain
8 Copyright 2012 by ASME
Table 3. Strains from extracted from ABAQUS


Stress Concentration Calculation Using FEA
A single dent was selected to perform further finite element
analysis on, in order to assess the stress concentrations due to
dent geometry. A 3D surface model was developed for the dent
with 8.05% depth based on the in-line inspection data. To
generate the surface model, the in-line inspection data was first
converted into Cartesian coordinates. Curved polynomial
splines were fitted to the coordinate data, and 89 cross sections
were generated along the length of the anomaly at
approximately 2.5mm spacing. A 3D CAD surface was then
generated across the cross-sectional splines using SolidWorks
lofted surface algorithm, as shown in Figure 14 below. A
323.9mm section of nominal pipe geometry was added to both
ends of the flawed surface model, to allow for constraints to be
placed sufficiently far from the region of interest. This surface
was then exported into Abaqus CAE to develop the FEA model.
It should be noted that this methodology incorporates the final
dent profile in the undeformed mesh. This approach will allow
for accurate analysis of the elastic stress concentrations due to
the dent geometries, but will not incorporate the residual
stresses and strains in the material due to plastic deformation
during the dent formation.


Figure 14. Generated CAD surface and splined cross-sections
model
The final geometry was made up of 135,372 elements
connected by 135,761 nodes at approximately 0.254-mm
resolution as shown in Figure 15. The elements applied were 4-
node hexahedral thin wall shell elements (Abaqus type S4R)
with nine integration points applied through wall to accurately
calculate the stress distribution throughout the dent. The
material model for API 5L X52, as described above, was
applied to the elements of the model. Selected end nodes were
constrained as appropriate allowing for radial displacement of
the elements, while restricting lateral translation and allowing
for the calculation of a singular solution. For this particular
model, and internal pressure of 586psi was applied to the
internal surfaces, representative of the maximum pressure used
for the corresponding FFS assessment.


Figure 15. Geometry and mesh definition model

Stress Concentration Calculation Using FEA Results
A contour plot of the calculated stress for the dent model is
shown in Figure 16. A maximum equivalent stress of 359 MPa
was predicted in the dented region. By comparison, the
nominal hoop stress for an internal pressure of 4 MPa on this
pipe geometry is approximately 126 MPa. The stress
concentration factor (K
d
) for the dent is defined as the
maximum stress in the dent divided by the nominal hoop stress
of undeformed pipe. Therefore, the equivalent stress
concentration factor for this dent geometry is approximately
equal to 2.81. This is in reasonable agreement with the stress
concentration factor of 2.91 calculated during the FFS
assessment for this specific dent. The discrepancy is likely due
to the simplifications of the model, in that it does not
incorporate the residual stressed due to plastic deformation.


Figure 16. Contour plot of calculated stress

SUMMARY
The engineering critical assessment of the 24 dents resulted
in 11 dents with maximum strain values of less than 6% and 13
Direction
Max plastic strain
(center node of
dent)
Calculated
according to ASME
B31.8
XX
(circumferential)
34.30% 30.10%
ZZ
(longitudinal)
28.60% 17.55% + 0.2%
9 Copyright 2012 by ASME
dents with an estimated remaining half-life greater than five (5)
years. Eight (8) of the 24 dents have calculated strain values of
less than 6% and an estimated remaining half-life of more than
five (5) years.
The FEA model representing the creation of the dent
resulted in strain values comparable to those calculated using
ASME B31.8. Although strains in the through wall thickness
direction of the model are not comparable to strain values from
ASME B31.8, they were observed to be larger than the strain
values in the longitudinal and circumferential directions. This
strain value represents the thinning of the pipe wall due to the
denting process.
The FEA model created using the in-line inspection
measurements resulted in a stress concentration value
comparable with the API 579 methodology; however, the
simplified model did not incorporate the residual stresses due to
plastic deformation.
The dent with a depth of 4.10% in Table 1 experienced a
failure in October, 2009. When the dent was first evaluated in
1988, the depth was measured as 4.10% of the outside diameter
and was found to be a plain dent without any stress risers. The
depth of the dent after the failure was measured as 2.7% of the
outside diameter. The dent survived approximately 21 years of
operation after being evaluated in 1988, compared to an
estimated remaining half-life of less than one (1) year (from the
field evaluation in 1988) that was predicted using the API 579
Level 2 FFS methodology. This illustrates some conservatism
that can be associated with the API 579 Level 2 FFS
methodology. The dent was also associated with maximum
strains in excess of 6%. This dent that failed was associated
with the shortest predicted remaining life, despite not being the
deepest dent analyzed.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The API 579 FFS Level 2 assessment can be grossly
over conservative when the predicted stresses with the
applied stress concentration factor exceed the yield
and tensile stress of the line pipe material. The FEA
model created for one of the dents using the in-line
inspection measurements did result in a stress
concentration value comparable with the API 579
methodology.
The FEA model representing the creation of the dent
resulted in strain values comparable to those
calculated using ASME B31.8.
Strain values in the through wall thickness direction of
the model are not comparable to strain values from
ASME B31.8, which were observed to be larger than
the strain values in the longitudinal and
circumferential directions. This strain value represents
the thinning of the pipe wall due to the denting
process.
The ASME B31.8 Appendix R strain calculations are
typically sensitive to measurement errors when using
in-line inspection sensor data, and require engineering
judgment.
o Profile estimation in the axial direction along
the dent using in-line inspection data tends to
be sensitive to measurement error. This is
due to the high sampling rates typically
reported by caliper tools, e.g. data
measurements every 0.1 inches along the
dent. Erroneous measurements can occur
when the geometry in-line inspection tools
sensors lose contact with the internal wall of
the pipe, resulting in an unrealistic dent
profile.
o Unlike the high sampling rates axially along
the dent, caliper tools typically report
circumferential measurements at larger
spacing, such as every 1 inch around the pipe.
Sensor spacing of every 1 inch
circumferentially around the pipe can result
in missing a sharp curvature of the dent
profile, particularly in small diameter pipe.
Cubic spline interpolation can help estimate
the true curvature between the caliper tools
sensors.
Rainflow cycle counting at each dent location,
accounting for distance along the pipeline, elevation
changes, and the specific gravity of the product, gives
more accurate results than assuming the dent
experiences the pressure cycles at the discharge
pump/compressor.
Failure of the dent in 2009 could have been prevented
if this assessment had been performed when the dent
was discovered.
Pipeline operators who have unconstrained dents
within in their system should consider a strain and
fatigue assessment.
Further development and verification of dent fatigue
models is necessary to reduce perceived conservatism.
Operators can consider applying constraint at the time
of dent exposure and evaluation to prevent or limit
future fatigue.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to thank their colleagues at Det
Norske Veritas (USA) and Trans Northern Pipelines, Inc. for
their support of the program.
REFERENCES
[1] DAWSON, S.J., Emerging Techniques for Enhanced
Assessment and Analysis of Dents.
International Pipeline Conference, 2006
[2] ANONYMOUS, Gas Transimission and Distribution Piping
Systems. In: American Society of Mechanical Engineers
B31.8, 2007.
[3] ANONYMOUS, Fitness-For-Service. In: American
Petroleum Institute 579-1 / American Society of Mechanical
Engineers FFS-1,2007.
10 Copyright 2012 by ASME
[4] ANONYMOUS, Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems. In:
Canadian Standards Association Z662-07, 2007.
[5] ERICKSON, A.M., Fatigue Crack Failure Associated
with Shallow Dents on Pipelines
NEB., File OF-SURV-INC-02, 2010.
[6] ALEXANDER, C., A Systematic Approach for Evaluating
Dent Severity in a Liquid Transmission Pipeline System
International Pipeline Conference, 2010
[7] SolidWorks 2012, Dassault Systems, 1995-2012
[8] Abaqus Standard 6.11-1, Dassault Systems, 2011