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Proceedings of the 2012 9th International Pipeline Conference

IPC2012
September 24-28, 2012, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
IPC2012-90089
RESEARCH ON BURST TESTS OF PIPELINE WITH SPIRAL WELD DEFECTS


Jian Chen
PetroChina Pipeline R&D Center
Langfang, Hebei, China
Qingshan Feng
PetroChina Pipeline Company
Langfang, Hebei, China


Fuxiang Wang
PetroChina Pipeline R&D Center
Langfang, Hebei, China
Hailiang Zhang
PetroChina Pipeline Company
Langfang, Hebei, China
Hancheng Song
PetroChina Pipeline Company
Langfang, Hebei, China


ABSTRACT
On some old long distance transmission pipelines of
PetroChina some severe spiral weld defects existed. These weld
defects were found to be from a lack of penetration and lack of
fusion during pipe manufacturing. To avoid possible failure
accidents, tri-axis magnetic flux leakage (MFL) in-line
inspections were performed on some certain pipelines. A large
quantity of spiral weld defects were detected in the inspections
and their sizes were reported, some of them with large depth
and large length along the spiral weld seam. However, there is
no applicable engineering critical assessment (ECA) method
for this kind of defects up to now. Assessment methods
provided in BS7910:2005 and other codes are only applicable
to assess flaws in cylinder oriented axially or circumferentially.
Projection processing must be used to utilize these methods for
spiral flaws. Three other different assessment methods for
spiral defects in linepipe were proposed by Mok et al., Fu and
Jones, and Bai et al. separately. But these methods were
originally developed for spiral corrosion and have not been
proved to be applicable for spiral weld defects on the old
pipelines of PetroChina. In this papers work, several burst
tests of pipeline with spiral weld defects were carried out.
Different projection assessment methods based on
BS7910:2005 were conducted as well as the spiral corrosion
assessment methods proposed in previous studies. Predicted
results were compared with burst tests and analyzed in this
paper. As a conclusion of comparison, the axial projection
method based on BS7910:2005 was suggested to assess this
kind of spiral weld defects despite of its conservatism.
KEY WORDS
pipeline, spiral weld defect, burst test, engineering critical
assessment (ECA)
NOMENCLATURE
A
- longitudinal area of metal loss
( , ) A o - spiral correction factor
c - half length of the defect
D
- pipe diameter
d - maximum depth of the defect
r
K - ratio of SIF to material toughness
L
- length of the defect
M
- Folias factor
b
P - predicted burst pressure
*
b
P - measured burst pressure in the test
Q- spiral correction factor
R
- pipe radius
SMYS - specified minimum yield strength
r
S - ratio of applied load to flow stress
t - wall thickness of the pipe
W - width of the defect

- angle of the spiral defect


flow
o - flow stress
- dimensionless geometric parameter of the defect
v - Poissons ratio
INTRODUCTION
Some long distance transmission pipelines of PetroChina
were constructed in the 1970s. Due to limited pipe
manufacturing technology at that time, some severe spiral weld
defects with large depth and large length existed on some
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certain pipelines, which had been a great threat to pipeline
integrity. A typical accident of spiral weld cracking was shown
in Figure 1, which took place in 2006 on Hui-Ning oil pipeline
in service since 1978[1]. How to inspect and assess these spiral
weld defects and make corresponding repair decisions became
an urgent issue.


Figure 1 - A leakage accident of spiral weld cracking

Efforts were made to detect these defects through tri-axis
MFL in-line inspection. Through pull-through tests and trial
application, it was proved that tri-axis MFL in-line inspection
tool was able to detect and report sizes of spiral weld defects at
a satisfying level. Figure 2 shows an example of tri-axial MFL
in-line inspection signals of spiral weld anomaly[2]. Estimated
depth and length of the anomaly can be given through sizing
model on tri-axial signals.


Figure 2 - Example of tri-axial MFL in-line inspection
signals of spiral weld anomaly

The spiral weld defects were found to be lack of
penetration and lack of fusion through excavation validation
results. But there is no applicable ECA method for this kind of
defect up to now. To research for applicable assesssment
method, full scale burst tests of pipes with real spiral weld
defects were conducted. These pipes were taken from an old
pipeline of PetroChina which had been inspected by tri-axis
MFL in-line inspection tool.
Two projection methods based on BS7910:2005 and
another three assessment methods for spiral corrosion were
summarized and applied to assess the defects of test pipes with
defect sizes reported by in-line inspection. Predicted burst
pressures of different methods were compared to test results to
find best practice to assess this kind of spiral weld defects.
ASSESSMENT METHODS FOR SPIRAL WELD
DEFECTS
BS7910:2005[3]
The British standard BS7910 is often used for assess flaws
in metallic structures, but for spiral weld defect the plane of the
flaw is not aligned with a plane of principal stress. Stress
intensity factor (SIF) and reference stress solutions are not
provided in BS7910:2005. Instead it is suggested to project the
flaw on to each of the three planes normal to the principal
stresses and to evaluate each of the three projected flaws. As an
example shown in Figure 3, the spiral flaw is projected
respectively to the circumferential orientation and axial
orientation. According to BS7910:2005, one of these
projections will lead significantly high SIF and reference stress
than others and assessment is carried out on this projection. But
it is also reminded that special attention should be paid when
the angle between the plane of the actual flaw and the principal
plane is greater than 20. So in this papers work the
circumferential projection and the axial projection and further
calculations were carried out separately.

1-Resolved flaw 3-Principal axial stress
2-Actual flaw 4-Principal hoop stress
Figure 3 - Projection example for spiral flaw

In BS7910:2005 flaws are divided to 3 types: planar flaws,
non-planar flaws and shape imperfections. Generally planar
flaws result in fracture crack and non-planar flaws result in
plastic collapse. The spiral weld defects found on old pipelines
of PetroChina are mainly found to be due to lack of penetration
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and lack of fusion. In this papers work the defects on test pipes
were not identified in detail because it is conservative to assess
non-planar flaws as planar ones.
For fracture assessment there are three levels of assessment
routes in BS7910:2005. Level 1 is the simplified assessment
method when the information of material properties is limited.
Level 2 is the normal assessment route, and level 3 is
appropriate for ductile tearing analysis. Level 1 assessment is a
conservative procedure compared to level 2 and 3. If the defect
can be accepted at level 1 assessment, there is no need to
employ high level assessment. In this papers work level 1A
and failure assessment diagram (FAD) was adopted for
conservative reasons.
As shown in Figure 4, level 1A FAD has two non-
dimensional variables. The vertical axis of is ratio of applied
conditions to material resistance to fracture, in terms of fracture
mechanics, corresponding to failure by fracture. The horizontal
axis is the ratio of the applied load to material flow stress,
corresponding to failure by plastic collapse. The acceptable
region of level 1A FAD is bonded by two assessment lines:
1 2 0.707
r
K = ~

and 0.8
r
S = . So the safety factors
are 2 and 1.25 respectively.

Figure 4 - Level 1A FAD

After projecting flaws to the circumferential orientation or
to the axial orientation, the procedure for calculating
r
K

and
r
S can be found in BS7910:2005.
Method by Mok et al. [4][5]
Mok et al. proposed a method to assess long external spiral
corrosion:
2
1
flow
b
t
d
P Q
D t
o
| |
=
|
\ .
(1)

Where Q is the spiral correction factor determined by
spiral angle
+
and ratio of defect width to wall thickness
W t . As shown in Figure 5, Q lies between 0.0 to 1.0. For
60 + > or 32 W t > , Q equals 1.0.

Figure 5 - Spiral correction factor Q

In Moks studies, the flow stress was set to 1.5SMYS
and predicted results showed good agreement compared to
burst tests.
Method by Fu and Jones[6]
Fu and Jones made modifications on NG-18 equation and
introduced a spiral correction factor ( , ) A o together with
Folias factor ( ) M :
1
2
1
1
( , ) ( )
flow
b
d
t
t
P
d
D
t A M
o
o
| |

| =
|

\ .
(2)

Where o is the spiral angle of defects and
2
4
12(1 ) / c Rt v =
is the dimensionless geometric
parameter of defects.
In their studies, an elastic finite element (FE) analysis was
conducted to determine mode I and mode II SIFs. An linear
regression of Folias factor was proposed for easy calculation as
Equation (3). The spiral correction factor ( , ) A o can be
obtained from Figure 6. Not as common projection methods,
the total length of defect was used instead of projected length
because the FE analysis was based on the total length.
( ) 0.49 0.67 M = + (for 1.5 > ) (3)
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Figure 6 - Spiral angle correction factor ( , ) A o

The dimensionless geometric parameter was given in
the range of 0~8, so application of this method is limited for
long defects.
Method by Bai et al. [7]
Bai et al. also made modifications on NG-18 equation and
combined the spiral corrosion factor Q from Mok et al. and
the Folias factor. The total length of defect was also used to
calculate Folias factor
M
in this method.
0
0
1
2
1
1
1
flow
b
A
Q
t
A
P
A
D
A M
o
| |

| =
|

|
\ .
(4)

Where
2 4
2
2.51( 2) 0.54( 2)
1
( )
L L
M
Dt Dt
= +

(for
2
50 L Dt s )
2
0.32 3.3
L
M
Dt
= +
(for
2
50 L Dt > )
2 3 A Ld = (for
2
30 L Dt s )
0.85 A Ld = (for
2
30 L Dt > )
When Q is set to 1.0 for longitudinal defects
( 60 + > ), the criterion is quite similar to the original NG-18
equation.
In Bai et al.s paper, compared to several published burst
tests, predicted results of this method were consistent with test
results.

BURST TESTS
To confirm actual burst pressure of pipeline and compare
with assessment methods, 7 groups of full scale burst tests of
pipes with real spiral weld defects were conducted at Langfang,
China in 2010.
The test pipes were taken from an old transmission
pipeline of PetroChina which had been inspected by tri-axis
MFL in-line inspection tool. The parameters of test pipes are
shown in Table 1. The spiral weld defects on them were real
defects formed in pipe manufacturing which were reported by
tri-axis MFL tool. Table 2 shows defect size parameters of the
test pipes. The relative defect depths (d/t) of the 7 defects were
close from 0.506 to 0.689 mm/mm. The lengths of defects were
all very long from 800mm to 6000mm. Some long defects were
defect cluster according to interaction rules.

Table 1 - Properties of the test pipes
Steel grade X52
Outer diameter 700mm
Wall thickness 8~9 mm
Pipe length 12m approximately
Spiral angle 30
SMYS 358MPa
Yield stress 381MPa
Ultimate tensile strength 556MPa
Fracture toughness 86.6MPam
1/2


Table 2 - Defect parameters
Test
No.
Wall thickness
(mm)
Defect depth
d/t(mm/mm)
Defect axial length
(mm)
1# 9 0.606 1900
2# 9 0.586 800
3# 8 0.515 5190
4# 8 0.506 1490
5# 9 0.689 2017
6# 8 0.634 6000
7# 9 0.573 1290

The burst test system mainly consists of hydraulic pressure
unit, data acquiring and controlling unit and charge-coupled
device (CCD) video camera as shown in Figure 7. The test pipe
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was pressurized using water and monitored by video camera.
Strain and pressure history data of the test pipe were acquired
and recorded on the remote computer.

Hydraulic
pressure unit
Test pipe
Data acquiring and controlling unit
Pressure data Strain data CCD camera Pressure control
Remote monitor

Figure 7 - Diagram of burst test setup

The test results are summarized in Table 3 including burst
pressures and initial failure positions. It should be noticed that
for test 3# and 5#, the initial failure positions were at the
middle of weld and their burst pressures were significantly
higher than other 5 tests. For the other 5 tests, the initial failure
positions were on the fusion line and their burst pressures were
relatively low. Among them, 4 tests presented quite close burst
pressures from 5.3MPa to 5.9MPa. Photos of cracking at the
middle of weld and along the fusion line were shown in Figure
8 and 9 respectively for test 5# and 1#. It can be inferred that
the weld reinforcement will increase burst pressure when the
initial defect lies at the middle of the spiral weld, as the effect
of increasing wall thickness.

Table 3 - Test results
Test No.
Burst pressure
(MPa)
Initial failure
position
1# 5.5 On the fusion line
2# 5.8 On the fusion line
3# 9.6
At the middle of
weld
4# 5.9 On the fusion line
5# 9.4
At the middle of
weld
6# 5.3 On the fusion line
7# 7.2 On the fusion line


Figure 8 - Cracking at the middle of weld - test 5#


Figure 9 - Cracking along the fusion line - test 1#

ECA FOR SPIRAL WELD DEFECTS
Several ECA methods discussed above were applied to
predict burst pressure of the tests. Parameters of the pipe body
material and the nominal wall thickness were used in
calculation, i.e., the spiral weld defects were taken as defects
on pipe body and weld reinforcement (remaining height) was
not considered. Its an approximate processing for easy use in
practice.
The ratio of actual burst pressure to predicted pressure
*
b b
P P was used to measure accuracies of different ECA
methods. For a perfect prediction,
*
b b
P P equals 1.0. For
over predicted,
*
b b
P P is less than 1.0, and for under
predicted,
*
b b
P P is more than 1.0. All the values of
*
b b
P P through different ECA methods are summarized in
Table 4.




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Table 4 - Actual burst pressure to predicted pressure
Test No.
*
b b
P P
BS7910 Method by Mok Method by Bai
circumferential axial 1.5SMYS
1.1SMYS

1.5SMYS
1.1SMYS

1# 0.65 1.51 0.54 0.74 0.52 0.71
2# 0.65 1.46 0.57 0.77 0.54 0.74
3# 1.04 2.47 1.02 1.39 0.98 1.34
4# 0.63 1.46 0.62 0.85 0.60 0.82
5# 1.41 3.27 0.97 1.33 0.92 1.26
6# 0.76 1.80 0.60 0.82 0.57 0.78
7# 0.79 1.81 0.70 0.95 0.67 0.91
Average 0.84 1.97(1.61*) 0.72 0.98 0.69 0.94
Standard
deviation
0.28 0.67(0.18*) 0.20 0.27 0.19 0.26
*statistics excluding test 3# and 5#

Projection methods based on BS7910:2005
The spiral weld defects on test pipes were projected to the
circumferential and the axial orientation and then assessed
separately. These defects found to be due to a lack of
penetration and lack of fusion were mostly internal surface or
embedded flaws. Tri-axis MFL in-line inspection tool can
report sizes of spiral weld defects but cannot classify their
position up to now. Generally internal surface flaws are more
critical than embedded and external surface flaws. For
conservative considerations all these spiral weld defects were
taken as internal surface flaws.
For the circumferential projection method, the spiral weld
defects were projected to the circumferential orientation of the
pipe. Since the defects were relatively long, solutions for long
internal surface flaw in cylinder oriented circumferentially
were used as shown in Figure 10. For some very long defect,
the projected length was limited to not more than the
circumference of the pipe.


Figure 10 - Long internal surface flaw in cylinder oriented
circumferentially

As shown in Table 4, burst pressures of 5 tests were over
predicted through this method. Only for test 3# and 5#, with
initial failure position at the middle of weld, burst pressures
were under predicted pressures. The average ratio
*
b b
P P
equals 0.84 with a standard deviation of 0.28.
For the axial projection method, the spiral weld defects
were projected to the axial orientation of the pipe. Solutions for
long internal surface flaw in cylinder oriented axially were
used as shown in Figure 11.


Figure 11 - Long internal surface flaw in cylinder
oriented axially

As shown in Table 4, burst pressures were under predicted
pressures for all 7 tests through this method. Although the
ratios
*
b b
P P were relatively large (average 1.97 with a
standard deviation of 0.67) indicating conservatism of this
method. Especially for test 3# and 5#, the ratios
*
b b
P P were
2.47 and 3.27 respectively. For other 5 tests, the ratios were
somehow close from 1.46 to 1.81. If statistics are only made on
the 5 tests, an average ratio
*
b b
P P of 1.61 with a standard
deviation of 0.18 is readout. Under this condition we will have
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an average safety factor of 1.61 and a minimum safety factor
1.46 for the 5 tests.
Method by Mok et al.
To utilize this method, width parameter W of defects is
required. However the defect width was not reported by tri-axis
MFL in-line inspection tool. Excavation validation showed
most spiral weld defects were approximately 2~3mm in width.
In this paper W was set to 4mm. Actually when spiral angle
equals to 30, Q varies very slightly when W changes in a
certain range.
As shown in Table 4, when flow stress was set to
1.5SMYS , burst pressure was over predicted for 6 tests with
an average ratio
*
b b
P P of 0.72 and a standard deviation of
0.20. When flow stress was decreased to 1.1SMYS , still 5
tests were over predicted with an average ratio
*
b b
P P of
0.98 and a standard deviation of 0.27.
Method by Fu and Jones
All the spiral weld defects on test pipes in this paper were
very long ( 25.5 ~ 203.2 = ), which had greatly exceeded
the range of provided in Fu and Joness paper. So this
method was not employed for assess these spiral weld defects
in this paper.
Method by Bai et al.
The same assumption of W was made with the method
by Mok et al., i.e., the same value of Q was used. The
predicted results by this method were also quite close to results
by Moks method. When flow stress was set to 1.5SMYS , all
the 7 tests were over predicted with an average ratio
*
b b
P P
of 0.69 and a standard deviation of 0.19. When flow stress was
decreased to 1.1SMYS , also 5 tests were over predicted with
an average ratio
*
b b
P P of 0.94 and a standard deviation of
0.26.
Summary
For two projection methods based on BS7910:2005, burst
pressures of 5 tests were over predicted through the
circumferential projection method. Only the axial projection
method presented conservative predicted burst pressures for all
tests. The ratios of actual burst pressure to predicted pressure
*
b b
P P varied from 1.46 to 3.27 with an average value of 1.97
and a standard deviation of 0.67, indicating relatively high
conservatism of this method. But if test 3# and 5#, affected by
weld reinforcement, are not count, the average ratio of
*
b b
P P
will be 1.61 with a standard deviation of 0.18. Under this
condition the accuracy and consistency of the axial projection
method seem to be good enough to assess the spiral weld
defects. However, the population size is not big enough to infer
a realistic safety factor and a standard deviation. More tests are
needed for further investigation.
For three methods for spiral corrosion, the method by Fu
and Jones was not employed in this paper because defect length
here exceeded its application range. The method by Mok et al.
and by Bai et al. presented quite close burst pressures
compared with each other. But they both over predicted the
burst pressures for most tests even if the flow stress was
decreased from 1.5SMYS to 1.1SMYS . This probably
because these two methods were based on tests of external
surface spiral corrosion defects, which were quite different
from the spiral weld defects in this papers tests.
Among these methods above, only the axial projection
method based on BS7910:2005 is appropriate to assess the
spiral weld defects on the test pipes in spite of its relatively
high conservatism.
CONCLUSIONS
Studies were carried out to solve the issue of assessing
spiral weld defects on some old pipelines of PetroChina.
Several possible ECA methods for the spiral weld defects were
summarized, including two projection methods based on
BS7910:2005 and other three methods for assessing spiral
corrosion.
Seven groups of full scale burst tests of pipes were
conducted. These test pipes with real spiral weld defects were
taken from an old pipeline which had been inspected by tri-axis
MFL in-line inspection tool. It is noticed that when the initial
failure positions were at the middle of weld, burst pressures
would be significantly higher than other tests due to effect of
weld reinforcement.
Different ECA methods were employed with defect size
parameters reported by in-line inspection tool. The predicted
results of different methods were compared with test results
and analyzed.
Methods for assessing spiral corrosion were found to be
not appropriate to assess the spiral weld defects on the test
pipes probably due to different defect types and positions. The
circumferential projection method based on BS7910:2005 also
over predicted burst pressures for 5 tests. Only the axial
projection method presented conservative burst pressures for
all 7 tests.
It is concluded that the axial projection method based on
BS7910:2005 was suggested to assess this kind of spiral weld
defects on the old pipelines of PetroChina despite of its some
kind of conservatism. Its valuable to make repair decisions
through this method from the large amount of spiral weld
defects on the old pipelines.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to thank PetroChina Pipeline
Company for permission to publish this paper. The authors also
would like to thank PetroChina Pipeline Company staffs
valuable help in gathering in-line inspection data, collecting
test pipes and the burst tests.
7 Copyright 2012 by ASME
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