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Lateral Buckling of Axially Constrained Pipelines

Imagine a length of straight uniform pipeline, rigidly attached to a rigid anchor block at each end, and initially unstressed. If an internal pressure is applied, can this pressure cause the pipe to buckle sideways? Although a correct answer to this question follows from a simple argument, it is nevertheless the subject of dispute among pipeline engineers. A simple but misleading argument goes like this: pressure induces a hoop tensile stress around the pipe, and if it were unconstrained it would contract along its length (because Poisson’s ratio is positive). Since the anchor blocks resist this contraction, a longitudinal tensile stress is induced. Since the pipe wall is in longitudinal tension, the pipe cannot buckle laterally. It is the final step in this argument that is incorrect. This article sets down reasoning that leads to the correct conclusion—that the pipe can buckle—and compares the predicted buckling pressure with experiment.

where L is the length of the pipe; that is, when p = 272EDT/(1 – 2V)L2.

The Critical Pressure
An elementary argument shows that the longitudinal stress set up in a straight thin-walled axially constrained pipe by an internal pressure, p, is vpD/2T, where v is Poisson’s ratio, D is diameter, and T is wall thickness, The resultant force over a complete crosssection perpendicular to the tube axis is (7r/4)D2p (1 – 2.), compressive since v < 1%, the difference between the compressive force (7/4)D2p carried by the tluid within the pipe and the tensile force (vpD/ 2T) (nDT) Carned by the waii of ti’Ie pipe. Tine pipe C~I th~~ be tho~~kf nf 9Cn enlllpm with carrying this resultant compressive force, and buckling can be expected to occur when the force reaches the Euler buckling load. If Young’s modulus is E, the flexural rigidity is ZED3T/8; by this argument, buckling will occur when
~... “L s.” . . . . . . . . . ~i~rn~d ~ds

The above argument leads to a correct value for the buckling pressure, but leaves a certain uneasiness in one’s mind, because an instinctive feeling that the axial compressive force must “follow” the buckling pipe seems to conflict with the fact that the ends are fixed. An alternative argument avoids this difficulty, and makes clearer what the force pushing the pipe sideways is. T-. ,..”,, --” w~ll itci=lf and the. L1lC cIUUt G Ill +1.,.“l.contained fluid within it were considered together. Instead, consider them separately, Fig. 1a shows the forces and moments acting on an element ds of the pipe wall, and Fig. 1b shows the forces acting on the fluid contained within the element. The resultant force exerted by the contained fluid pressure on the pipe wall is Rds, and ~ denotes the inclination of the deflected pipe to its original line. Since the fluid element must be in equilibrium, resolving forces perpendicular to the pipe axis in Fig. lb,
(.Z1~U,lLL.lL ~ t thw I+Y= y.y,,-----------------

Rds = (7/4)Dzp d~ so that R = (7/4)D’p d#/ds. In words, the contained fluid exerts a lateral force on a deflected pipe; the magnitude of the force per unit length is the pressure multiplied by the cross-section multiplied by the curvature, and it acts towards the outside of the curve. If one analyzes buckling by examining the pipe deflected from its inittal posittmi, one must not forget the existence of this force (which is of course well known in other contexts). Analysis of the stability of the pipe can from here on follow the conventional methods of beam-column analysis: the differential equation governing the behavior of a deflected pipe is derived, and one then

(7r/4)D2P(l – 2v) = 4r2(rED3T/8)/L2,

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q LIIa. .. (a) Constrained tube initially free of pressure.rna! Qii ---.N# = O 4 N/mm2 t~ ~xperimental for small deflections. If an ordinary beam has clamped ends that cannot move inward as the center of the beam deflects... but the deflection becomes large only at pressures slightly above the calculated value. 2~An experiment on lateral buckling. the difIerential equation turns out to be (TED3T/8)$ + [(iT/4)D2P .. Ells for suggesting this problem. This agrees well with observation. and it is clear that it does indeed buckle sideways. England J.l.fM5 mm (73. Fig.313 in. 1 IV/mm’ = 145.0394 in. lateral deflection of the pressurized pipe induces an axial tensile strain.6 p. which is a foreshortened end view... In the same way... and it follows that buckling will occur when this force reaches the Euler buckling load. D= T = L = E = v= 7.).~ Experimental Results The conclusions of the previous section were tested experimentally in the apparatus shown in Fig.). l—(a) Forces on an element of pipe. I. 2b shows the tube under an internal pressure of 4.).d! m!!ers. Fig..2). — . S. 3 shows how its central lateral deflection depends on the pressure applied.-.268.. 2a.93 N/mm’ (425 lb/in.— -— —— -— deflection axis before and the critical pressure calculated from the expression derived earlier is —Fig. If N is the axial force transmitted by the pipe wall and y is the lateral deflection..== -=... 3-Observed relation between pressure and lateral deflection. Palmer a b Fig. which alters the axial force in the pipe wall. so that the equilibrium of a straight pipe is neutral or unstable.80 mm (0.0593”” mracc.0 lb/in... For the tube used in the experiment. A straight thin- walled stainless steel tube is held between tied steel blocks into which the ends of the tube are cemented. Small lateral deflections do occur at rather lower pressures..looks for conditions under which the pipe can remain in equilibrium in a deflected form. (1 mm = 0.a -------. ~mm lateral deflection Fig. A.9 N/mmz (710 lb/in2). though normally the effects of this tensile strain are negligible unless the deflection is unusually large. A traveling microscope (not shown) measures the central deflection. A. 204 kN/mm2 (2. C. which are free tn mnve Qn s~...5 in. pressure is applied by a hand-operated pump. This is identical with the equation that governs a beam-column carrying an axial load (7/4)D2p – N. The tube is supported on thin steel strips. any lateral deflection will induce an axial tensile strain in the beam. Cambridge..— —— p = 2. i. uu~~.. W. Cambridge U.cirlew~y~ “--... The corresponding critical pressure is the same as before. presumably because the tube is not perfectly straight initially. Iran JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY (b) tube urider 1284 p~essurc greate[ L. 0. a). Inte.-.96 X 107 lb/in. (b) forces on the fluid within the pipe element. 0. Baldry Iranian Oil Supply Co.151 mm (0. and measured by the Bourdon gauge. Acknowledgment We thank J.. A straightfonvard analysis gives the complete relation between pressure and lateral deflection it is omitted here for reasons of space. . — . It is this that causes the gentle rise in the observed pressuredeflection curve as the deflection becomes large.. Tehran.--* -.