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ECAs: Are they fit-for-purpose?
ANDREW COSHAM † Atkins Boreas, UK
ABSTRACT Engineering critical assessments (ECAs) have increasingly become a routine part of pipeline design to determine tolerable flaw sizes for weld defects. These assessments are now being applied to pipeline systems in deeper water with increased loadings arising from responses to thermal and pressure cycling. Often these are flowline systems in which fatigue damage is exacerbated by the presence of aggressive internal conditions. In these situations, ECAs can give 'alarming' results, indicating that only very small flaws would be acceptable. In some cases, applying the same methodology to in-service pipelines would suggest that the pipeline should have failed a long time ago, whereas in reality they have not. Therefore, a number of questions arise: are ECAs too conservative; are there situations where ECAs may be non-conservative; and do we fully understand what we are doing? In this paper, these issues are illustrated by means of several examples and an attempt is made to partly answer the above questions.
Pipeline systems are being designed to operate in deep waters at high temperatures and high pressures, in aggressive internal environments. Design issues for such pipeline systems tend to arise in the flowlines rather than the risers or ‘platforms’. Fatigue can be a significant design constraint. The fatigue design of risers is typically governed by ‘hot spots’ at the top and bottom of the riser due to loads arising from wind, wave and current loading. Wave loading is typically 7 8 predictable and of a low frequency, with of the order of 10 or 10 cycles over the design life of the system. Current loading is more unpredictable. Factors of safety of five for flowlines and ten for risers are typically applied in fatigue design. Deep water flowlines operating at high temperatures and pressures need to be designed to accommodate issues such as significant end expansion, walking and lateral buckling. Insulation or direct electrical heating may be required for flow assurance. Shut-downs result in significant pressure and temperature cycles. The fatigue loading is characterised by a small number of large cycles, less than 10 3 cycles over the design life. The fatigue loading is in a completely different regime to that in a riser , giving rise to a different set of design challenges. The fatigue loading is also, in principle, under the direct control of the pipeline operator because it is driven by variations in pressure and temperature, unlike environmental loading. Factors of safety in fatigue design, and the associated ECAs, tend to be lower, in part because there is perceived to be a higher level of confidence in the fatigue loading, but also because higher factors of safety cannot be accommodated. The fatigue design is
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We also know there are known unknowns. good quality workmanship. approach to design is to consider the loads acting on the structure and the tensile properties (yield strength. In addition. although developed for onshore pipelines. in addition to the effect of the internal environment on toughness. But there are also unknown unknowns -. 2/17 . a particular fabrication is considered to be adequate for its purpose. although these are less commonly used in the pipeline industry. Other widely recognised codes and standards include API 579 and R6 [3.” Appendix A of DNV-OS-F101 2007  gives additional guidance on conducting ECAs of girth welds in offshore pipelines. and these are gradually being incorporated into codes and standards. there are things we know we know. or perhaps even non-conservative It is therefore informative to examine a number of the issues surrounding ECAs. DNV-RP-F108  give specific guidance for installation methods that introduce cyclic plastic strain. there are known knowns. the size of a significant defect. project-specific studies and academic research. and not a replacement for. Fracture mechanics considers the effect of a defect. It is often instructive to compare the results of ECAs with pipeline specific guidance. etc. cracks). Issues such as constraint. An ECA is conducted to determine the tolerable flaw size. the EPRG guidelines for defects in transmission pipeline girth welds are informative .” . With the application of ECAs to pipeline systems in deeper water subject to high thermal and pressure cycling and aggressive internal environments. The introduction to BS 7910 makes a number of statements regarding ECAs that are both informative and sometimes not remembered. through joint industry projects. provided the conditions to cause failure are not reached. intended to supplement that given in BS 7910. and their relationship with S-N curves.g. to demonstrate fitness-for-purpose.) of the material. Fitness-for-purpose is defined in BS 7910 : 2005  as follows: “By this principle. In addition to the loads and the tensile properties. i.e. frequency and strain rate. The use of an ECA can in no circumstances be viewed as an alternative to good workmanship. The conventional. The ECA is a secondary consideration. “… a proliferation of flaws. even if shown to be acceptable by an ECA. 2 ECAs IN CODES AND STANDARDS An engineering critical assessment (ECA) is a method for assessing the acceptability of a flaw in a structure. ECAs are based on the application of the science of fracture mechanics. that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. high strains and bi-axial loading are addressed to varying degrees. the class D and E design curves). and pipeline welding codes and standards. … [ECAs] are complementary to. i.complicated by issues such as: corrosion-fatigue. it is important to understand if ECAs can be overly conservative.the ones we don't know we don't know. i.4].” BS 7910 describes in detail how to conduct an engineering critical assessment. tensile strength.e.8]. but there are new developments. the ‘localapproach’. applied mechanics.e. reeling. Fracture mechanics is a relatively mature discipline. fracture mechanics considers the toughness of the material and the defect geometry. These generic codes and standards are supplemented by additional guidance in pipeline design codes and standards. the words of former secretary of defense are relevant: “As we know. Although spoken in a different context. is regarded as indicating that quality is in need of improvement. notches) or defects (e. This approach is not valid if the structure contains stress concentrations (e.g. Fatigue design is normally based on S-N curves (e. S-N curves are only appropriate if the weld is free from significant defects.g. The pipeline welding codes BS 4515 and API 1104 also give relevant guidance [7.
This is fortunate. BS 4515-1. Fatigue is an important consideration in an ECA. lack of (incomplete) fusion. it is dominated by fatigue crack propagation (growth) . Welding defects can be categorised as planar or non-planar (these are sometimes referred to as linear and volumetric. the workmanship acceptance levels for planar flaws can be summarised as follows: 3/17 . are used. This issue can be of particular concern in sour environments. High static loads and/or high cyclic loads may necessitate smaller acceptance criteria. and fracture mechanics. It is important that the endurance and fatigue crack growth rates tests are conducted in conditions (e. frequency. material. A corrosive environment can be created simply by the presence of pre-existing cracks or crevices. both published and unpublished. lateral buckling have a frequency of the order of 10 -6 Hz. also derived from testing. In fracture mechanics based fatigue. Non-planar flaws include: slag.g. inclusions and porosity. An ECA is required determine if workmanship acceptance levels are fit-for-purpose (see section 12). even though the bulk environment is non-corrosive. say. The fatigue life of a welded joint is lower than that of a plain plate because of the presence of stress concentrations and crack-like discontinuities. API 1104 : 2005 and DNV-OS-F101. S-N curves are derived from endurance testing. A number of fatigue tests. temperature and environment) that are representative of the actual conditions.3 FATIGUE Fatigue is a damage process whereby a crack can form and grow under the action of fluctuating (cyclic) loads. where corrosion-fatigue rates can be very high. Planar flaws include: incomplete (inadequate) penetration. These acceptance levels represent what a ‘good’ welder should be able to achieve. have shown that in a corrosive environment. Corrosion-fatigue can be more severe than either corrosion or fatigue. The rate of crack propagation is higher and the endurance limit (or threshold for the initiation of fatigue crack growth) is lower or nonexistent. There are differences between the workmanship acceptance levels in the various pipeline welding standards. In a welded joint. e. but broadly speaking. Planar flaws are more significant than non-planar flaws. The fatigue life in a corrosive environment is lower than that in a non-corrosive environment. Frequency is another issue that needs to be considered. the fatigue life is reduced as the loading frequency is reduced. The environment has a significant effect on fatigue.g. and cracks. They are not fitness-for-purpose defect limits. 4 PIPELINE WELDING CODES AND STANDARDS Pipeline welding codes and standards. which is too low for testing to be practical. fatigue crack growth laws. undercut. geometry. because loads associated with. specify workmanship acceptance levels for welding defects in pipeline girth welds. such as sea-water or a sour fluid. although non-planar flaws can be indicative of poor workmanship and may mask the presence of more severe planar flaws. The two methods used to assess fatigue are: S-N curves. respectively). These tests tend also to show that there is a plateau in the frequency response. or lower. fatigue crack initiation may occupy only a very small proportion of the fatigue life. Capillary condensation may cause there to be a corrosive environment in a crack.
The EPRG guidelines are not applicable to a pipeline subject to “onerous fatigue duty”.90. and is capable of measuring the height. and subsequently developed guidelines incorporating workmanship acceptance levels (Tier 1) and defect limits (Tiers 2 and 3). based on fitness-for-purpose methods. but not the height (depth). The type of flaw can be identified. Appendix A of API 1104 gives alternative acceptance criteria for girth welds. Semi-automatic and automatic welding systems have been developed.1 is equivalent to a usage factor of 0. 4/17 . The EPRG reviewed workmanship acceptance levels and fitness-for-purpose defect limits in various pipeline welding codes and standards. from a set of three tests. Workmanship acceptance levels were developed at a time when welding was manual and the completed welds were inspected using radiography.5%.2. workmanship acceptance levels were originally expressed in terms of the type of flaw and the length of the flaw. the size and types of welding defect that can be found has been extended as inspection methods have improved. and automatic ultrasonic (AUT) inspection has been introduced. and the minimum is at least 30 J. as well as length. AUT inspection is more effective at identifying planar defects than radiography. Consequently. and the total length of such flaws in any 300 mm (12 in. 5 THE EPRG GUIDELINES The EPRG guidelines for the assessment of defects in transmission pipeline girth welds give simple defect limits.). and flaw length less than or equal to 7 times the wall thickness. of flaws. and the total length of such flaws in any 300 mm (12 in. Appendix A is applicable if: the maximum applied axial strain does not exceed 0. The CVN impact energy requirements in BS 4515-1 are taken from the EPRG guidelines. The average CVN impact energy at the minimum design temperature should be at least 40 J. Consequently.5%. The profile of manual and automatic (or semi-automatic) welds is different. BS 4515-1 also allows acceptance criteria to be based on fitness-for-purpose. Inspection methods have improved over time. and some types of weld defect are more.). based on extensive small and full-scale testing.) should not exceed 25 mm. the yield to tensile ratio does not exceed 0.127 mm (0.013 with respect to the class E design curve (see section 9). and the average Charpy V-notch impact energy at the minimum design temperature. the “spectrum severity” limit in §A. Appendix A is not applicable to a pipeline subject to fatigue loading in excess of a prescribed limit. BS 4515-1 draws the readers attention to the publications of the EPRG. the length of individual surface flaws should not exceed 25 mm (1 in. is at least 40 J. and the minimum at least 30 J. The workmanship acceptance levels in BS 4515-1 can only be applied if a minimum Charpy V-notch (CVN) impact energy requirement is satisfied. be informative (see section 10).2.). and refers to the guidance in BS 7910 for conducting ECAs. nevertheless. and the length of the flaw can be measured using radiography. and the length of individual embedded (also referred to as buried) flaws should not exceed 50 mm (2 in. or less. the weld overmatches the pipe body.005 in. Welding codes and standards also make reference to defect acceptance limits (or defect limits) based on fitness-for-purpose. common depending upon the welding method. The Tier 2 defect limits for surface and embedded planar flaws are: flaw height less than or equal to 3 mm (based on the typical height of a weld run). and fracture mechanics analysis . noted the differences and inconsistencies. and the CTOD at the minimum design temperature is at least 0. Tier 2 of the EPRG guidelines is applicable if: the maximum applied axial strain does not exceed 0. but they can.) should not exceed 50 mm.
such as those given in BS 7608. corresponding to an SCF equal to 1.3. An S -N curve presents the fatigue life. so more than one class may apply to a particular welded joint. in that API 5L defines the yield strength as the stress at a total strain of 0. in addition to the CVN requirement. e. Bi-axial is also addressed. 6 S-N CURVES S-N curves can be used to estimate the fatigue life of a welded joint. from a set of three tests. or the weld root. Welded joints are classified. BS 7608 states that the classifications for transverse butt welds allow for some degree of misalignment. The effect of stress concentrations due to the weld shape and type are included in the S-N curves of welded joints.15/0. which means that the implications of constraint are considered implicitly.10 mm. The guidance in DNV-RP-C203 is based on the Macdonald et al. It further states 5/17 . and there are additional requirements. in PD 5500. but only if the root sides of joints with single-sided preparations are backgouged . Tier 3 of the EPRG guidelines is applicable if: the maximum applied axial stress does not exceed the yield strength (similar to the Tier 2 requirement. The Tier 3 defect limits are larger than the Tier 2 limits. but there is rarely sufficient information in the published data for these effects to be quantified . the average CTOD (measured using a single edge notch bend specimen) at the minimum design temperature. and weld defects.18]. in conjunction with a thickness correction and SCFs . initiation at the weld toe.g. testing. concluded that the class E S-N curve could be used for full penetration girth welds made from one side. The endurance test specimens used in the fatigue tests upon which the S-N curves will have included some degree of misalignment. and gross structural discontinuities and deviations from the intended design shape. which depends on the safety class. S. The class of an S-N curve refers to a particular mode of fatigue failure. and the class F2 curve is for a full penetration butt weld made from one side. so it is reasonable (and conservative) to consider that 40/30 J is equivalent to 0. the effect of plate thickness. In addition to classifying the welded joint. (2000). as a function of the applied stress range.5% ). non-critical pipelines to 3 to 10 for hazardous pipelines [17. without backing . in a review of S-N curves for girth welds. DNV-RP-C203 and DNV-OS-F101 specify a factor of safety. a design code for onshore transmission pipelines. not the nominal stress range. need to be taken into account. and full scale. For a ‘high’ safety class.5%). it is common practice in analysing endurance test data to plot the local stress range. N. PD 5500 and DNV-RP-C203 . a factor of safety of five must be applied to the fatigue life estimated using the design S-N curves. corrected for misalignment (from strain gauge measurements). Also.The Tier 3 defect limits are larger than the Tier 2 limits. in that the guidelines are applied to transmission pipelines operating at hoop stresses up to 72% SMYS (but the axial strain is limited to 0. PD 8010-1 and -2 indicate that factors of safety in pipeline design typically range from 1 for nonhazardous.g. The fatigue limits in IGE/TD/1. a factor of ten is applied. the environment. e. S-N curves of welded joints are based on endurance tests of workmanship quality welds. (2000) review. There is a view that the class E design S-N curve includes an allowance for misalignment. Design S-N curves. but this is not universally accepted in design codes . and. to select the appropriate S-N curve. The EPRG guidelines are partly based on wide plate. incorporate a factor of safety of ten on fatigue life . Some codes also indicate an effect of material. and for each class there is a different S-N curve. if other than a ferritic steel at ambient temperature. Macdonald et al.10 mm.15 mm. are mean minus two standard deviation curves to the experimental data. PD 5500 does not require a factor of safety (or usage factor) to be applied to the fatigue life estimated using the design S-N curves. For a ‘normal’ safety class. and the minimum is at least 0. the class E curve is for a full penetration butt weld made from both sides. must be at least 0.
(2000). Macdonald et al. Macdonald et al. Acceptance criteria for weld defects revealed by visual examination and non-destructive testing are given in §5. and temperature limits [Table 3. and further states that it is almost certain that none of the test welds had flaws of normally detectable size at the weld toe . Summarising the radiographic inspection levels for category 1 [Table 5. and UK HSE Offshore Guidance Notes .4-1]. BS 7608 : 1993 states that welding workmanship should be in accordance with BS 5135 : 1984 (now superseded) [15. 7 S-N CURVES AND ‘SIGNIFICANT DEFECTS’ S-N curves are only appropriate if the weld is free from significant defects. DNV-RP-C203. The question is: what is a significant defect? It is commonly interpreted as workmanship acceptance levels. cracks and lamellar tears. lack of penetration. maximum nominal thickness. PD 5500 specifies acceptance levels that are more severe than the typical workmanship acceptance levels in pipeline welding codes. planar defects are not permitted. permitted material. the size of defect that can be detected and measured using modern non-destructive inspection methods may be smaller than could have been detected in the ‘workmanship’ quality welds used in the development of S-N curves. implying construction category 1.7 of PD 5500.e.that if full penetration high quality welds are assured. The welds must be proved to be free from significant defects by non-destructive testing.7-1]: planar defects (e. including redundancy. ease of inspection and weld quality. Quality category A of BS 5135 does not permit cracks. It is further noted that these are known to be conservative . Embedded volumetric flaws and shallow weld toe undercut may be acceptable. but some care is required because different welding codes specify different workmanship acceptance levels. The improvement of inspection methods over time. Annex C of PD 5500. lack of fusion. PD 5500 defines three construction categories.19]. and the limits for non-planar defects are 6/17 . Reference is made to several tests of girth welds with root defects in which relatively low fatigue lives were recorded. which differ with respect to the level of inspection (non-destructive testing). i. gives requirements for the fatigue design of pressure vessels. There are a number of reasons for the different approach es. The S-N curves in PD 5500 have a common background to those in BS 7608. The guidance in this annex is informative for understanding the applicability of S-N curves. BS 7910 notes that the S-N curves for the various joint classes were derived from test data for nominally sound welds made under laboratory conditions. then the relevant S-N curves from BS 7608 can be used without a factor of safety. fabricated to normal standards of workmanship. therefore has implications for the definition and sizing of ‘significant defects’. (2000) states that design S-N curves for girth welds do not cover fatigue failure from identifiable welding defects . PD 5500 states that the design S-N curves have been derived from fatigue test data obtained from welded specimens. The requirement to ensure that welds are free from significant defects necessitates full (100 percent) inspection. a design code for unfired fusion welded pressure vessels. lack of root. side or inter-run fusion. The material must have sufficient toughness to avoid brittle fracture.g. The fatigue strength of a weld will be reduced by the presence of defects that are too small to detect with commonly available inspection methods. and reference is made to the acceptance levels for the ‘quality categories’ given in BS 7910 (which are the same as those in PD 5500). and lack of root penetration) are not permitted. It is stated that surface crack-like flaws are unlikely to be acceptable if a fatigue strength represented by any of the design S-N curves for girth welds is required.
the criteria are compared in Table 1 and Table 2. compared to a fracture mechanics based fatigue calculation. below.2 are that the latter are more restrictive on the length of slag inclusions.e. given in PD 5500 (and BS 7910). and are summarised in Table 2. NOTE 2 For assessing porosity. The only significant difference between the acceptance criteria in §5. i. with respect to the weld classes. In addition to these acceptance criteria. The ‘quality categories’ provide an alternative method of assessing the fatigue life of a flaw in a weld.2 of PD 5500 correspond to the limits for nonplanar flaws for the ‘quality categories’ given in BS 7910.mm [parent metal thickness] 50 50 maximum percentage area of porosity on radiograph 2 2 [the limit is expressed in a different form that is not readily translatable] Table 1 Acceptance levels for non-planar defects.2 of PD 5500 apply to vessels assessed to Annex C.7 and §C.3. the area of radiograph used should be the length of the weld affected by porosity multiplied by the maximum width of weld.4.e.4. the criteria in §C. below. NOTE 3 Individual pores are limited to a diameter of e/4 or 6 mm. inclusions and porosity) are given [Table C. whichever is the lesser. vessels subject to fatigue loading. given in PD 5500. The common thread in the above codes and standards is that ‘free from significant defects’ means no planar defects. for pressure vessels not subject to fatigue loading class required D (Q1) E (Q2) F (Q3) F2 (Q4) G (Q5) W (Q6) and lower maximum length of slag inclusion . Table 2 Acceptance levels for non-planar embedded defects. below. The acceptance levels for non-planar defects are summarised in Table 1.similar to BS 4515-1. code PD 5500 [Table 5. NOTE 4 The above levels can be relaxed in the case of steel welds which have been thermally stress relieved.5 4 10 35 no limit no limit maximum percentage area of porosity on radiograph 3 3 5 5 5 5 NOTE 1 Tungsten inclusions in aluminium alloy welds do not affect fatigue behaviour and need not be considered as defects from the fatigue viewpoint. for pressure vessels subject to fatigue loading 7/17 .3. The important point to note is that PD 5500 does not permit planar defects. This is significant when it is noted that BS 4515-1 does permit planar defect. PD 5500 refers to BS 7910 for assessing the fatigue lives of defects.3. Acceptance levels for nonplanar embedded defects (i. as described in BS 7910. The weld defect acceptance criteria in §C.mm 2. or determining the tolerable defects for a given fatigue life.7-1] BS 4515-1 API 1104 maximum length of slag inclusion .4].4.
The simplest case (and perhaps the case that was originally envisaged when the concept of ECAs and fitness-for-purpose were first developed) is the ECA of a known flaw. detected by means of some inspection technique (e. Figure 1 b) is a relatively simple illustration of the steps required to determine a flaw acceptance criteria. if the structure contains a flaw that is greater than or equal to this calculated flaw size. see Figure 1 b).8 WHAT IS AN ECA? An ECA. whilst the latter two are addressed by reducing the fracture toughness. The result is a calculated flaw size ( ). Another approach. in general terms. and their effect on the limiting flaw size is taken into account ( ). however. A structure (such as a pipeline) contains a known flaw ( ). such as stress corrosion cracking. as illustrated in Figure 1 c). In a design case. the maximum tolerable flaw size is equal to this calculated flaw size. then the structure will fail before the end of the time period under consideration. In a design case. tend to exhibit high rates of crack propagation. and even re-inspection at some regular interval into the future. with the results from the ECA used for concessions. workmanship considerations. embrittlement. In simple terms. it may not be immediately obvious as to what is the limiting condition. applied loads and the material properties. and the initiation of environmental crack mechanisms may be of concern in some environments. it may be necessary to consider both installation and operation. The limiting flaw size at the end-of-life (e-o-l) is calculated. Corrosion-fatigue. Then the flaw acceptance criteria () is determined.g. The ECA is therefore concerned with static loads and cyclic loads. Therefore. based upon the failure mode(s).g. assuming that workmanship acceptance levels are less than the subtracting the inspection tolerances from the tolerable flaw size.g. and other factors. with reference to the tolerable flaw size. based upon the failure mode(s). It is a natural extension of this simple case to consider an ECA to determine a flaw acceptance criteria.g. Environmental crack mechanisms. or an intelligent pig). and the growth of sub-critical flaws by fatigue. The growth of sub-critical flaws by ductile tearing may be an issue if the static loads are high (e. The relevant material damage mechanisms over the time period under consideration are identified. fracture or plastic collapse) and all of the possible material damage mechanisms that may lead to the growth of a sub-critical flaw (e. The corresponding flaw size at the start-of-life is then calculated by 8/17 . Secondly. considers all of the modes of final failure of a flaw (e. an ECA in a typical pipeline will be concerned with two issues: failure by fracture or plastic collapse (hereafter. would be to apply workmanship acceptance levels. embrittlement in a hydrogen charged environment). This may include calculation of the remaining life of the known flaw. the former is addressed by an increase in the rate of fatigue crack growth. the time period would be the design life of the structure. The limiting flaw size () in the structure is then calculated. necessitating a number of different calculations. taking into account material damage mechanisms and the capabilities of the inspection technique. this would be the flaw size at the end of the design life. radiography. In a design case. The limiting flaw size () in the structure is calculated. reeling). Firstly.g. In practice. see Figure 1 a). The steps in an ECA are summarised in Figure 1. the capabilities of the inspection technique(s). The maximum operating pressure of the typical pipeline is well below the creep regime. fatigue) or deterioration in the material properties (e. based on the end-of-life loads (). it can be significantly more complicated. Consider an offshore pipeline that is designed to accommodate lateral buckling. so normal practice is to avoid the initiation of such mechanisms. applied loads and the material properties. Whether the known flaw in the structure is ‘fit-for-purpose’ depends on the difference between the known flaw size and the limiting flaw size ( ). referred to simply as fracture). ultrasonics. One approach would simply be to subtract the inspection tolerances from the tolerable flaw size.
e-o-l s-o-l 9/17 . offshore pipeline) Figure 1 The steps in an ECA limiting flaw size.g.2 3 1 known flaw limiting flaw size ? flaw size (a & 2 c) a) ECA of a known flaw 4 acceptance criteria 1 2 limiting flaw size ? 3 calculated flaw flaw size (a & 2 c) b) ‘simple’ ECA to determine a flaw acceptance criteria 6 flaw size ( a & 2c ) INSTALLATION OPERATION limiting flaw size flaw size after installation 8 acceptance criteria 3 5 4 1 2 ? 7 calculated flaw flaw size (a & 2c) c) ‘complex’ ECA to determine a flaw acceptance criteria (e.
However. with respect to PD 5500 (or similar curves in DNV-RP-C203). In general terms. The structure may experience higher loads at the start-of-life than at the end-of-life. It is then necessary to consider the effect of the relevant material damage mechanisms during installation ( ). The ECA is a secondary consideration. with respect to installation. An ECA is then conducted. at the start-of-life () is the lower of that determined from & . and . the final flaw size is taken to be either 50 percent of the wall thickness. with an indirect relationship with experimental data though the fatigue crack growth law and its experimentally derived constants. it is instructive to calculate the initial size of flaw that corresponds to a given design S-N curve. The tolerable flaw size.taking into account the relevant material damage mechanisms over the design life ( ). No factor of safety has been applied to the results of the ECA. The calculated initial flaw size is larger for the thicker pipe – the cyclic stress intensity is related to a /B. taking into account factors such as fatigue and ductile tearing (and even the effects of installation on the material properties). there may be a requirement for a further ECA to determine the tolerable flaw size for installation ( ) and the flaw size after installation. respectively).5 times the class E curve (i. and decreases as the fatigue loading increases – in fatigue. It is not uncommon for this to indicate small tolerable flaw sizes. and the simplified (one stage) in-air fatigue crack growth law. In an ECA. as above. based on the start-of-life loads ( ). is required for the initial flaw size to exceed the typical workmanship acceptance levels in pipeline welding codes. 10% and 80% is common. There is no initiation. To simply the calculations. Figure 2 a) is for a 15 mm thick pipe and Figure 2 b) is for a 25 mm thick pipe.g. that corresponds to a given fraction of the class E design curve. The tolerable flaw size. a factor of safety of two) to 0. S-N curves are only applicable if the weld is free from sig nificant defects. two-dimensional weld toe stress concentration factors. In simple terms. at the start -of-life () is the lower of that determined from & .05 times the class E curve (a factor of safety of twenty). Fatigue crack initiation represents a small proportion of the fatigue life. the initial flaw size is more important than the final flaw size. No stress concentration factors due to misalignment have been applied to either the ECA or the S-N curve. as laid and operation.e. the stresses and strains in a lateral buckle tend to be highest when the buckle first forms. 10/17 . Figure 2 is a plot of the initial size of a surface flaw. this effectively means no planar flaws (see section 7). The difference between the calculated initial flaws sizes is small compared to the final flaw sizes. Therefore. the initial flaw is assumed to be a fatigue crack.2). A factor of safety of say five (or ten) would be applied to this design curve. 9 ECAs AND S-N CURVES Fatigue design is normally based on S-N curves. as would be done in an ECA. The allowable fatigue damage would then be split between installation. this might only be fatigue loading during installation. The calculations have been conducted in accordance with BS 7910. The figures show that a factor of safety of between 5 and 10 on the fatigue life predicted using the S-N curve. A pipeline girth weld will be a class D or E weld (cap and root. A set of curves are shown for fatigue lives ranging from 0. and . a direc t comparison of S-N curves and ECA is not straightforward. in terms of flaw height and flaw length. DNV-OS-F101 indicates that a split of 10%. An ECA is based on mathematical models. The question that then arises is the relationship between ECAs and S -N curves. The limiting flaw size at the start-of-life (s-o-l) is calculated. or 95 percent of the wall thickness. depending on thickness. with respect to operation. e. The initial flaw size increases as the factor of safety increases. using the flat plate stress intensity factor solutions (§M3. taking into account the safety factors that would be applied in design to the S-N curve. S-N curves are directly based on experimental data. Then the flaw acceptance criteria () is determined.
1 0.5xB = af 0.1 2 1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0. and 11/17 .1 = f. 0.3 0.1 = f.3 0. a (mm) 4 3 0.4 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 a) 6 flaw length.4 0.05 0. a (mm) 4 3 0.05 = f. 0.05 = f.05 flaw height. the influence of final flaw size decreases as the fatigue loading increases. indicating that in a design subject to high fatigue loading factors that influence fatigue are more important than those that affect the final flaw size.5 60 b) Figure 2 flaw length.6 B = 15 mm 5 class E 0.5xB = af 2 1 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 0.4 0.3 0. 2c (mm) B = 25 mm 5 class E 0. 2c (mm) Initial flaw sizes corresponding to the class E S-N curve This simple comparison between the results on an ECA and an S-N curve illustrates the following points: initial flaw size is more important than final flaw size.95xB = a f flaw height.2 0.5 0. 0. 0.95xB = a f 0.
The required toughness is significantly higher than the 0. A fracture toughness of 0.15 mm. Tables A-2 to A-4 of Appendix A of DNV-OS-F101 give the required J-integral for a range of tolerable flaw sizes for a “generic ECA”. Figure 4 shows the required toughness to give a tolerable flaw size equal to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 limits. are considered.3. and the reference stress solution for a circumferential flaw in a curved shell (§P. The question is whether ECAs are too conservative. The single edge notch bend test specimen for measuring the fracture toughness has a high level of constraint and will give a conservative value of the fracture toughness.4 percent. This “generic ECA” is applicable if the total longitudinal strain is less than 0. 12/17 . All design is conservative. and is less than the Tier 2 and Tier 3 limits (and less than the equivalent API 1104 limits). The failure assessment diagram (FAD) in BS 7910 is based on failure avoidance. The tolerable flaw height decreases as the length increases.4. It is also apparent that the factor of safety applied to S-N curves is. this can be answered by comparing the results of an ECA conducted in accordance with BS 7910. if the fatigue design uses a high proportion of the allowable fatigue damage. The required values of the J-integral have been converted to equivalent values of crack tip opening displacement using the conservative expression given in Appendix A / E106 of DNVOS-F101.15 mm of Tier 3. Figure 3 compares the tolerable flaw sizes calculated in accordance with BS 7910 (using the flat plate stress intensity factor solutions (§M3. The applied load (a primary membrane stress) is equal to the specified minimum yield strength.15 mm is assumed.75 and 16 in.5 and 2. Residual stresses due to welding are assumed to be uniform. No stress concentration factors due to misalignment are applied. In part. also a ‘defect’ factor.2)) with the Tier 2 and Tier 3 defect limits in the EPRG guidelines. if the structure has a lower level of constraint than the test specimen. It varies between approximately 1.625. and three diameters: 8. 12. implicitly. with other guidance in documents such as the EPRG guidelines for the assessment of defects in transmission pipeline girth welds and Appendix A of API 1104. The line pipe grade is X65. Two wall thicknesses: 15 and 25 mm. it is to be expected that an ECA is conservative. This is perhaps slightly higher than the difference in constraint between a single edge notch bend test specimen and a girth weld in a pipeline. two-dimensional weld toe stress concentration factors. The “generic ECA” is intended to be conservative. but reduced in accordance with the value of the reference stress..25 times higher than 0. and the difference increases as the flaw length increases. Figure 5 compares the tolerable flaw sizes and toughness requirements from this “generic ECA” with the Tier 2 and Tier 3 limits. Aside from the residual stresses. Therefore.2). 10 ARE ECAs TOO CONSERVATIVE? An ECA should be based on conservative data and assumptions. the main reason for the conservative results is that constraint has not been considered. A more thorough (and complicated) calculation than the simple calculation described here would further reduce the conservatism. and nominally equal to the yield strength. then small initial flaw sizes are inevitable.
0 Fracture toughness corresponding to EPRG Tier 2 and 3 limits 1.25 X = 1. 2c (mm) Figure 5 Tolerable flaw sizes and toughness requirements in DNV-OS-F101 and the EPRG Tier 2 limits 13/17 Tier 3 Tier 3 .2 Tier 3 0.625 in. API 11 04 1 Tier 3 1 EPRG. d (mm) 0.625 in.35 EPRG. a = 3 mm B = 25 mm.75 in.75 & 16 in. Tier 2 100 150 0 150 200 0 50 200 flaw length. API 1104 and BS 7910 defect limits 0.15 mm 4 flaw height. 12. Tier 3 0. 0. 2 c (mm) flaw length. = 0.30 X = 2.5 0.5 B = 15 mm B = 25 mm 0. 12.8 8.15 0 200 400 600 800 1000 diameter (mm) diameter (mm) Figure 4 1.625.25 X = 1.20 0. Tier 2 0. a = 3 mm fracture toughness. 2 c (mm) Figure 3 0. Tier 2 0. 16 in.625. 16 in.5 B = 15 mm.15 0 200 400 600 800 1000 EPRG. d (mm) 0.4 0. 12. d (mm) fracture to ughn ess.2 EPRG.20 EPRG. Tier 2 0.8 fracture toughne ss.0 B = 15 mm. a (mm) 3 flaw height.4 0. d (mm ) 0. = 0. API 1 104 2 D = 8.0 0.75 in.0 150 200 0 50 100 150 200 flaw length. 12. 2c (mm) flaw length. a (mm) 3 2 D = 8.0 0 50 100 EPRG.75 & 16 in. 0.30 X = 2.6 8.0 B = 25 mm 0. Tier 2 0 0 50 100 EPRG.15 mm 4 5 B = 25 mm.35 X65 X65 B = 15 mm fracture tough ness.6 0.
the ECA is concerned with the girth weld. e.e. This conservatism is intentional. material properties (including fracture toughness). and the various stress intensity factor and reference stress solutions. because the results of an ECA can have significant implications.g. on the grounds that the ECA is over-conservative. toughness. small diameter flowlines are seamless) or even the pipe body. although the same principles could be applied to the seam weld (but noting that thick-walled. 12 ECAs AS A DESIGN TOOL ECAs are used in design to determine the tolerable flaw size at the start-of-life. Installation loads vary significantly with installation method. e. the FAD. and the results of welding procedure q ualification/production tests are not available early in the design cycle. changing the S-N curve that the girth welds are required to meet can have significant cost implications. Similarly. Therefore. and hence to inform the determination of the acceptable flaw sizes. Experimental testing to determine the effects of the environment on endurance (i. This requirement is not conducive to conducting ECAs early in the design cycle. environmental effects. geometry. new processes). tearing resistance. the conservatism can be attributed to: constraint. Modern pipeline girth welds should easily meet current workmanship standards. To address over-conservatism. Normally. prior to installation. and susceptibility to environmental cracking is both complicated and time consuming.g. Operational loads are refined as the design is developed. welding procedures. Detailed welding procedures. particularly if the requirement is not identified early in the design cycle. However. installation and operational loads. or unrecognised sources of non-conservatism can be unintentionally unearthed in the pursuit of non-conservatism.11 ARE ECAs UNCONSERVATIVE? ECAs are intended to be conservative. Fatigue design using S-N curves requires less information. residual stresses. Leaving aside conservative data and assumptions. the important question to be answered early in design is: are workmanship acceptance levels fit-for-purpose? This is essentially the approach recommended by SAFEBUCK. steel catenary risers. etc. S-N curves) and fatigue crack growth rates. A potential example of this is the influence of bi-axial loading. The commentary on the EPRG guidelines on the assessment of defects in transmission pipeline girth welds offer some informative comments on how defect limits based on fitness for-purpose (i. It is possible that hidden. The steps in this process are summarised in Figure 1. An ECA requires a large amount of detailed information. Test programmes can easily take nine to twelve months to complete. It is possible to fabricate girth welds that are effectively ‘defect-free’. and 14/17 . ECAs) should be used during construction/installation: special applications where longer defects are anticipated (e. but similar issues can arise.e.g. overmatching. but this can have significant cost implications. commissioning and operation. it is desirable to conduct the ECA early in the design cycle. It is difficult to measure the fracture toughness of the girth welds if representative welds are not available. A potential example is the arbitrary selection of constraint factors. the sources of conservatism are addressed. Also of concern are assumptions made without sufficient justification. as a concession by the pipeline operator (in conjunction with penalty clauses) to avoid unnecessary repairs.
weak joints and counter boring (to reduce misalignment) may have a significant effect. BS 7910 does not require additional factors of safety provided that the data and assumptions are conservative. lateral buckling in sour environments. The design premise is normally the avoidance of the initiation of environmental cracking. Hydrogen embrittlement may be a concern (the toughness may be reduced by an order of magnitude or more). because of the limitations in the ways that over-matching is specified. The temperature in the pipeline system changes significantly during a thermal cycle associated with a shut-down. in the presence of aggressive internal conditions is not straightforward.g. then the information that becomes available as the design progress is simply used to verify the initial assumptions. hydrogen embrittlement in sour environments) means that a proactive approach to solving the problems can be adopted. 13 WHY THINGS GET COMPLICATED… The design of pipeline systems in deeper water with increased loadings arising from responses to thermal and pressure cycling. Limiting the objectives of the ECA to determining whether or not typical workmanship acceptance levels (e. If the toughness is very low then assuming lower bound tensile properties may be non-conservative. Over-matching may not be achieved over the stress-strain response of concern. It is not always clear how conservative the data and assumptions are. as an insurance policy for cases where a defect is detected during post-construction audit or during in-service inspection. on the subsequent response during operation may become more important. ECAs are further complicated. Factors of safety are lower on ECAs than on the design S-N curves. but so does the toughness. Strain localisations due to changes in coating type or thickness.g. A number of issues can cause problems. Identifying the problem early on in the design means that it is more likely that it can be addressed without large cost implications. The avoidance of the initiation of stress corrosion cracking may not be limiting condition at lower temperatures. Fatigue loading associated with thermal cycling is high. The loads reduce as the temperature falls. surface planar flaws limited to 3 mm deep by 25 mm long) are fit-forpurpose. High strains reduce the toughness. The operating and flow regime can give rise to unexpected sources of cyclic loading such as the effect of changes in contents density due to slugging flow. The effect of what happens during installation. rather than precisely defining flaw acceptance criteria. pipeline walking and lateral buckling. Constraint is less relevant if the toughness is low. Bi-axial loading issues increase as the strains increase. and sensitivity studies. In addition. Frequency effects in a corrosion-fatigue environment can significantly increase the rate of fatigue crack growth. but the question is then: is this of benefit to the long term integrity of the pipeline? If the ECA indicates that workmanship acceptance levels are not fit-for-purpose then there is a problem. Factors of safety are another problematic area. means that the calculations can be framed in terms of reasonable and conservative (but not overly conservative) assumptions. It does not follow that the worst case is at the maximum design temperature. but low frequency. identify those types of design that are likely to be challenging in this regard (e. specifically stress corrosion cracking. by re-design and/or raising the priority of project-specific testing or other studies. both in terms of fatigue and high strains. A sour environment implies higher rates of fatigue crack growth (due to corrosion-fatigue) and a susceptibility to environmental cracking (if the environment is not dry). Operating at high temperatures and high pressures is associated with significant end expansion. High cyclic strains may cause a combination of ductile tearing and fatigue crack growth. 15/17 . Larger flaw acceptance criteria could be developed. If workmanship acceptance levels are fit-for-purpose.
American Petroleum Institute. ANON. 8. to high fatigue damage in aggressive internal conditions. API Recommended Practice 579. 10.We stray into the murky waters of the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns… 14 CONCLUSIONS The pipeline systems that are likely to be developed in the future will involve a variety of challenges. Fracture Control for Pipeline Installation Methods Introducing Cyclic Plastic Strain. British Standards Institution. Submarine Pipeline Systems. British Standards Institution. BS 7910 : 2005. 16/17 . UK. BS 4515-1 : 2004.defenselink. Carbon and Carbon Manganese Steel Pipelines. Recommended Practice DNV-RP-F108. Washington. October 2007. Donald H. API Standard 1104.mil/transcripts/transcript. London. USA.. 2. Returning to the three questions posed at the start of this paper.S.. 4. Twentieth Edition. American Petroleum Institute. 35. 10-11/1996. January 2006.J. 2002. from high pressures and high temperatures. 9. 3R International. Det Norske Veritas.G. ANON. February 12. 620-624. First Edition. ANON.P. January 2000. Specification for Welding of Steel Pipelines on Land and Offshore. Welding of Pipelines and Related Facilities.. ANON. Assessment of the Integrity of Structures containing Defects . R6-Revision 4. ANON.. It is important that ECAs are part of the solution.. 3. the answers would appear to be: sometimes.. Jahrgang. June 2005. Abington Publishing.. Rumsfeld. ANON. 7. 1991.. possibly and no. Guide to Methods for Assessing the Acceptability of Flaws in Metallic Structures. 5. Fitness-For-Service.. Department of defense news briefing. KNAUF. p. Heft.aspx?transcriptid=2636 ANON. November 2004. November 2005. HOPKINS.. The EPRG Guidelines on the Assessment of Defects in Transmission Pipeline Girth Welds. Offshore Standard DNV-OS-F101. MADDOX. More work will be required. Fatigue Strength of Welded Structures. Work is ongoing through various joint industry projects and project specific studies. Second Edition. Det Norske Veritas. London. and not part of the problem. July 2005. UK. British Energy. 6. http://www. NOMENCLATURE a 2c B CTOD CVN ECA flaw height flaw length wall thickness crack tip opening displacement Charpy V-notch engineering critical assessment REFERENCES 1.
Offshore Technology Report OTO 2000 043. 13. American Petroleum Institute. 2001. May 2000.J. ANON.. 1. Specification for Line Pipe. Communication 1670. BS 7608 : 1993. Code of Practice for: Fatigue design and assessment of steel structures.. Health and Safety Executive.11. January 2006. Specification for unfired fusion welded pressure vessels . British Standards Institution. 17/17 . ANON. Guidance for Fatigue Design and Assessment of Pipeline Girth Welds. British Standards Institution. Background to New Fatigue Guidance for Steel Joints and Connections in Offshore Structures. 14. PD 8010-1 : 2004.. Specification for arc welding of carbon and carbon manganese steels. ANON. 2004. 17. and MaTSU for the Health and Safety Executive. Incorporating Amendment No.. UK. Published Document PD 5500 : 2006. August 2005. Forty Second Edition.. Code of practice for pipelines . and HAAGENSEN. 20.. 2004. 16. ANON. 12.A. Exploration and Production Department. 19. UK. British Standards Institution.Part 1: Steel pipelines on land . December 1999. Offshore Technology Report OTH 92 390.. API Specification 5L..P. British Standards Institution. 2000. 1993. Code of practice for pipelines .J. MACDONALD. BS 5135 : 1984. British Standards Institution. UK.Part 2: Subsea pipelines . Fatigue Design of Offshore Steel Structures ..S. ANON. London. Recommendations on Transmission and Distribution Practice. Institute of Gas Engineers. Health and Safety Executive. PD 8010-2 : 2004. ANON. Recommended Practice DNV-RPC203. IGE/TD/1 Edition 4 : 2000. Steel Pipelines for High Pressure Gas Transmission . MADDOX. London. Det Norske Veritas.. 15. London.. ANON. 1984. ANON. ANON.K. Third Edition. 18. London. UK. Prepared by Failure Control Ltd..
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