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May 31, 2017 / Klaas van Alphen
Category: Research Update 

Research Update May 2017

This month started with one of the premier events for the international pipeline research community. This year’s Joint Technical Meeting (JTM) in Colorado Springs covered the latest pipeline research outcomes from the APGA / EPCRC, EPRG and PRCI.

Topics for joint research between the APGA / EPCRC, PRCI and EPRG were discussed in a number of workshops, which covered the research areas of fracture control, mechanical damage, time delayed failure, human factors, and integrity management, and corrosion. The papers presented at the JTM as well as the outcomes of workshops are available to APGA RSC members.

Back in Australia, industry advisors and researchers involved in the RP3 steering committee met to review progress and set the direction of individual research projects carried in research program 3 ‘advanced pipeline design and construction’.

It was very pleasing to see that the outcomes of two recently completed RP3 projects found their way directly into the proposed AS2885.1 revision, i.e. RP3-07: Construction Strain Demand on Coatings and Project RP6.3-10A: Occasional Surface Loads on Pipelines – Phase II.

Project RP3-07: Construction Strain Demand on Coatings. The final report for this project, which aims to determine the fields of strain demand during normal hydrostatic test and cold field bending practices, has been completed and is available on the Energy Pipelines CRC website members’ area. The project was initiated because recent pipeline construction activities have been found to have damaged field joint coatings and pipe coatings during hydrostatic testing and cold field bending. The project team has analysed large amounts of strain data obtained from full scale hydrostatic tests and cold field bending tests using a Digital Image Correlation (DIC) technique. The report describes maximum strain correlation in a hydrostatic test and proposes a correction of Bilston & Murray cold field bending strains predictions.

RP6.3-10A: Occasional Surface Loads on Pipelines. The project provides a better option for the treatment of occasional loads in AS2885.1 by more accurate understanding of the loads through Finite Element Modelling (FEM). The FEM simulation results have successfully explained the major observations from the PRCI field tests. The FEM simulation results confirm the limitations of the major currently used design methodologies (Iowa formula, Spangler formula, CEPA and API 1102 methodologies), in particular for shallow-burial pipe under surface loading.

On Monday 29 May, the Energy Pipelines CRC Plastics and Composite User Group met to discuss the recent advancements made in project RP1-06: Cracking Polyethylene Pipe. This project aims to ascertain the relative remaining life of first generation PE pipes, so that risk mitigation strategies, including replacement, can be optimized. Lead researcher Nolene Byrne summarised the results from assessing various tests methods in relation to their ability to rank different PE63 pipe samples. Test methods included Pennsylvania edge notch test, cracked round bar, tensile testing, crystallinity assessment and oxygen induction time. A recent interim report on this work can be found on the Energy Pipelines CRC website member’s area.

Finally, on Wednesday 17 May a facilitated risk workshop was held as part of RP4-25 ‘Hierarchy of Controls’. AS2885 outlines a range of physical (engineering) and procedural controls that should be considered during the construction and operation of the pipeline to manage the safety of the pipeline ensure that pipelines are protected from external interference. The workshop with pipeline owners, designers and Safety Management Study (SMS) facilitators was used to brainstorm possible pipeline protection controls against a range of scenarios. These were then compared to those contained in AS 2885 with the aim to make recommendations on improvements that can be made to the Standard. The workshop report will be completed shortly and made available to members of the APGA RSC.

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