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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/engfailanal

unconstrained and constrained dents

Chengbing Li ⁎, Sihong Dang

School of Mechatronic Engineering, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu 610500, China

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Indentation resulting from mechanical damage is one of the main causes of pipeline rupture fail-

Received 5 February 2016 ure. The primary objective of this case study is to analyze the plastic damage of the pipelines with

Received in revised form 10 June 2016 unconstrained and constrained dents using the existing plastic damage model, namely, the ductile

Accepted 27 February 2017

failure damage indicator (DFDI) model. As part of this study, an attempt is made to clarify the in-

Available online 28 February 2017

ﬂuence of the constraint on the behavior of the pipeline. The investigation indicates that the plas-

tic damage of the pipeline interior walls outweighs that of the pipeline exterior walls and cracks

Keywords: start frequently from the pipe interior walls. The position of the maximal circumferential plastic

Oil and gas pipeline

damage deviates from the deepest position of the dent when the critical displacement loading

Unconstrained and constrained dents

arriving due to the circumferential deformation of the pipeline. The total plastic damage of the

Plastic damage

Ductile failure damage indicator (DFDI) unconstrained dented pipeline only depends on the initial displacement loading because the

Finite element analysis (FEA) working pressure has very little inﬂuence on its behavior under the unconstrained condition.

However, the total plastic damage of the constrained dented pipeline depends on the initial dis-

placement loading and the working pressure because the working pressure has a signiﬁcant effect

on its behavior under the constrained condition. Under the same condition, the constrained

dented pipeline is easier to crack compared to the unconstrained dented pipeline. In this paper,

the model, results and the ﬁndings are summarized and discussed.

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

Buried oil and gas pipelines are widely used for transmitting gases and liquids from their production sites to houses and in-

dustrial organizations. If these pipelines leak or rupture, there should be a potential danger of ﬁres or explosions. Mechanical

damage is one of the primary causes of pipeline damage and failures in the world [1]. The mechanical damage in a pipe is usually

classiﬁed into two categories: dents and gouges [2]. Gouges, the severely deformed places where cracks can be initiated, are not

the subject of the present research. In dented area, a permanent plastic deformation occurs in the cross-section of the pipe that

causes a local stress and strain concentration and a reduction in the pipe diameter. Dents in pipelines are divided into.

varied types based on the degrees of impact on wall dimensions and geometry of indenters [3–5]. The major types of dents

deﬁned in the literature are Smooth, Kinked, Plain, Unconstrained and Constrained dents [1,4]. The dents in the present paper

are considered both unconstrained dents and constrained dents. The former is free to rebound elastically and the latter does

not rebound elastically due to being constrained when the indenter is removed.

⁎ Corresponding author.

E-mail address: lichbing@mail.ustc.edu.cn (C. Li).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.engfailanal.2017.02.009

1350-6307/© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

40 C. Li, S. Dang / Engineering Failure Analysis 77 (2017) 39–49

Nomenclature

Letters

DFDI ductile fracture damage index

A, B, C results of plastic damage

A0 original cross-sectional area

Af0 cross-sectional area after fracture at the neck

A% relative elongation of pipeline material

D total plastic damage

D1, D2 plastic damage of the ﬁrst step loading and the second step loading

d diameter of pipelines

Ab-strain absolute value of the difference of the equivalent strain

Ab-tri absolute value of the difference of the stress triaxiality

E elastic modulus of pipelines

L length of pipelines

Pw working pressure of pipelines

t wall thickness of pipelines

R radius of a spherical void

R_ average radial velocity on the void boundary

X, Y, Z coordinate system

Greek letters

α material constant

β constant

σtri stress triaxiality

σm mean stress

σeq equivalent von Mises stress

ε_ strain rate

εf equivalent plastic strain to failure

εf0 critical fracture strain of the material

εeq equivalent strain

εeq1, εeq2 equivalent strain of the ﬁrst step loading and the second step loading

μ Poisson's ratio

σys yield stress

σu ultimate tensile strength

Strain-based assessment models [6–10] for dents are widely accepted and used in the pipeline industry to determine the

dent severity and for prioritization of investigations. These strain models utilize the dent axial and circumferential proﬁles re-

ported by multi-channel geometry tools or laser-scan measurement. Dents in pipelines are permanent deformations caused by

plastic damage. Therefore, it is appropriate to apply the plastic damage models to determine its severity and susceptibility to

cracking.

In this paper, brief discussions of the ductile failure damage indicator (DFDI) model are given. Based on the DFDI model, the

plastic damage of the pipelines with unconstrained and constrained dents are investigated by the ﬁnite element analysis (FEA)

method and the results are presented and discussed. This paper deals with the behavior of pipelines under the displacement load-

ing and working pressure on the basis of the DFDI model. The objective is to analyze the plastic damage of the pipelines with

unconstrained and constrained dents.

The fracture of ductile solids frequently results from initiation and evolution of micro-cracks or the nucleation and the large

growth and coalescence of microscopic voids. Tracey and Rice studied on the ductile enlargement of voids in stress triaxiality

ﬁelds by the Rayleigh-Ritz method and the maximum plastic principle and obtained the dilatational factor of a spherical void

in a remote tensile strain ﬁeld [11]:

_

R=R ¼ 0:283ε_ exp 3σ m =2σ eq ð1Þ

C. Li, S. Dang / Engineering Failure Analysis 77 (2017) 39–49 41

Fig. 1. Uniaxial stress-strain response of API X60 steel employed in the analyses [17–18].

_ the average radial velocity on the void boundary; ε_ is the simple tensile strain rate

where, R is the radius of a spherical void; Ris

inﬁnity; σm is the mean stress of three principle stresses in a stress triaxiality ﬁeld; σeq is the equivalent von Mises stress. Hancock

and Mackenzie [12] based on the Rice-Tracey void growth equation [11] and partly experimental results, and proposed an equiv-

alent fracture strain, εf, under the current conditions of stress triaxiality, strain rate and temperature.

ε f ¼ α exp −3σ m =2σ eq ð2Þ

where α is a material constant. It can be determined from εf at one stress-state, and then using it to predict failure strains at

other stress states. Johnson and Camacho et al. [13–14] extended this fracture criterion by including effects of strain rate and tem-

perature. BΦrvik and Xue L [15–16] introduced a reference equivalent fracture strain, εf0, which can be measured by tensile tests

to represent the material constant α.

ε f ¼ β ε f 0 exp −3σ m =2σ eq ð3Þ

where εf0 is the reference equivalent fracture strain in the uniaxial tension state without conﬁning pressure and can be deﬁned as

εf 0 ¼ ln AAf00. A0 is the original cross-sectional area and Af0 is the cross-sectional area of the test specimen after fracture at the neck

at atmospheric pressure [15]. β is a constant.

The ductile failure damage indicator (DFDI) model to a material element based on damage accumulation is generally expressed

in the non-dimensional form [10]:

εeq

dεeq εeq dεeq

D¼ ∫ ¼ ∫ ð4Þ

0 εf 0 βε exp −3σ m =2σ eq

f0

where D is the total plastic damage; εeq is the equivalent strain. It is assumed that D = 0, for the intact material and D = 1, for the

complete loss of load carrying capacity, i.e. fracture occurrence [10,16].

The aforementioned failure damage mode is applied to study the plastic damage of the oil and gas pipeline with unconstrained

and constrained dents using the ﬁnite element analysis method. It should be note: vibrations (vibration of the pipe, oscillations of

the ﬂuid, nonlinear dynamics of the dent formation, chaos and turbulence of the ﬂuid) are neglected in this calculation. The work-

ing pressure is only a normal working pressure of the oil and gas pipelines which is usually under about 15 MPa, and the higher

pressures of the pipelines are not studied. The working pressure of the pipeline Pw is assumed to be 6.38 MPa in this paper.

Table 1

Mechanical properties of tested API X60 and X52 steel at room temperature [17–19].

API X52 203 410 528 0.3 32

42 C. Li, S. Dang / Engineering Failure Analysis 77 (2017) 39–49

API X60 pipeline steel is a widespread used material for transmission of oil and gas. Hence, the material of pipeline is assumed

to be API Grade X60 pipeline steel and the true stress-strain curve of API X60 is displayed in Fig. 1 [17–18]. API X60 mechanical

properties are presented in Table 1. E, σys, σu, μ and A% are the Young's modulus, yield stress at room temperature (20 °C), the

ultimate tensile strength, Poisson's ratio, relative elongation, respectively [17–18]. The Kinematic Plastic constitutive model is

used in FEM simulation.

As mentioned above, constant β and the reference equivalent fracture strain εf0, are required when analyzing the plastic dam-

age of pipelines. However, constant β and the reference equivalent fracture strain εf0 of material API X60 are not obtained due to

lack of tensile tests in this investigation. API X60 and X52 are low-to-moderate strength structural steels and are very similar in

mechanical properties, such as the Young's modulus E, yield stress σys, the ultimate tensile strength σu, Poisson's ratio μ and rel-

ative elongation A%. The mechanical properties of API X60 and X52 are presented in Table 1 [19]. As a result, API X52 and X60 are

similar in constant β and the reference equivalent fracture strain εf0. Arumugam [10] obtained β (=1.65) and εf0 (=0.512) of ma-

terial API X52 in the way of tensile tests. Therefore, API X60 is assumed to be the same β and εf0 as API X52 in this investigation.

Hence, based on the Eq. (4), and β = 1.65 and εf0 = 0.512, the plastic damage of the API X60 pipeline material is described as

follows:

εeq

dεeq

D¼ ∫ ð5Þ

0 0:8448 exp −3σ m =2σ eq

As mentioned above, the loading processes are assumed to be composed of two steps. The plastic damage of the ﬁrst step

loading can been obtained as follows:

εeq1

dεeq

D1 ¼ ∫ ð6Þ

0 0:8448 exp −3σ m =2σ eq

εeq2

dεeq

D2 ¼ ∫ ð7Þ

εeq1 0:8448 exp −3σ m =2σ eq

where εeq1 is the equivalent strain of the ﬁrst step loading; εeq2 is the equivalent strain of the second step loading. Therefore, the

total plastic damage D is given as follows:

D ¼ D1 þ D2 ð8Þ

According to the symmetry of the model, a quarter model is established, which is presented in Fig. 2. The pipeline diameter d

is 508 mm, and the wall thickness t is 7.9 mm. In order to remove the inﬂuence of the pipeline ends on calculating results, the

length of the pipeline L is 3556 mm in the simulation. The ﬁnite element analysis practice indicates that the solid element can be

C. Li, S. Dang / Engineering Failure Analysis 77 (2017) 39–49 43

replaced by the shell element when d/t is over 20 and element type has little inﬂuence on the accuracy of the numerical results.

Therefore, the element of SHELL181 substituting for the solid element is applied to simulate the pipeline due to the d/t being over

64 in this paper.

There are three typical indenters, namely the semi-sphere, cylindrical stick and semi-ellipsoidal, which are used to form varied

dents in studies of the dented pipelines [19]. The semi-sphere indenter cannot form the dents with varied length and width due

to the symmetry and the dents are with serious stress concentration formed by the cylindrical stick indenter. The semi-elliptical

indenter can form any dents and these dents are with less stress concentration. Compared with the proﬁle data obtained from the

real dents of outdoors pipelines by the laser-scan technique, the dents formed by the semi-elliptical indenter greatly accord with

real dents. Therefore, the semi-elliptical indenter is chosen to form the unconstrained and constrained dents of pipelines.

The semi-elliptical indenter's major axis is 100 mm and short axis is 50 mm, and it is assumed to be rigid body. The element of

SOLID45 is applied to simulate the semi-elliptical indenter. The semi-elliptical indenter's short axis direction accords with the

pipeline axial direction when it presses the pipeline, as displayed in Fig. 2. The touch between the semi-elliptical indenter and

pipeline surfaces is deﬁned as surface-surface touching. For the purpose of obtaining precise results, the meshes of the touching

area of the pipeline surfaces are reﬁned and the size of reﬁned shell elements is 1.0 mm.

In order to apply the DFDI model to analyze the plastic damages of the dented pipeline, the loading processes are assumed to

be composed of two steps. For the unconstrained and constrained dents, the ﬁrst steps are the same, namely an initial displace-

ment loaded by the semi-elliptical indenter along the -Y direction to form an indentation on the pipeline. However, the second

steps are different. For the unconstrained dent, the displacement loading is ﬁrstly removed from the pipeline and the dent is

free to rebound elastically; and then a working pressure of 6.38 MPa is loaded on the pipeline interior walls and maintained.

For the constrained dent, the displacement loading is always kept due to the external constraint and the same working pressure

of 6.38 MPa is loaded on the pipeline interior walls during the second step loading.

Fig. 4. Plastic damage of pipeline interior and exterior walls: (a) circumferential; (b) axial.

44 C. Li, S. Dang / Engineering Failure Analysis 77 (2017) 39–49

Fig. 5. Plastic damage of pipelines interior walls on the condition of different initial displacements loading: (a) circumferential; (b) axial.

For the sake of conveniently exploring the plastic damage and then determining the potential cracks positions of the dented

pipeline, the planar projection of a dent formed by semi-elliptical indenter is shown in Fig. 3. The deepest depression is located on

the geometric center of the dent. According to the relationship of the strain and the plastic damage, the maximum plastic damage

must be located on the axial and circumference directions. Therefore, the plastic damage of circumferential and axial gauge points

along the circumferential and axial direction of the dent are established.

As mentioned above, the initial displacements loading are the same for the unconstrained and constrained dents. Therefore,

the ﬁrst step plastic damages of the unconstrained and constrained dents are the same. The stress and stain obtained by simula-

tion are introduced into Eq. (6) when the displacement loading is 20 mm and then the circumferential and axial plastic damages

of pipeline interior and exterior walls are obtained, as shown in Fig. 4. The abscissa axis shows the distance between the gauge

point and the deepest depression along the circumferential and axial direction. The results indicate that the maximum damage

is situated on the deepest depression position under the displacement loading of 20 mm, and the plastic damage varies from max-

imal value to 0 with the distance increasing along circumferential and axial direction.

The initial displacements loading of 15 mm to 90 mm are loaded on the pipeline for the purpose of studying the inﬂuence of

depression depth on the plastic damage of pipeline. The partial circumferential and axial plastic damage of the pipeline interior

walls are shown in Fig. 5. Results indicate that the maximal value of the circumferential plastic damage gradually outweighs

that of the axial plastic damage with the displacement loading increasing.

To summarize the circumferential and axial plastic damage, the plastic damage D1 of the ﬁrst step loading ascends as the dis-

placement loading increasing, and there is a wave when the displacement loading increasing from 25 mm to 30 mm, as shown in

C. Li, S. Dang / Engineering Failure Analysis 77 (2017) 39–49 45

Fig. 6. The waving of D1 is due to a convergence problem, namely, the number of elements being inadequate to achieve the con-

vergence of the solution of the FEM simulation.

As mentioned above, the plastic damage of the second step loading can be obtained using Eq. (7). However, it is difﬁcult to

calculate the plastic damage D2 using the method of direct integration because of the complex relationships of the mean stress σm,

the equivalent von Mises stress σeq and the equivalent strain εeq. Therefore, the stress triaxiality σtri is introduced to Eq. (7) and

the plastic damage D2 is described as follows:

εeq2 εeq2

dεeq

D2 ¼ ∫ f ðσ tri Þdεeq ¼ ∫ ð9Þ

εeq1 εeq1 0:8448 exp ð−3σ tri =2Þ

where the stress triaxiality is deﬁned as, σtri = σm / σeq. The geometric meaning of the plastic damage D2 is shown in Fig. 7, and

the area A represents the integration result of Eq. (9).

4.2.1. Plastic damage of unconstrained dents during the second step loading

The ﬁnite element analysis result shows that Abstrain = | εeq1 − εeq2 | gradually decreases and closes almost to zero with the

displacement loading increasing during the second step loading, as shown in Fig. 8. Therefore, the plastic damage D2 can be equiv-

alent to the area B, as shown in Fig. 9.

For the unconstrained dents, the plastic damage D1, D2 and D under the displacement loading of 15 mm to 90 mm are shown

in Fig. 10. The results indicate that the plastic damage D1 and D increase whereas the plastic damage D2 gradually decreases with

the displacement loading increasing. The total plastic damage D equals 1 when the displacement loading is approximately 65 mm.

This means that the critical displacement loading of pipelines occurring ductile failure is approximately 65 mm.

46 C. Li, S. Dang / Engineering Failure Analysis 77 (2017) 39–49

4.2.2. Plastic damage of constrained dents during the second step loading

The ﬁnite element analysis results show that the change of stress triaxiality σtri is not obvious whereas Abstrain = |εeq1 − εeq2 |

changes with the displacement loading increasing during the second step loading, and they are shown in Fig. 11. Therefore, the

plastic damage D2 can equal to the area C after the second step loading and it is shown in Fig. 12.

For the constrained dent, the plastic damage D1, D2 and D under displacements loading of 15 mm to 90 mm are shown in Fig. 13.

The results indicate that all the plastic damage ascend, especially D sharply increases with displacement loading increasing. The total

plastic damage D equals 1 when the displacement loading is approximately 35 mm. Therefore, the critical displacement loading of

pipelines occurring ductile failure is approximately 35 mm.

5. Discussion

For the unconstrained and constrained dents, the circumferential and axial plastic damage of the pipelines displayed in Fig. 4

indicate that the plastic damage of the pipeline interior walls signiﬁcantly outweigh those of the pipeline exterior walls due to the

pipeline interior walls being in the tension state and the pipeline exterior walls being in the pressed state. Therefore, the initial

micro-cracks occur frequently on the interior walls of pipeline dents.

Fig. 5 indicates that the maximal circumferential plastic damage is not situated on the deepest position of the dent and moves

along the circumferential direction with the displacement loading increasing. However, the position of the maximal axial plastic

damage always coincides with the deepest position of the dent with the displacement loading increasing.

The circumferential and axial sections of the dent shape formed by the semi-elliptical indenter, as shown in Fig. 14. The point

O is the deepest position of the dent and the point a and point b are located on the circumferential and axial edges of the dent

respectively.

C. Li, S. Dang / Engineering Failure Analysis 77 (2017) 39–49 47

In Fig. 14, there some obvious differences of the circumferential and axial sections. The circumferential proﬁle of the dent,

namely the curve Oa, attributes to the relationship between the elliptical surface of the indenter and the circular surface of the

pipeline, as shown in Fig. 14(a). The minimal curvature of the curve Oa is changeable with the displacement loading increasing

due to the circular surface of the pipeline. The smaller the curvature the larger is the plastic damage. Therefore, the position of

the maximal circumferential plastic damage does not coincide with the point O and is away from it when the displacement load-

ing increases to a critical value. Two points of the maximal plastic damage emerge due to the symmetry of the dent, as shown in

Fig. 14(a). In this investigation, the critical displacement is about 30 to 35 mm, which depends on the geometries and the

mechanical properties of the indenter and pipeline, as shown in Fig. 5(a). However, the axial proﬁle of the dent depends on

the relationship between the circular of the indenter and the straight surface of the pipeline, as shown in Fig. 14(b). The minimal

curvature of the curve Ob is unvaried and equals the radius of the circular indenter. Hence, the position of the maximal axial plas-

tic damage away coincides with the point O, as shown in Fig. 5(b).

5.2. Inﬂuence of the working pressure on the behavior of the dented pipelines

For the unconstrained dent, the plastic damage D1 clearly outweighs D2 and D2 gradually decreases with the displacement

loading increasing from Fig. 10. For example, D1 = 0.653, and D2 = 0.015 when the displacement loading is 30 mm. Results in-

dicate that the second step loading makes few contribution to the total plastic damage D. As mentioned above, the second step

loading comprises of the removed displacement and the working pressure. As a result of the removed displacement, the dent

is free to rebound elastically. Generally, elastic rebound does not damage the pipeline. Therefore, in fact the plastic damage D2

only depends on the working pressure. On the one hand, the dent interior walls are pressed and rebound plastically by the work-

ing pressure, which makes its tense strain reduce to an extent. On the other hand, the working pressure results in the pipeline

interior walls being tensed and new plastic strain is generated. Ultimately, the new plastic strain generated by the working pres-

sure is small. In other words, the change of plastic strain of the dent is small, which is in accord with the results of Fig. 8. Hence,

the working pressure has a slight effect on the behavior of the unconstrained dented pipeline and it can be approximately

neglected. The total plastic damage D only depends on the ﬁrst step loading.

For the constrained dent, the working pressure is loaded and the displacement loading is maintained during the second step

loading. Therefore, the plastic damage D2 depends on the working pressure. However, the dent interior walls cannot rebound

48 C. Li, S. Dang / Engineering Failure Analysis 77 (2017) 39–49

plastically by the working pressure due to the constraint. The pipeline interior walls are tensed by the working pressure and new

plastic strain is generated. This means that the plastic strain of the dent is changed by the working pressure, which accords with

the results of Fig. 11. Therefore, the working pressure makes a few contribution to the plastic damage D2 and has a signiﬁcant

inﬂuence on the behavior of the constrained dented pipeline. As shown in Fig. 13, the total plastic damage D depends on the

ﬁrst step loading and the second step loading for the constrained dent. Compared to the unconstrained dent, the constrained

dent suffers a smaller displacement loading and its interior walls are easier to crack.

5.3. Plastic damage models of the pipeline with unconstrained and constrained dents

The working pressure has a negligible effect on the behavior of the unconstrained dented pipeline, and the total plastic dam-

age D only depends on the ﬁrst step loading. Therefore, for the unconstrained dent, the plastic failure damage model can be de-

scribed as follows:

εeq1

dεeq

D ¼ D1 ¼ ∫ ð10Þ

0 β ε f 0 exp −3σ m =2σ eq

The working pressure has a signiﬁcant effect on the behavior of the constrained dented pipeline due to the constraint, and the

total plastic damage D depends on two steps loading. Therefore, for the constrained dent, the plastic failure damage model can be

C. Li, S. Dang / Engineering Failure Analysis 77 (2017) 39–49 49

described as follows:

εeq1 εeq2

dεeq dεeq

D ¼ D1 þ D2 ¼ ∫ þ ∫ ð11Þ

0 β ε f 0 exp −3σ m =2σ eq εeq1 β ε

f0 exp −3σ m =2σ eq

Therefore, it is essential to distinguish between the unconstrained dent and constrained dent in the analysis of the total plastic

failure damage of pipelines.

6. Concluding remarks

The plastic damage of an oil and gas pipeline with unconstrained and constrained dents were investigated. The ﬁndings of

plastic damage analysis are summarized as follows:

(1) For a dented pipeline, the plastic damage of the pipeline interior walls signiﬁcantly outweighs that of the pipeline exterior

walls, and cracks are frequently located on the pipeline interior walls. The position of the maximal circumferential plastic damage

deviates from the deepest position of the dent when the displacement loading increasing to a critical value due to the circumfer-

ential deformation of the pipeline surfaces by the oval indenter.

(2) For the unconstrained dent, the working pressure has a negligible effect on the behavior of the pipeline and the total plas-

tic damage only depends on the initial displacement loading. For the constrained dent, the working pressure has a signiﬁcant in-

ﬂuence on the behavior of the pipeline due to the constraint, and the total plastic damage depends on the initial displacement

loading and the working pressure.

In summary, the investigation shows that the ductile failure damage indicator (DFDI) model can be applied to study the plastic

damage of pipelines with unconstrained and constrained dents. The separate plastic damage analysis models are proposed based

on the loading routes. The working pressure can cause an obvious plastic damage to the pipeline with constrained dents. There-

fore, compared to the pipeline with the unconstrained dents, the pipeline with constrained dents can only undertake a smaller

displacement loading and is easier to crack. Nowadays, most oil and gas pipelines are buried in the earth and are constrained

by rocks and clay. Therefore, it is important to avoid forming the dents on the surface of pipelines during construction and

working.

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