There is a concern on the fracture integrity of the partially over-matching or under-matching weld during reel-lay installation where there is large plastic strain in the pipe. Conventional ECA procedures such as BS7910 and DNV-OS-F101 are applicable for fully over-matching welds only, due to limitations in the reference stress solution (or limit load solutions).

The ECA procedure based on 3D finite element (FE) analysis was developed for partially over-matching welds or under-matching. The methodology has been successfully applied to several projects of industry-wide significance, with partially over-matching welds in offshore pipelines. This paper provides a case study validating the crack growth from FE based ECA methodology against the large scale bending trial test where the pipe containing the notched defect was pre-strained under a series of straining cycles. A comparison of the crack growth between 3D FEA and the large scale bending test was presented.

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