Pipeline Stress and Strain 

As your pipeline assets age and climate change increases the frequency and scope of geohazards, the threat to pipeline integrity from high stresses and strains rises. Unplanned mechanical loads caused by subsidence, landslides or sediment falls, as well as temperature and pressure extremes, cause bending, expansion and contraction. The resulting deformation can reduce performance. When strains are sufficient, cracks form. This ultimately leads to loss of containment and pipeline failure. Loads that cause bending can be identified using inertial monitoring units. Significant bending will change the pipe cross section, and this can be detected with geometry inspection. Loads that cause purely axial strain are harder to identify, as there may be no change in shape until it is too late.

Stress and strain risk management

Our holistic approach to helping you manage stress and strain risks in your pipeline assets considers a wide range of factors. These include pipeline design, material selection and supports and anchors to limit movement, alongside regular in-line inspection (ILI) to detect pipeline anomalies before they impair performance. With decades of data and experience, we can accurately identify and characterize areas of strain and the causes of strains, enabling you to create and implement a remediation and mitigation plan.

Management of pipeline integrity in relation to high stresses and strains is a three-stage process:

  1. Identify locations that are experiencing or susceptible to high stress and strain. This can be done by reviewing environmental and internal inspection data.
  2. Identify the causes and significance of the high stress and strain. This is achieved by site-specific data collection and modeling.
  3. Develop and implement appropriate mitigation and monitoring systems. This can include excavation, special backfill, rerouting, the installation of monitoring equipment, and regular external and internal inspection.

Image of a UT-C in-line inspection tool.

Detecting and sizing cracks  

Internal loading conditions and external movements, such as landslides, earthquakes, expansion loop torsion, offshore free span and sagging, place high stresses on your pipelines. Where the environmental conditions are right, this combined with high stresses will lead to environmentally assisted cracking, such as stress corrosion cracking.

Our RoCD Service Suite addresses this threat by providing comprehensive detection, characterization and analysis of both circumferential and axial pipeline cracks. Using a combination of ultrasonic wave technology and special probe design, we provide you with enhanced anomaly characterization. This enables you to take remedial action.  

White-grey image showing a form of pipeline cracking.

Managing and mitigating the impact of pipeline cracks 

As your pipeline ages, and climate change increases the frequency and scope of geohazards, the threat of stress and strain-induced damage rises. Stress related cracking is challenging to detect and manage. 

Our understanding and experience of crack analysis and detection is supported by our in-house crack database. This enhances identification and characterization accuracy and allows us to identify the causes of cracking. We then recommend remediation approaches to keep your pipeline operational. 

View of XT tool.

Characterizing pipeline stress and strain  

In certain cases, stresses and strains may not result in deformation that can be detected with inertial monitoring units or geometry tools. In addition, the total strains will probably include both bending and axial components. The better our understanding of the stresses and strains present the more reliable any modeling and the more appropriate any proposed mitigation.

Sign with warning of falling rocks at the end of a road.

Identifying and managing geohazard risks 

Geohazards, climate events and ground movements are an increasing threat to your pipelines. Unpredictable abnormal loads result in geometric damage which, over time, leads to reduced pipeline performance and failure. Catastrophic damage and failure are caused by major events such as seismic or mass sediment movements. The combination of our advanced technology solutions alongside decades of experience enables us to support operators with geohazard identification, evaluation and control. By identifying the threats along your pipeline routes, we help you create and implement an effective geohazard risk management strategy. 

Manage pipeline stress and strain

Our holistic approach consists of various services ranging from in-line inspection, integrity assessments to crack consultancy services.

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