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February 28, 2019 / Fari Mahdavi
Category: Research Update 

Research Update February 2019

This month steering committee meetings were held to review the progress of research projects of programs 1, 2 and 3. The RP4 steering committee will be meeting next month in Melbourne.

Steering Committee Meeting – Research Programs 1 and 3

The team of industry advisors and researchers involved in research programs 1 and 3 met on 8 February at the University of Wollongong. The progress of 9 active research projects was discussed in this meeting. Highlights of the discussed research findings are summarised below:

The final outcomes of project ‘RP1-04B: WMHACC of X70 Linepipe Steel’ were discussed. The research aims to provide the industry with a set of criteria to establish the weld metal hydrogen-assisted cold crack/no crack boundary conditions as a function of welding parameters. The outcomes of this research show the relative importance and interdependencies of cooling rates, non-metallic inclusion level, heat inputs, residual stress values, and hardness levels as factors that influence the cracking behaviour of welds. This research is nearing completion and the project team is currently preparing the final report.

The final outcome of research on ‘Elimination of PWHT for in-service welding (RP6.3-12)’ also was discussed. Post Weld Heat Treatment (PWHT) is a standard practice to avoid hydrogen assisted cold cracking in repair welds. The research project team evaluated the microstructure, properties and residual stress state of repair welds in the absence of PWHT when processed under elevated preheating, buttering and bead tempering. After careful analysis of microstructure, hardness, and residual stress data, it has been found that PWHT could be eliminated from the repair pipe welding procedure for weld joints with a thickness of 36 mm.

Project ‘RP3-11C: Gas pipeline vent-Project 3: high voltage power lines’ is a desktop study to develop a better understanding of the possibility of power transmission lines to act as an ignition source during a blowdown. The findings of this research will be incorporated into the industry guideline of pipeline vent design and operation.

The final draft of the Fracture Control Industry Code of Practice (RP6.3-13) was discussed by the committee and is scheduled for release next month.
The project that aims to develop greater understanding of damage to pipelines due to horizontal directional drilling (HDD) equipment is also reaching its conclusion. A specially designed and fabricated experimental rig made it possible to undertake a series of experiments in which the interaction between test pipe specimens and HDD equipment were be studied. Based on this research, it is anticipated that pipeline engineers engaged in safety management studies can make valid assessments of the risk to pipelines presented by HDD equipment. The final report is due for release next month.

Steering Committee Meeting- Program 2

The team of industry divisors and researchers of program 2 ‘coatings and corrosion’ met on 26 February at Deakin University, Geelong to discuss progress of 7 active projects in this program. Some highlights of the findings:

The technical feasibility of a new tool for evaluating the coating damage of pipelines installed through horizontal directional drilling (HDD) has now been tested successfully in a semi-field condition at Deakin University’s land. This tool was developed by researchers involved in project ‘RP2-16: Assessing coating integrity and CP efficiency of HDD pipelines’. This project will be finalised by the end of March 2019.

The second phase of Shore Crossing Cathodic Protection Test Program (RP6.2-04B) has progressed well. This project aims at providing a guideline on CP requirement and performance of offshore anodes in protecting nearby onshore pipes in dry soil condition. The latest research finding of this project shows that the longer the offshore anode functions under the standard level of CP potential, the longer it requires to be reactivated after the CP interrupt incidents. The findings of this project will be incorporated in the next revision of ‘engineering guideline for shore and waterway crossings’.

The project ‘RP6.2-06: Assessing coatings for pipelines installed by HDD’ is also well underway. This project aims at developing a standard test method to evaluate the performance of HDD pipe coatings. A gouge test rig has been designed and fabricated at Deakin University and will be used to evaluate the gouge resistance behaviour of different HDD coatings and for the development of a new standard test method. This project will be completed in April 2019. 

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