Finite element analysis (FEA) is a valuable technique for analyzing mechanical components and systems. The finite element method is a useful tool for predicting and evaluating component responses to loading and providing key information as to how it will perform in service.
When coupled with data from in-line inspection tools, FEA offers a powerful means for assessing pipeline anomalies. Finite element analysis is an effective method for evaluating the strength and fatigue life of anomalies. In addition, FEA can incorporate the inclusion of soil into an assessment thus providing an accurate depiction of how the system will perform under pressure and/or thermal loads.
Buried pipelines are an integral part of our national infrastructure. It is sometimes necessary to evaluate the behavior of pipeline systems by considering the interaction that takes place between the pipeline and surrounding soil. Stress Engineering has numerically modeled the behavior of pipelines using pipe-soil interaction elements to better understand variations in loading conditions. Vibrating wire strain gages have also been installed on actual pipelines to measure the displacement, and induced strains, of pipelines in soil over extended periods of time.