Pipeline operators have at their disposal multiple resources for evaluating the integrity of identified features and anomalies. With advances in in-line inspection technology, the pipeline industry is being called upon to evaluate an ever-increasing number of features. When a feature is identified as a threat and severe enough to warrant further investigation, operators are faced with sometimes significant costs, including those associated with excavation activities. In this paper the authors provide guidance on the benefits associated with full-scale testing for evaluating mechanical integrity, referred to Intentional Destructive Testing (IDT). Unlike many assessment techniques that require the development and implementation of assumed operating and boundary conditions, well designed IDT programs are able to replicate in situ conditions to provide operators with a clear understanding regarding the behavior of pipeline features and anomalies by simulating operating conditions and loading. Three case studies are included in this paper to demonstrate the merits of the IDT approach including the assessment of dents subjected to cyclic pressures, burst testing vintage pipes having long seam weld crack-like features, and evaluating the reinforcement of girth welds using composite materials. In using IDT operators have improved confidence in predicting the behavior of identified features to ensure that maintenance resources are properly allocated for excavating and repairing anomalies.
Alexander, C., Vyvial, B., “Intentional Destructive Testing: A Means For Establishing Mechanical Integrity”, Proceedings of the 2014 10th International Pipeline Conference, IPC2014-33409 September 29-October 3, 2014, Calgary, Alberta, Canada