The drive to reduce the installed cost of high-capacity long-distance pipelines has focused attention on increasing the strength of the pipe material, in order to reduce the tonnage of material purchased, transportation and welding costs. In parallel with developments in plate rolling and pipe fabrication, the properties and performance of prototype pipe materials and construction welds have already been extensively evaluated. While these studies have provided considerable confidence in the performance of X100 pipe, a major remaining issue in the introduction of such steels has been an understanding of the resistance to propagating fractures. The scarcity of relevant fracture propagation data and concerns about the measurement and specification of toughness in high strength steel pipes have led to doubts that the existing methods for control of ductile fracture can be extrapolated to X100 strength levels. In order to provide experimental data on which to base fracture control approaches, a Joint Industry Project has been undertaken using conditions representative of potential applications. Results are presented from two full-scale fracture propagation tests on 914mm pre-production grade X100 pipes pressurised using natural gas. The full-scale results are compared with small-scale test specimen data and also with results from other full-scale tests on high strength steel pipes. This provides a valuable insight into the fracture response of these materials. Information has also been obtained concerning the predictive capability of current gas decompression models. These results provide a contribution to the development of fracture control plans in pipelines using X100 steel linepipe.

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