The design of rigid submarine pipelines has been the object of extensive research work over the last few years, where the most relevant issues include upheaval and lateral buckling problems. Both of these problems systematically associate temperature and pressure loads, where the treatment of the first is obvious, while the latter have always been a matter of discussion. In 1974 Palmer and Baldry [1] presented a theoretical-experimental contribution, in which they have set a pattern that has been followed ever since. Another similar and well known paper was published by Sparks in 1983 [7], who only present a physical interpretation of this same theory. Most of the present day industry codes define an effective axial force, according to which, fixed end pipelines will be under compression due to internal pressure. The starting point of the discussion presented in [1] was that internal pressure produces a lateral force, which is numerically equal to the pressure times internal cross-sectional area times the pipeline curvature:
This equation is demonstrated further ahead in this paper. Palmer and Baldry then based their arguments on the traditional equation of the pinned column buckling problem, studied by Euler [2]:
for which the well known solution is:
and on the associated problem studied by Timoshenko [3], which adds a distributed lateral load q to the same problem:
Replacing q with the lateral pressure given above, they were able to have their own problem fall back onto the Euler solution:
After correcting for the Poisson effect they were able to determine the new critical axial force caused by the pressure. Unfortunately, however, the arguments set forth in [1] have been misunderstood. The fact that both axial force and lateral force multiply curvature does not make them forces of the same nature. Being able to add them has solved a mathematical equation, but still hasn’t converted the lateral force to axial. The authors wish to prove that [1] presents no more than a tool, which can be used in the analysis of global buckling problems of pipelines subject to both temperature and pressure. It will be shown, however, that this pressure will not produce an axial force, as now-a-days prescribed conservatively in many pipeline codes, which is even used for stress checking.
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