The ductile fracture resistance of newer line pipe steels is of concern for high grade/strength steels and higher-pressure pipeline designs. Although there have been several attempts to make improved ductile fracture arrest models, the model that is still used most frequently is the Battelle Two-Curve Method (TCM). This analysis incorporates the gas-decompression behavior with the fracture toughness of the pipe material to predict the minimum Charpy energy required for crack arrest. For this analysis, the influence of the backfill is lumped into one empirically developed “soil” coefficient which is not specific to soil type, density or strength. No attempt has been made to quantify the effects of soil depth, type, total density or strength on the fracture speeds of propagating cracks in line pipe steels. In this paper, results from small-scale and large-scale burst tests with well-controlled backfill conditions are presented and analyzed to determine the effects of soil depth and cohesiveness on the fracture speeds. Combining this data with the past full-scale burst data used in generating the original backfill coefficient provides additional insight into the effects of the soil properties on the fracture speeds and the arrest of running ductile fractures in line pipe materials.

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