One of the major challenges in the design of ultra high grade (X100) high pressure gas pipelines is the identification of a reliable crack propagation strategy. Ductile fracture propagation is an event that involves the whole pipeline and all its components, including valves, fittings, flanges and bends. Recent research results have shown that the newly developed high strength large diameter gas pipelines, when operated at severe conditions (rich gas, low temperatures, high pressure), may not be able to arrest a running ductile crack through pipe material properties. Hence, the use of crack arrestors is required in the design of safe and reliable pipeline systems. A conventional crack arrestor can be a high toughness pipe insert, or a local joint with higher wall thickness. Steel wire wrappings, cast iron clamps or steel sleeves are commonly used non-integral solutions. Recently, composite crack arrestors have enjoyed increasing interest from the industry as a straightforward solution to stop running ductile cracks. A composite crack arrestor is made of (glass) fibres, dipped in a resin bath and wound onto the pipe wall in a variety of orientations. In this paper, the numerical design of composite crack arrestors will be presented. First, the properties of unidirectional glass fibre reinforced epoxy are measured and the micromechanic modelling of composite materials is addressed. Then, the in-use behaviour of pipe joints with composite crack arrestors is covered. Large-scale tensile tests and four point bending tests are performed and compared with finite element simulations. Subsequently, failure measures are introduced to predict the onset of composite material failure. At the end, the ability of composite crack arrestors to arrest a running fracture in a high pressure gas pipeline is assessed.

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