Crack inspection of pipelines using liquid-coupled ultrasonic technology has established itself as an accepted ILI (in-line inspection) technology that is routinely applied by many operators. The inspection is based on the pulse-echo technique using 45° shear waves which provide very good detection sensitivity. While length sizing of cracks is reasonably precise, the accuracy of (amplitude-based) depth sizing is limited to some extent. Apart from the crack size, the methods applied for crack assessment have to take into account the geometry of the actual pipe, the relevant material properties and the loading conditions.

The work presented is based on the FAD method (Failure Assessment Diagram) being the most common technique for assessment of crack-like defects in pipes. It is shown how the assessment results depend on the quantities determined by ILI (e.g. crack size, wall thickness) and their associated measurement uncertainties. Using a deterministic approach the sensitivity with regard to the different parameters can be compared quantitatively. Probabilistic crack assessment based on the combination of the FAD method with Monte Carlo simulations is well suited for taking into account the statistical distribution of the measuring tolerances. It allows, for example, the calculation of statistical properties such as the probability of failure as will be demonstrated for realistic defect situations.

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