The residual stress pattern surrounding gouges is complex and, to date, has not been accurately modeled using stress modeling software. Thus measurement of these stress distributions is necessary. Neutron diffraction is the only experimental method with the capability of directly evaluating residual strain throughout the entire thickness of a pipe wall, in and around dent or gouged regions.

Neutron diffraction measurements were conducted at the NIST reactor on three gouged dents in X52 pipeline sections. These were part of a larger sample set examined as part of the comprehensive MD4-1 PRCI/DOT PHMSA project. Gouges contained in pipeline sections were termed BEA161 (primarily a gouge with little denting), and BEA178 (mild gouging, very large dent). Measurements were also conducted on a coupon sample – P22, that was created as part of an earlier study.

For the moderate gouges with little or no associated denting (BEA161 and P22) the residual stress field was highly localized around the immediate gouge vicinity (except where there was some denting present). The through wall stress distributions were similar at most locations — characterized by neutral or moderate hoop and axial stresses (50–100MPa) at the outer wall surface (i.e. at the gouge itself) gradually becoming highly compressive (up to −600MPa) at the inner wall surface. The other sample (BEA178) exhibited a very mild gouge with significant denting, and the results were very different. The denting process associated with this kind of gouge+dent dominated the residual stresses, making the residual stress distribution very complex. In addition, rather than having a residual stress field that is localized in the immediate gouge vicinity, the varying stress distribution extends to the edge of the dented region..

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