Methods for assessing volumetric corrosion in fittings such as bends or branch connections are not well developed, although limited guidance is given in some codes. For other components and cases where the corrosion profile is complex or there are large external loads, these methods cannot be applied. In addition, detailed analysis of the actual corrosion shape and the applied loads may demonstrate significant additional margins compared with the code method. To do this, the actual profile of the corroded shape is required. This paper reports an initial study investigating methods of non-contact scanning a corroded fitting, constructing a finite element (FE) model of the corroded shape and prediction of the failure pressure.

Two corroded welded branch connections which had been removed from a block valve installation were used. The surface profiles were measured using a laser scanner and the scans imported into a FE model generation system and detailed models of the damaged connections then developed. Non-linear analyses were carried out to predict the failure pressure using assumed and measured stress-strain curves. Failure was predicted to occur in the area of the weld between the forged connection and the header.

Hydrostatic burst tests were carried out on the connections. In both tests failure initiated in the header pipe remote from the branch and the corroded area, and as a result the failure pressures were below those predicted by the FEA. However, the failures did occur at pressures about 20% higher than the original hydrostatic test pressure. Strain gauge data from the pressure tests were in reasonable agreement with the numerical predictions. Large strains were predicted and measured in the large artificial defect introduced in the second test.

This program has demonstrated the feasibility of making detailed surface profile measurements of corroded components on site, and then using these profiles in a non-linear FEA to predict failure pressures. The development work needed for routine application is discussed, and the selection of a failure criterion for the FEA when analysing complex geometries where there may be substantial through wall bending is also considered.

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