Line pipe manufacturers always have to verify the mechanical properties on pipe to make sure that the pipe meets the requirements specified by the standard and/or customer. This involves measurement of mechanical properties along the hoop direction. The most accurate way to do so is by performing a ring expansion test, which, however, requires dedicated tools. The two other methodologies consist of standard tensile tests on either non-flattened round bar samples or so called ‘flattened tensile samples’. Round bar samples have the disadvantage that only part of the pipe’s wall thickness is considered. Furthermore they can only be used in case of larger OD/t ratios. Tests on flattened samples, on the other hand, require a flattening operation, which induces additional plastic deformation. However, this flattening operation is not standardized. Moreover, it was observed that the mechanical properties — especially the yield strength — resulting from tensile tests on flattened samples largely depend on test parameters such as residual deflection, extensometer position, flattening procedure, etc. Most manufacturers prefer to test flattened samples, because sample preparation is straightforward and cheap. Moreover it only requires a standard tensile bench.
An extensive FEA (Finite Element Analysis) study was launched to investigate the influence of those parameters on the measured yield strength. The applied FEA methodology consists of three steps. First the complete pipe forming process is modeled (in a simplified way). Next a pipe sample is flattened. Finally a tensile sample is cut from the flattened pipe sample and loaded in tension. The mechanical material behaviour is described by a combined kinematic-isotropic hardening model, which allows taking into account the Bauschinger effect. The results are also compared to simulations of ring expansion tests and tests on round bar samples.
Next a dedicated experimental test campaign was performed to verify the results of FEA. Results of ring expansion tests are compared to results obtained on round bar samples and flattened tensile samples.
The results of this study have shown that the applied methodology significantly affects the measured yield strength. Moreover tests on insufficiently flattened samples could considerably underestimate the actual yield strength on pipe. Finally some guidelines are provided to improve the reproducibility of the measured yield strength when using flattened samples.