Pipeline defects such as cracks, dents and corrosion often require permanent pressure retaining repairs. Full encirclement metallic repair sleeves with fillet-welded end connections to the pipeline are often used for this purpose. In-service failures have occurred at pressure retaining sleeves as a result of defects associated with the sleeve welds, such as hydrogen-induced cracks, undercut at the fillet welds and inadequate weld size. At present, accurate quantitative fitness for service assessments for circumferential defects in a sleeve fillet welds are difficult to carry out due to a lack of detailed stress intensity factor (SIF) solutions for finite length cracks.

The primary objective of the project presented in this paper [1] was to develop flaw acceptance criteria which will fill gaps in the available Engineering Critical Assessment procedures for metallic sleeve repairs on all grades of pipelines. SIF solutions for finite length sleeve-end fillet weld toe and root cracks were generated and used to develop parametric equations suitable for carrying out defect assessments. These equations can be used in the assessment of fatigue crack growth and/or fracture using failure assessment diagram (FAD) methods at sleeve end fillets alongside the results developed for other structural geometries in national standards. The equations were developed based on detailed finite element (FE) analyses of a wide range of sleeve end fillet weld cracking scenarios to estimate the SIFs at both the deepest point and the surface breaking point along the crack front.

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