Surface cracks in pipelines under certain service conditions may grow due to fatigue, which is caused by pressure (cycles). The leak-before-break (LBB) assessment method is employed to avoid any catastrophic failure prior to a detectable leakage. In the LBB analysis, crack critical length is an essential element for determining the pipeline leak or rupture.

The common approach regarding the evaluation of LBB is to calculate the critical crack length and through-wall length under iven pressure cycling conditions. If the critical crack length is less than the through-wall length, LBB conditions could occur and be detected if leak detection capability is high. This involves complex calculations in crack fatigue growth and could result in extensive analysis if thepipeline has a large crack population.

This paper presents a simplified approach for assessing the leak-before-break of the flawed pipelines. This approach is based on industrial code API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 Fitness-For-Service. Through the investigation of effects for different parameters on crack growth, including crack initial geometry, pipeline materials, loading conditions, pipeline diameter and wall thickness, it was determined that the crack initial aspect ratio is a major factor influencing crack growth and geometry evolution. Based on these parameters, a crack fatigue growth map was developed. By comparing the behaviors of different cases, it was confirmed that the proposed method is a valid approach for the pipeline LBB analysis.

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