A full-scale gas burst test was conducted to confirm the behavior of unstable ductile crack propagation and arrest and to confirm the required toughness value to prevent unstable ductile fracture under an ultrahigh pressure of 18 MPa. A full-scale test was conducted at the Spadeadam test site in the UK for unburied pipes. The test pipes used in this test were of API 5L Grade L450 with outer diameter of 610 mm and thickness of 17.5 mm. The toughness of the test pipes increased away from the center, where an explosive charge was placed across the top of the girth weld for crack initiation. The gas used in the test consisted of ∼89% methane and other heavy hydrocarbon gas components, and the test temperature was 0 °C. A gas circulation loop was constructed to ensure that a homogeneous gas mixture and temperature were achieved throughout the test rig.

In addition to dynamically measuring the ductile crack velocity and decompression behavior of the rich gas, as has often been done in previous burst tests, the circumferential distribution of the decompression behavior was measured using circumferentially placed pressure transducers. Furthermore, the fracture strain near the propagating crack was measured.

The initiated unstable ductile crack was arrested in the third pipe. From the material properties of the test pipes in which the unstable ductile crack was arrested, the required Charpy absorbed energy and DWTT absorbed energy to prevent unstable ductile fracture in unburied pipes were obtained. In addition, the above data can be useful for validating numerical models that evaluate the propagation/arrest of unstable ductile fracture.

The required Charpy and DWTT absorbed energy values obtained in this test were compared with those predicted by the Battelle Two-Curve Method (BTCM). As noted in previous studies, it was confirmed that the BTCM underestimates the required Charpy absorbed energy and requires a certain correction factor for precise evaluation, whereas the DWTT absorbed energy predicted by BTCM was consistent with the experimental result.

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