Tensile properties of API 5L large diameter pipes are typically determined with the use of full thickness flattened strap samples extracted in the transverse direction with respect to the longitudinal pipe axis (TPA) [1, 2, 3, 4]. It has been well established that the process of sample flattening has a significant influence on determination of the yield strength of the pipe [5, 6]. The flattening process is sensitive to a number of variables such as method of flattening, equipment used, number/sequence of strokes, and operators conducting the flattening. As a result, issues with repeatability are frequently encountered and despite several efforts, the industry lacks any type of official standard for universal use.
Historically, the industry has been focused on ensuring that the actual strength of pipes was safely higher than the specified minimum. Recently, there has been interest to also establish an upper limit on pipe strength particularly in the longitudinal direction with respect to the pipe axis (LPA) in order to avoid under matching between pipe and girth weld properties. These new requirements create the need for enhanced process control to minimize the variation due to flattening.
Samples obtained from longitudinally welded (SAWL) and helically welded (SAWH) seam Grade X70M line pipe of various nominal wall thickness to diameter (t/D) ratios were flattened using different procedures, measured for curvature, and tensile tested, all in controlled laboratory environments with minimized repeatability variation. Special attention was given to the definition and measurement of different types of curvatures observed through the range of different t/D ratios and effort was made to assess criteria for curvature measurement prior to testing. Additionally, non-flattened specimens were tensile tested using round bar and full ring expansion test methods, and a comparison between the results obtained from both flattened and non-flattened specimen methods was made.
The sample transverse yield strength results confirmed the expected variation between samples flattened by different methods. In addition, a much greater variation was observed when comparing the yield strength results between flattened and non-flattened samples. Considerations of extending the use of non-flattened specimens as a production test and benefits or limitations associated with such practice are discussed.