Traditionally, a key component of the design philosophy applied to high-pressure pipelines has been the stipulation that the nominal hoop stress is less than some fraction of the specified minimum yield strength (SMYS). However, more recently both designers and operators have recognised that whilst this approach generally leads to conservatively safe designs, there may be some situations in which the conservatism is not adequate. This has resulted in a move towards limit state, and structural reliability based, methods that address actual failure modes, and consequently the contributions to structural integrity of other factors in addition to stress. One such failure mode is the puncture of a pipeline wall due an external force. This situation can arise from the impact of excavating machinery for onshore pipelines or drop objects and anchors for offshore lines. A limit state function describing this failure mode is given in DNV guidelines No 13. However, this function does not take account of the internal pressure. In this paper the influence of pressure on the pipeline indentation is addressed using both theoretical and finite element analyses. A closed-form solution of force-deformation relationship based on a consideration of rigid-plastic deformation theory, that gives a good agreement with results from both FE analyses and experimental tests, is presented. The analytical results show that indentation force, and the maximum stress/strain, required to produce a given dent depth, increase with increasing internal pressure. However, the relationship between indentation force and maximum stress/strain is not sensitive to internal pressure. The analysis therefore shows that an indentation force criterion governed solely by the dent depth, such as that given in DNV guidelines No. 13, may be highly unconservative when the pressure in the pipeline is high. Consequently, a new local denting criterion for puncture of pressurised pipes, which is based the maximum acceptable strain of the pipe material, and thereby removes the above unconservatsim, has been proposed and is presented in this paper.

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