Preventing the occurrence of local buckling due to external pressure is one of the main concerns in design of offshore pipelines. However, when a pipeline is designed for deepwater, prevention of the propagation of local buckling along the pipeline has more importance. Therefore, the study of buckle propagation phenomenon and its prevention is a subject of many researches in the past 25 years. Great amount of these researches have focused on appropriate estimation of buckle propagation pressure. In this paper, details of 3-D finite element modeling for buckle propagation simulation are outlined. In order to verify the accuracy and validity of the finite element modeling, the numerical results, obtained from nonlinear finite element analysis have been compared with the results of the experimental study on full-scale models, undertaken by C-FER Technologies, Canada, which have been published by Toscano et al. (2002). Comparison shows that the finite element results have very close agreement with the experimental behaviour. Also, in the present paper, numerical results of Toscano et al. are discussed; and the study shows that the proposed method, outlined in this paper, gives more appropriate results than the proposed method by Toscano et al. In addition, the buckle propagation of pipeline under the uniform external pressure as well as non-uniform pressure, due to the presence of the internal flow (when the pipe is not full of fluid) is studied. The change of buckle propagation pressure is determined by the proposed method.

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