Seamless pipe typically features well controlled average wall thickness around its cross-section, but is prone to significant local thickness variation arising from the manufacturing process. Pipeline design codes, such as DNV OS-F101, provide little guidance on how to treat thickness variation whilst designing for collapse resistance. Standard practice is to consider minimum wall thickness across the whole cross-section, an assumption that two dimensional finite element simulations have proven conservative. This justifies the need for an improved design method. A program of simulations has been carried out to investigate the effect of wall thickness variation on collapse pressure. A modification to the DNV OS-F101 collapse design equation using average wall thickness over the whole crossection together with a fabrication factor is presented based on the results of this study. The fabrication factor de-rates the collapse pressure according to the amount of thickness variation present. The correction has been calibrated for thickness variations up to the maximum permitted by typical line pipe specifications. A number of FE trials demonstrate that the proposed formula predicts simulated collapse pressures with 98% accuracy. Adopting this method could provide significant wall thickness savings for deep water flowlines which in turn could lead to a reduction in steel costs and transportation and lay vessel requirements.

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