Strain based design is normally applied for HPHT pipelines when the conventional stress based method becomes impractical. In addition to a design safety factor, a strain concentration factor is typically incorporated in the lateral buckling assessment to account for non-uniform stiffness or plastic bending moment due to geometry and material strength mismatch between adjacent pipe joints. Increased strain concentration can compromise pipeline low cycle fatigue and lateral buckling capacity, leading to an early onset of local buckling failure. In this paper, the philosophy of local buckling mitigation using the strain concentration factor is examined. The local buckling behaviour is evaluated in relation to strain concentration. Global strain reduction and evolution against buckling is analysed with respect to varying joint mismatch level derived according to a structural reliability analysis.

The concept of a strain reduction factor due to mismatch is developed and proposed based on the global strain capacity reduction with reference to the uniform configuration. It is demonstrated that the strain reduction factor is a unique characteristic parameter. As opposed to strain concentrations it is an invariant insensitive to evaluation methods and the design strain demand level, hence more representative as a limiting design metric to maintain the safety margin. The use of the strain reduction factor is thus put forward in strain based lateral buckling design as an alternative to using the strain concentration factor. The method for obtaining the strain reduction factor and its application is developed. The rationale for its introduction is outlined and some of its benefits are established. The discernible difference and scenarios for application of either factors are discussed, including low and high cycle fatigue, linearity and stress concentration (SNCF from SCF for welds), ECA and lateral buckling. Additional causal factors giving rise to mismatch such as pipe schedule transition and buckler arrestor are also discussed. Iterations of FE analyses are performed for a pipe-in-pipe configuration in a case study.

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