Pipelines are effective means to transport oil and gas. It is essential to maintain the safety of pipelines with the increasing demand for oil and gas resource. Welded pipelines may suffer damage such as cracks during installation and operation, and the consequence evaluation for such damage is very important. Engineering critical assessment (ECA) is the evaluation procedure for structures with flaws and has been widely applied for assessing the pipeline integrity. Although main standards of structural integrity assessment including BS 7910 are stress-based ECA, it is known to produce overly conservative results. In this regard, strain-based ECA has been recently developed.

One of the methods for improving the accuracy of strain-based ECA is the reference strain method. However, only few researches with reference strain method applied to welded pipes are available. Therefore, in this study, a numerical analysis based on the strain-based ECA is performed for strength mismatched girth welded joints with a circumferentially oriented internal surface crack. Equivalent stress-strain curve in BS7910 is employed to reflect the strength mismatch effects in the reference strain. This paper compares the results from the reference strain method and finite element analysis: J-integral and reference strain. Strain capacity of the reference strain method with strength mismatch is also discussed against stress-based ECA.

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