A design for flaw placement in a full-scale pipe test was developed to both detect crack initiation and measure crack growth rate upon internal pressurization of a pipe exposed to a sulfide stress cracking (SSC) environment. The objective of this work was to model different sizes of longitudinally oriented, inside diameter (ID) surface flaws and lay them out on the pipe in such a manner that (1) the flaws experience their target stress intensity factor (K) value at a chosen value of internal pressure, (2) the stress interaction between flaws is minimized, and (3) the flaw layout is optimized for detecting both crack initiation and growth using a direct-current (d-c) electric potential (EP) technique.

The approach to the flaw design and layout used finite element analysis (FEA) modeling and consisted of optimizing K-profiles. First, the K-profiles were optimized by designing curved-bottom flaws such that the target K along the flaw front occurred along most of the flaw length. Then, stress interactions between the flaws were checked to confirm minimum interactions were achieved and that the proposed flaw layout around the pipe circumference was acceptable. In addition, the FE models were used to predict strains on the pipe outside surface. Finally, global (single large current supply), local (individual small current supplies) and hybrid (individual medium-sized current supplies at larger distance) approaches to the d-c EP measurements were evaluated to select which methodology would be most appropriate to detect both crack initiation and growth of the flaws. The results of the analysis show that optimizing all these design factors provides a solid basis for achieving experimental success.

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