Combined numerical-experimental framework for strain based design and flaw assessment of girth welds

  • Stijn Hertelé
  • Rudi Denys
  • Koen Van Minnebruggen
  • Matthias Verstraete
  • Wim De Waele



An increasing number of transmission pipelines have to be installed and operated in harsh conditions, due to the diminishing reserves of exploited fossil fuel sources. Under certain environment related circumstances, longitudinal plastic strains are imposed. When tensile, these may induce failure in girth welds in conjunction with the inevitable presence of weld defects. A large number of factors related to environment, material, geometry and operating conditions influence the tensile strain capacity and, hence, the acceptability of girth weld flaws. Therefore, a project specific development of guidelines in this strain based context is recommended. This paper provides systematic frameworks on (a) how to design pipelines under strain based conditions, and (b) how to assess girth weld flaws that were detected using non destructive testing. Attention is given to several technical and economical aspects related to the selection and qualification of pipe and weld metals, and to the evaluation of flaw acceptability. Both frameworks comprise a combined experimental-numerical approach, collecting project development reports from literature with research carried out at Soete Laboratory. Concretely, four in-house realizations are adopted: the UGent equation for strain capacity, the curved wide plate tension test, the UGent stress-strain equation and a finite element model of full scale pressurized pipe tension testing. The proposed frameworks aim to facilitate in performing thorough and economically justifiable strain based design and assessment processes.

Keywords: girth weld, weld flaw, strain based design, strain based assessment, project approach

How to Cite:

Hertelé, S., Denys, R., Van Minnebruggen, K., Verstraete, M. & De Waele, W., (2013) “Combined numerical-experimental framework for strain based design and flaw assessment of girth welds”, International Journal of Sustainable Construction and Design 4(1). doi:

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Published on
27 Mar 2013
Peer Reviewed