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Applied Mechanics and Materials Vol.

376 (2013) pp 135-139

(2013) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland

Effect of internal pressure and dent depth on strain distribution of

pressurized pipe subjected to indentation
Maziar Ramezani and Thomas Neitzert
Centre of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (CAMTEC), Auckland University of Technology,
New Zealand.
Email: ,
Keywords: Finite element simulation; Indentation; Internal pressure; Pipe.

Abstract: A dent in a pipeline is a permanent plastic deformation of the circular cross section of the
pipe. This paper discusses numerical results obtained from finite element (FE) simulation of
pressurized pipe subjected to radial denting by a rigid indenter. Dent produced by rectangular shape
indenter is assessed and the strain distribution of the pipe is investigated. The effect of internal
pressure and dent depth on the distribution of strain is also studied. The results show that the
circumferential and longitudinal strains increase with increasing the internal pressure and the depth of
the dent. Numerical results are compared with an empirical theoretical model in order to demonstrate
the accuracy of the analysis.
Accurate prediction of the lifetime of damaged pipelines due to outside force is very important. In
order to accurately predict the remaining life it is essential to accurately determine the stress and strain
in the damaged region. Mechanical damage is normally divided into two categories, dents and gouges,
which are deformations in the wall of a pipe that serve as crack initiation sites. Dents typically result
from a purely radial deformation whereas a gouge has a component of deformation along the surface
of the pipe. Dents not only affect the structural integrity of pipelines but they cause a local decrease in
the pipes cross-section, which in turn affects the flow through the pipe (Cosham and Hopkins, 2004).
A dent is a gross distortion of the pipe cross-section. Dent depth is defined as the maximum reduction
in the diameter of the pipe compared to the original diameter. Pipe denting is a complex phenomenon
that significant plastic strain occurs when the dent first forms. The pipe tends to re-round upon
pressure cycling, such that the observed deformation understates the true damage that has
accumulated in the pipe (Jiao and Shuai, 2011). The size, shape, and location of the original dent
affect the remaining life, as do external factors such as the constraint provided by the surrounding soil.
Few papers have been published previously to investigate the effect of dents on pipeline integrity
(see e.g. Lancaster and Palmer, 1994; Orynyak and Shlapak, 2001; Liu and Francis, 2004; Iflefel et al.,
2005). Hyde et al. (2005, 2007) determined the elastic-plastic behavior of unpressurised pipes with
long offset indentations and unsymmetrical support conditions by experimental tests, FE analyses and
analytical methods. Bachut and Iflefel (2008) presented detailed experimental work on damaged
laboratory scale mild steel pipes collapsed by bending moment.
Bachut and Iflefel (2011) studied the indentation of pipes subjected to transverse denting by a
rigid indenter. Dents produced by different shapes of indenters are assessed for the amount of
cross-sectional distortion of the pipe and for propagation of this distortion along the length of the pipe.
Baek et al. (2012) investigate the effect of the dent magnitude on the collapse behavior of a dented
pipe subjected to a combined internal pressure and in-plane bending. Most of these papers
investigated the dent on unpressurized pipes and only few works has been done on dented pipes in
which the pipe is pressurized prior to denting. The current paper aims at providing additional insight
into the structural behavior and strain distribution of pressurized dented pipes.

All rights reserved. No part of contents of this paper may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of TTP, (ID:,23:34:49)


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In order to handle the complexities associated with dents, an elastic-plastic finite element
simulation of a pressurized dented pipe is conducted and the formation of the dent and strain
distribution around the dent location is investigated. A parametric study is performed to investigate
the influence of internal pressure and dent depth on strain distribution.
Finite Element Simulation
The ABAQUS FE code has been adopted as the analysis tool. This is an implicit analysis code
suitable for modelling both material and geometric nonlinearities, and has good contact modelling.
The main objective is to reproduce the indentation load vs. displacement curves by simulating an
indented pipe and then investigating the strain distribution in the dented region of the pipe. Due to the
symmetry of the geometry and loading, it is only necessary to model half of the pipe and appropriate
constraints are imposed on the symmetry plan. The FE mesh is uniform and the tube is modelled using
C3D8R element which is an 8-node linear brick with reduced integration and hourglass control. The
pipe specimen has 762 mm outer diameter; 8.5 mm wall thickness and 2000 mm length. Therefore,
the outer diameter to wall thickness ratio is 90 and the length to diameter ratio is 2.6. The pipe
material is steel and the true stresstrue strain curves were obtained from tensile experiments and
plastic material properties are included, with nonlinear isotropic strain hardening. The internal
pressure is applied as a function of yield pressure, p y . Yield pressure causes the stress in the hoop
direction to reach material's yield stress level, y . The following equation can be used to relate p y
and y .



where t is the pipe wall thickness and ri is the inner radius of the pipe. In the FE modeling, the internal
pressure is applied to the inner surface of the pipe to simulate the field condition. The level of internal
pressure and the indentation depth are varied in the FE simulations to investigate their effects on the
load-displacement curves and the strain distributions in the dented region of the pipe.
The surface to surface contact between the indenter and the tube is modelled through the
master-slave algorithm implemented in ABAQUS. The simulation has two steps, i.e. loading and
unloading, and the non-linear geometry NLGEOM option in ABAQUS has been used throughout the
analysis. For all of the non-linear elasticplastic analyses, large deformation and large strain effects
are incorporated in order to obtain the strain distribution within the indented pipes. Figure 1 shows the
deformed pipe under indentation and the magnitude of spatial displacements at nodes is illustrated in
Figure 2.
Results and Discussions
The indentation load-displacement curves of the steel pipe at different internal pressures are shown in
Figure 3. The process of introducing a dent into a pipeline involves both elastic and plastic
deformation and when the indenter is removed the dent will spring back to some degree. The depth of
a dent in a pipeline changes as the internal pressure changes and the dent rerounds under increasing
internal pressure. Rerounding can be elastic (no permanent change in the dent depth), or plastic (a
permanent reduction in the dent depth). Under cyclic internal pressure loading, the dent can exhibit
incremental rerounding behaviour, until it shakes down to an elastic response. The spring back and
rerounding behavior of a dent depends upon the pipe geometry, the material properties, whether the
pipeline is pressurized or unpressurized, and the shape of the dent. The FE analysis was repeated at
each internal pressure to achieve the same final dent depth of (d/Do)=0.04, where d is the dent depth
and Do is the outside diameter of the pipe. The pipe remains pressurised during the loading and
unloading stages. It can be seen that a permanent indentation depth of 30mm is obtained after
complete unloading when the indenter separates from the pipe. The general shape of the

Applied Mechanics and Materials Vol. 376


force-deflection curve depends on the magnitude of the internal pressure. In general, the load carrying
capacity increases with increasing pressure and the deformation caused by a given load reduces with
increasing internal pressure.
The distribution of the circumferential and the longitudinal strains at different internal pressures
and (d/Do)=0.04 are depicted in Figures 4 and 5. It can be seen that the level of strain increases by
increasing the internal pressure and the location of the maximum strain moves outward by increasing
the pressure. Additional simulations were carried out for two other values of prescribed dent depth,
i.e. for (d/Do)=0.06 and (d/Do)=0.08 and with the internal pressure of (p/py)=0.15. The results are
illustrated in Figures 6 and 7 and show an increase in the circumferential and the longitudinal strains,
with increasing the dent depth. The combined effects of internal pressure and dent depth on the
maximum circumferential and longitudinal strains are shown in Figures 8 and 9. According to the
figures, the maximum strains increases constantly by increasing the internal pressure and the dent
depth and all the curves show the same trend.
In another study, pipes of the same dimension were dented with zero internal pressure and then
pressurized. Maxey (1986) presented the following empirical equation for the variation of the central
dent displacement with internal pressure.
1.213 (1 )
where w is the inward radial displacement at the centre of the dent, measured from the original
cylindrical pipe surface. It can be seen from Figure 10 that the dent depth is reduced significantly upon
pressurization which indicates an immediate permanent plastic deformation from the earliest dent
movement. Although Eq. (2) was initially developed for aluminum pipes, a good agreement can be
seen between the theoretical and FE simulation results.
Finite element analyses are carried out to model the denting process and to determine the strains
distributions within the pressurized dented pipe. A number of observations can be made as a result of
this study of a single geometry pipe, (Do/t)=90, subjected to denting. Within the studied range of
internal pressures, the magnitude of the denting force increases nearly linearly with denting depth. For
a pressurized pipe, the magnitude of the denting force increases significantly with increasing the
internal pressure. It was also observed that the maximum circumferential and longitudinal strains
increase by increasing the internal pressure and the dent depth.

Fig. 1 FE simulation of the pressurized pipe under


Fig. 2 Spatial displacements at nodes.


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Fig. 3 Indentation load vs dent depth at different

pressures for (d/Do)=0.04.

Fig. 7 Effect of dent depth on longitudinal strain at


Fig. 8 Effect of internal pressure and dent depth on

maximum circumferential strain.
Fig. 4 Circumferential strain at different pressures
for (d/Do)=0.04.

Fig. 5 Longitudinal strain at different pressures for


Fig. 6 Effect of dent depth on circumferential strain

at (p/py)=0.15.

Fig. 9 Effect of internal pressure and dent depth on

maximum longitudinal strain.

Fig. 10 Comparison of FE simulation and empirical

theoretical model.

Applied Mechanics and Materials Vol. 376


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