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Engineering Failure Analysis 81 (2017) 135–144

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Engineering Failure Analysis


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/engfailanal

Polymer-based composite repair system for severely corroded MARK


circumferential welds in steel pipes
M.M. Watanabe Junior, J.M.L. Reis, H.S. da Costa Mattos⁎
Laboratory of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics - LMTA, Graduate Programme in Mechanical Engineering - PGMEC, Universidade Federal
Fluminense - UFF, Rua Passo da Pátria 156, 24210-240 Niterói, RJ, Brazil

AR TI CLE I NF O AB S T R A CT

Keywords: In offshore installations, the use of piping is crucial for transporting different kinds of fluids. In
Through-thickness corrosion damage this kind of environment, corrosion is one of the major damage mechanisms of the metallic
Circumferential welds pipelines, due to aggressive fluid and atmosphere. Duplex and Super duplex stainless steel pipes
Stainless steel pipes are increasingly being used in offshore platforms due to the excellent material's resistance to
Polymer-based composite repair systems
corrosion combined with good mechanical properties. However, the welding process is not
simple and a high susceptibility to corrosion may occur if some parameters are not very well
controlled. Severe corrosion damage in some weld beads eventually impairs the serviceability,
mainly through-wall defects that cause leaks in the pipelines. The main motivation is the duplex
and super duplex stainless steel pipes that are increasingly being used in offshore platforms due
to the excellent material's resistance to corrosion combined with good mechanical properties.
However, the welding process is not simple and a high susceptibility to corrosion may occur if
some parameters are not very well controlled. Severe corrosion damage in some weld beads
eventually impairs the serviceability, mainly through-wall defects that cause leaks in the pipe-
lines. Examples concerning the use of composite repair systems in different damage situations
(artificial defects aim at reproducing localized corrosion damage defects found in real welded
joints) show the possibility of effective use of the proposed alternative procedure as a reliable tool
for lifetime extension and to reduce the pipeline downtime. This methodology is conceived to
adequately repair weld joints presenting damage up to 80% of the wall thickness and through-
wall defect up to 50% of the perimeter of the pipe.

1. Introduction

Metallic pipes play an important role in offshore oil production platforms, transporting different types of fluids. The unplanned
shutdown of a line for maintenance due an unexpected failure causes important economic losses due to production stoppage. In
general, the pipes may be damaged by corrosion, accidental impact, erosion due to solid particles carried by the fluid, erosion caused
by cavitation or they may be chemically attacked by the fluid. Corrosion damage (see Fig. 1, material loss from the inner surface and/
or from the external surface, eventually leading to through-thickness damage) is probably the principal cause to impair the servi-
ceability of metallic pipelines [1–6].
For instance, duplex and super duplex stainless steel pipes are increasingly being used in offshore platforms due to the excellent
material's resistance to corrosion in harsh environments (containing hydrochloric acid, acetic acid, sulphuric acid, for instance)
combined with good mechanical properties. However, despite the great advantages mentioned above, the welding process of this


Corresponding author.
E-mail address: heraldo@mec.uff.br (H.S. da Costa Mattos).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.engfailanal.2017.08.001
Received 3 April 2017; Received in revised form 19 June 2017; Accepted 17 August 2017
Available online 18 August 2017
1350-6307/ © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
M.M. Watanabe Junior et al. Engineering Failure Analysis 81 (2017) 135–144

Fig. 1. Corroded pipeline in offshore installations.

kind of alloy is not simple and a high susceptibility to corrosion may occur if some parameters are not very well controlled [7–9].
Deleterious phases precipitation is the main concern in the fabrication by welding and hot forming of this class of material. There are
many good works on the adequate welding procedures for these classes of materials and it is not the purpose of this study to perform a
discussion about the physical processes of welding and corrosion. The goal of the present paper is to verify how to reinforce/repair
circumferential damage in pipes which have not been welded according to the specifications using a polymer-based composite
system. Thus, due to inadequate procedures, it is possible to have duplex or super duplex steel piping assemblies with significant
corrosion damage at the welds. To show a few examples to motivate this study, Fig. 2 shows a through-thickness corrosion damage in
a super duplex steel UNS S32750 pipe used for salt water transport and Fig. 3 shows a section of the pipe and the severity of corrosion
in the heat affected zone (HAZ).
Predictive-maintenance programs using polymer-based composite systems can reduce the possibilities of unexpected failures.
Repair techniques with polymeric materials and composites do not require to drain the line and stop operation consuming highly
demanded time. Nowadays it is possible to repair a line of oil or water in less than 3 h. A few studies about polymer-based composite
repair systems can be found in the literature.
A review of the experience and requirements for patch repairs of floating offshore units and ships can be found in [10,11]. In [12],
epoxy repair systems for metallic pipelines undergoing elastic or inelastic deformations with localized corrosion damage were
analysed. In the case of a through-thickness damage, the focus was to assure an adequate application of the epoxy filler in such a way
the pipe won't leak after repair. The proposed procedure can be used or not associated with a composite sleeve that assures a
satisfactory level of structural integrity. The study performed in [13] evaluated the strength of a pipeline with through-thickness
corrosion damage when repaired with special epoxy systems. Special hydrostatic tests were performed in metallic pipelines used to
convey produced water in offshore oil and gas platforms. It was shown that that both yield and burst pressure can be related to the

Fig. 2. Leakage in a super duplex steel pipe after a short operating time.

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Fig. 3. Severe corrosion in the HAZ.

yield stress and ultimate stress obtained in a tensile test. In the case of long-time tests, special attention is given to the explanation of
why huge pressure peaks may be induced by a very small temperature variation if an inadequate pressure control system is adopted.
In [14] a simple methodology was proposed to estimate the failure pressure of thin-walled metallic pipelines with arbitrary localized
corrosion damage. In [15,16] this methodology was extended to predict the failure pressure of a reinforced pipeline with arbitrary
geometry of the corroded region and considering any composite repair system. Hydrostatic tests performed in different laboratories
were used to validate the proposed methodology, showing that a simple expression allows estimating a lower bound for the failure
pressure. Comparison with experimental results in pipes reinforced with part-wall defects was also performed in [17]. For practical
purposes, nowadays, two standards guide the design of composite repair system, ISO TS 24817 [18] and ASME PCC2 [19], however,
some remarks regarding these standards have been made in [15,20].
The aim of the present study is to analyse the reinforcement of severely corroded circumferential welds (through-thickness
damage) using a polymer-based composite to ensure structural integrity. The goal is to assure an adequate application of a composite
sleeve in such a way the pipe won't leak after repair. Nowadays it is well accepted that polymer-based composite sleeves can assure a
satisfactory level of structural integrity for part-through corrosion defects, but they are not necessarily effective to avoid leakage for
localized through-thickness corrosion defects.
Pipes with 101.6 mm (4″) diameter with machined circumferential defects were repaired and submitted to hydrostatic testing
(three different types of defects). These artificial defects aim at reproducing localized corrosion damage defects in the heat affected
zone (HAZ) found in real welded joints. The first part of the study (burst test with in a pipe with a significant circumferential part-
through metal loss) is to check experimentally the theoretical prediction, using the equations proposed in [16], that, without the
presence of a bending moment, the burst pressures are quite high in this case. The burst pressure of the repaired pipe is above the
maximum admissible operating pressure for produced water pipelines in offshore platforms. This maximum admissible operating
pressure is 13 kgf/cm2. Thus, circumferential part-wall metal loss due to corrosion is not really a problem until it is becoming a
through-thickness defect. The main challenge is to avoid leaking for through-wall corrosion damage. The second part of the study is
concerned with a repair system to avoid the leaking until a planned maintenance shutdown of the line. This methodology is conceived
to adequately repair weld joints presenting damage up to 80% of the wall thickness in the HAZ and through-wall defect up to 50% of
the perimeter of the pipe. In the hydrostatic test, the pressure was initially increased up to a fixed pressure of 1.96 MPa (20 kgf/cm2)
and after 30 min a burst test was performed. This pressure is used in the design for produced water pipelines in offshore platforms.
The maximum admissible operating pressure is 13 kgf/cm2. The 30 min of preload is a classic requirement of some standards for this
kind of hydrostatic testing. All specimens resisted the design pressure without leaking. These examples concerning the use of
composite repair systems in different damage situations show the possibility of effective use of the proposed alternative procedure as
a reliable tool for lifetime extension and to reduce the pipeline downtime.

2. Materials and methods

In the present study two different types of hydrostatic tests were performed. Although the motivation is the corrosion damage in
circumferential welds in duplex and super duplex steel pipes, the proposed methodology is adequate for any circumferential metal
loss in metallic pipes.

2.1. Test type I

The purpose of the test type I is to check experimentally the theoretical prediction, using the equations proposed in [16], that,
without the presence of a bending moment, the burst pressures are generally higher that the project pressure even in the case of very
high circumferential part-through metal losses is a burst test using a steel pipe A 106 Gr. B with 102.26 mm of inner diameter,
6.02 mm nominal wall thickness and length 700 mm. An artificial defect type A – a circumferential metal loss of approximately 75%
of the wall thickness (4.5 mm) and 14 mm wide, see Fig. 4. This steel is not a special alloy (duplex or super duplex). In this case (a
destructive burst test), a more ordinary alloy was used to minimize costs. Super duplex steel pipes were only used in the second type

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Fig. 4. CP1 Type I - defect machined in the A106 Gr. B steel specimen.

of hydrostatic test. For this pipe material, the yield stress σy and the ultimate tensile strength Sut are, respectively, 240 MPa and
415 MPa. This test was performed to check the theoretical burst pressure predicted using the methodology proposed in [14–16]. A
very high value of the burst pressure is found, even for a huge circumferential metal loss. This indicates that the reinforcement of
part-wall defects is not difficult in this particular case and that the main challenge would be to repair through-thickness corrosion
defects in order to avoid leaking. Through-thickness damage defects are analysed in using the test type II.

2.2. Test type II

Tests type II are hydrostatic tests using UNS S32750 super duplex steel pipes with a 4″ nominal diameter, 3 mm nominal wall
thickness and axial length of 700 mm. In all specimens, it was machined a circumferential metal loss of 75% of the wall thickness
(2.5 mm) and 7 mm wide. Three kinds of artificial through-thickness defects were considered: (i) a single hole of 3.125 mm diameter
(Fig. 5); (ii) a 25% of the perimeter through-thickness defect (Fig. 6) and (iii) a 50% of the perimeter through-thickness defect
(Fig. 7). These specimens were reinforced with a composite repair system and tested. In the hydrostatic tests, the pressure was
initially increased up to a fixed pressure of 1.96 MPa (20 kgf/cm2) and after 30 min a burst test was performed. In the hydrostatic
test, the pressure was initially increased up to a fixed pressure of 1.96 MPa (20 kgf/cm2) and after 30 min a burst test was performed.
The pressure 1.96 MPa is used in the design for produced water pipelines in offshore platforms [12]. The maximum admissible
operating pressure is 1.27 MPa (13 kgf/cm2). The 30 min of preload is a classic requirement of some standards for this kind of
hydrostatic testing.
The experimental set up at the laboratory was conceived to approximate a real repair operation, where the resin must be applied
in field conditions (which affect the quality of the resulting epoxy repair).

1. Surface preparation: In order to achieve the roughness levels required for the use of the selected adhesive (from 25 to 75 μm - ISO
4288:1996 [21]), the surface preparation was carried out with a recyclable abrasive blasting media to achieve a white metal
appearance and to remove some of the existing oxide layer. A final rinse with solvent was made to provide a free of oil, grease and
dirt surface;
2. Application of a polymeric foam layer around the region with metal loss to avoid the epoxy filler to spill inside the pipe (Fig. 8);
3. Application of a very low viscosity epoxy-metal composite adhesive (MultiMetall® UW) with extreme short curing time (flexural
strength: 64 MPa; tensile shear on steel: 75 MPa; compressible strength: 180 MPa). The epoxy layer should have a smooth
boundary for improved performance and thickness higher than the pipe wall (Fig. 9). Smoothing is needed to not allow gaps

Fig. 5. CP1 Type II (i) - 75% circumferential part-wall loss and a 3.175 mm diameter hole.

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Fig. 6. Test Type II (ii) - 75% circumferential part-wall loss and a through-thickness defect in 25% of the perimeter.

Fig. 7. CP3 Type II (iii) - 75% circumferential part-wall loss and a through-thickness defect in 50% of the perimeter.

Fig. 8. Polymeric foam around the region with metal loss.

between the substrate and the composite glove. The suggested average width is between two or three times the maximum
dimension of the defect (see Fig. 10);
4. Application of a primer layer (Syntho Subsea® LV) which is a two-part unique blend of liquid epoxy, including Kevlar, polymer
and aliphatic polyamine curing agents, Fig. 11;
5. Application of a pre-impregnated, bi-directional composite (Syntho Glass® XT, Fig. 12). The pipe is wrapped with concentric
layers of a fiberglass tape with water-activated polyurethane resin (12 layers with approximately 0.33 mm thickness each). The
fibers are oriented between 0° and 90°. The average circumferential elasticity modulus of the laminate is Eθ = 24,788.23 MPa, the
axial elasticity modulus is Ez = 13,499.1 MPa and the Poisson's ratio is ν = 0.1326. The length was 160 mm.
6. Application of a porous compression film (Fig. 13). After application of the composite, the application of a compression film is
necessary to keep the composite compact after curing. The porosity is necessary to allow the release of gases during the curing
process.

The specimens used in the hydrostatic tests are presented in Fig. 14.

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Fig. 9. Application of the epoxy-metal composite adhesive.

Fig. 10. Application of an epoxy-metal composite adhesive before the composite layer.

Fig. 11. Primer layer.

3. Results and discussion

3.1. Failure pressure of the specimen type I

In the case of test type I, the so-called remaining strength criteria for corrosion defects can be used as a quick tool to obtain a lower
bound for the failure pressure of a corroded pipe under pressure. All these criteria can be expressed as follows [12–16].

Pi ri e
αθ < σflow ⇒ Pmax = σflow
e αθ ri (1)

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Fig. 12. Pre-impregnated, bi-directional composite.

Fig. 13. Application of a porous compression Film.

Fig. 14. Hydrostatic test specimens.

where αθ is a function of geometry and σflow a maximum admissible tensile strength before failure that varies according to the
criterion. The previous expression can be obtained considering an elasto-plastic metallic cylinder with a localized corrosion damage
with internal radius ri and thickness e submitted to an internal pressure Pi. The internal radius ri and the thickness e are such that (ri/
e) > 10. The term (1/αθ) is usually called the remaining strength factor. The difference between the many existing methods is the
choice of the flow stress and the expression for the remaining strength factor.
Possible expressions for αθ can be obtained from the criteria presented in [12–16]. In general, such simplified analytic expressions
give very reasonable predictions of the failure pressure. In this paper, it is only presented a classic (and usually conservative)
criterion: the RSTRENG 0.85 or Modified B31G Criterion

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Table 1
Parameters used to obtain the theoretical failure pressure.

ri (mm) D (mm) d (mm) L (mm) e (mm) σy (MPa) σult (MPa)

51.13 114.3 4.5 14 6.02 250 450

RSTRENG 0.85: αθ =
1 − 0.85 ( )( ) ; σ
d
e
1
Mt
= σy + 69 MPa
flow
1 − 0.85 ( )
d
e (2)

where Mt is the bulging factor in the RSTRENG criterion, given by

2
L2 L2 L2
Mt = 1 + 0.6275 ⎛ ⎞ − 0.003375 ⎛ ⎞ , if
⎜ ⎟ ≤ 50
⎜ ⎟

De
⎝ ⎠ De
⎝ ⎠ De (3)

In Eqs. (2) and (3) D is the external diameter, d is the maximum depth of the defect, L is the total axial extent of the defect, e is the
wall thickness of the pipe and σy is the yield stress of the pipe (0.5% criterion). The value of Pmax, obtained using Eqs. (1)–(3) and the
parameters presented in Table 1, is 32.6 MPa.
The high failure pressure obtained analytically, much above the maximum admissible operating pressure of 1.27 MPa (13 kgf/
cm2) motivated to perform a burst test to check the effectiveness of this simplified prediction in the case of a deep and very localized
defect. The experimental failure pressure obtained was 33.87 MPa, 5% higher than the theoretical one. Fig. 15 shows the specimen
after the burst test. The results indicate that a thin-walled metallic pipe can resist high operation pressures even with a significant
circumferential metal loss due to corrosion in the HAZ. Thus, this kind of polymer-based composite system is interesting not only to
reinforce the pipe after the detection of a significant corrosion in the HAZ (since the pipe strength is still high), but mainly to be used
as a protection to avoid leakage in the case of a through-thickness corrosion.

3.2. Failure analysis of the specimens type II

All specimens resisted an inner pressure of 1.96 MPa (20 kgf/cm2) for 30 min. After 30 min a burst test was performed in each of
them. The failure pressure of the specimen (i) with a hole of 3.125 mm diameter was 2.8 MPa. The failure pressure of the specimen
(ii) with a through-thickness defect in 25% of the perimeter was 7.73 MPa. The failure pressure of the specimen (iii) with a through-
thickness defect in 50% of the perimeter was 4.19 MPa. The repaired specimens did not fail catastrophically. Failure was considered
when a fluid leaking was observed between the pipe and the composite (Fig. 16). Table 2 presents the failure pressure obtained in all
tests (always above the maximum admissible operating pressure of 1.27 MPa (13 kgf/cm2) or the design pressure of 1.9 MPa).
The fact that the failure pressure of the pipe with a “small” hole (test type I (i)) is lower than the ones with higher metal losses is
not surprising. It is known from practical applications that to avoid leaking through a very small hole in a pipe conveying a liquid
under high pressure can be sometimes more difficult than in the case of a bigger defect. A small corrosion hole in a pipe filled with
water at high pressure may possibly act similarly as a nozzle (high pressure water focused into a beam by a nozzle follows the same
principle of the narrow jets of water used as an industrial cutting device). The design of composite repairs must also take into account
the strength of the interface adhesion between composite and metal [22]. The flow of the fluid between the metal and composite
interface (debonding induced by the fluid flow) is a quite non-linear problem that will not be discussed in the present paper.
The main result is that the repair system can resist elevated pressures even with a through-wall defect. The effectiveness of the
repair depends on several factors such as the composite properties, thickness and length, the surface preparation, the adhesion
between the pipe and composite layers, etc.

Fig. 15. Specimen after the burst test.

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Fig. 16. Failure of the composite repair system.

Table 2
Failure pressure in the tests.

Test I Test II (i) Test II (ii) Test II (iii)

33.87 MPa 2.8 MPa 7.73 MPa 4.19 MPa

4. Conclusion

The use of polymer-based composite systems to repair metallic pipes with localized corrosion damage is becoming an econom-
ically interesting alternative in the oil industry. This study evaluated the effectiveness of such kind of repair in severely corroded
circumferential welds in super duplex stainless steel pipes. This kind special kind of pipe has been used in the offshore platforms
because of its high resistance to corrosion and good mechanical strength. However, if the welding parameters are not well controlled,
it is possible to occur significant corrosion damage at the pipe welds. Since these platforms are hydrocarbon atmospheres, any repair
method using equipment that may produce heat and/or sparkling is very complex and/or forbidden.
This problem can be eliminated through a better control of the welding process, but many kilometres of pipes assemblies already
have unexpected premature corrosion damage at the welds. The alternative raised on this study is to use polymer-based composite
system to repair and reinforce the corroded welds. Since metal loss generally starts in the inner surface of the pipe, it is suggested to
apply the composite glove systematically over the HAZ in circumferential welds as a precaution to assure that the pipe can operate
safely at least until the next planned maintenance stop, even if the case of through-thickness corrosion damage.
It was verified, both theoretically and experimentally, that, without the presence of bending moments, the pipe can operate under
pressure with high (circumferential) metal losses, and that the polymer-based composite system can effectively avoid leaking in the
case of through-thickness damage. The results show that this methodology can be used in weld joints presenting damage up to 80% of
the wall thickness and through-wall defects up to 50% of the perimeter of the pipe. Therefore, it can assure the pipe operation during

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the progression of the corrosion and also when the progression of the metal loss is so high that it became a through-thickness defect if
the reinforcement system is used as a preliminary and additional measure to protect the welds, it can maintain an adequate level of
mechanical strength for a given operating pressure and also can assure that the pipe won't leak until a planned maintenance shut-
down of the line.

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