Various industry efforts are underway to improve or develop new methods to address the design of pipelines in harsh arctic or seismically active regions. Reliable characterization of tensile strain capacity of welded pipelines is a key issue in development of strain-based design methodologies. Recently, improved FEA-based approaches for prediction of tensile strain capacity have been developed. However, these FEA-based approaches require complex, computationally intensive modeling and analyses. Parametric studies can provide an approach towards developing practical, efficient methods for strain capacity prediction. This paper presents closed-form, simplified strain capacity equations developed through a large-scale 3D FEA-based parametric study for welded pipelines. A non-dimensional parameter is presented to relate the influence of flaw and pipe geometry parameters to tensile strain capacity. The required input parameters, their limits of applicability and simplified equations for tensile strain capacity are presented. The equations are validated through a comprehensive full-scale test program to measure the strain capacity of pressurized pipelines spanning a range of pipe grades, thickness, weld overmatch and misalignment levels. It is shown that the current simplified equations can be used for appropriate specification of weld and pipe materials properties, design concept selection and the design of full-scale tests for strain-based design qualification. The equations can also provide the basis for codified strain-based design engineering critical assessment procedures for welded pipelines.

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