Pipeline in-line-inspections (ILI) are used to assess and track the integrity of pipelines, aiding in identifying a variety of features such as: metal loss, dents, out-of-roundness, cracks, etc. The presence of these features can negatively affect the operation, integrity, and remaining life of a pipeline. Proper interpretation of the impacts these features may have on a pipeline are crucial to maintaining the integrity of a pipeline. Several codes and publications exist to assess the severity of these features under known operating conditions, either through empirical formulations or more detailed analysis, in order to aid the operator in determining a corrective action plan. These empirical formulations are generally applicable to assess a singular defect but require a more detailed assessment to evaluate combined defects (i.e. dent in a bend). These detailed assessments typically require a higher level numerical simulation, such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA). This detailed FEA can be quite costly and time consuming to evaluate each set of combined features in a given ILI run. Thus, engineering judgement is critical in determining a worst-case scenario of a given feature set in order to prioritize assessment and corrective action.
This study aims to assess dent features (many associated with metal loss) occurring in a pipe bend to determine a worst-case scenario for prioritization of a given feature listing. FEA was used to simulate a field bend of a given radius and angle in order to account for residual stresses in the pipe bend. A rigid indenter was used to form a dent of the approximate length, width, and depth from the ILI data. Separate models were evaluated considering the dent occurring in the intrados, extrados, and neutral axis of the pipe bend to evaluate the worst-case scenario for further assessment. The resulting stresses in the pipe bend-dent geometry, under proper loading were compared to the same dent scenario in a straight pipe segment to develop a stress concentration factor (SCF). This SCF was used in the API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 Fitness for Service (API 579)  methodology to determine the impact on the remaining life of the combined features.