Any catastrophic rupture scenarios of a steel pipe should be taken into considerations in the design and during the maintenance stage as the loss-of-containment may be accompanied by either property damage or fatal accidents. Ductile fracture of wrinkled (buckled) steel pipes on the tensile side of the cross-section is studied in this research as the most plausible case of ultimate failure for pressurized buried pipelines being subjected to monotonically increasing curvature. The results from two full-scale bending tests on X80 line pipe specimens that are pressurized up to 60% of specified minimum yield strength (SMYS) are considered as an input for the current study. The specimens possess the same dimensions and are made of X80 steel grade with different yield strength to tensile strength ratios (Y/T) of 90% and 83%. The specimen with higher Y/T ratio ruptured on the tensile side of the cross-section while experiencing post-buckling deformations. However, the specimen with lower Y/T ratio was unloaded after the formation of the local buckling.
Finite element analysis (FEA) of the full-scale tests were conducted and verified using the experimental data. The power law is calibrated to model the post-necking plasticity of steel using material test data, and, cumulative fracture criterion in conjunction with general fracture strain locus for the pipelines’ high-strength steel is implemented to predict the ductile fracture initiation in the pipe's wall. It is shown that the FE model accurately reproduces the load-displacement response and final rupture of the specimen with the higher Y/T ratio. For the other specimen, numerical simulation shows no rupture until the inner surface of the buckle comes into contact with itself which reveals that the lower Y/T ratio reduces the chance of rupture. Further numerical studies postulate that both Y/T ratio and internal pressure have a coupled effect on the rupture of wrinkled pipes and play a key role in triggering that kind of failure. That is, higher values of Y/T ratio and internal pressure increases the probability of the rupture of wrinkled pipes.