Key Design Variables Responsible for the Rupture of Buckled Pipes

Rahbari, Nima Mohajer (University of Alberta) | Cheng, J.J. Roger (University of Alberta) | Adeeb, Samer (University of Alberta)


A rupture of buckled steel pipes on the tensile side of a cross-section is studied in this paper as the most plausible case of ultimate failure for the pressurized buried pipelines under monotonically increasing curvature. Finite element simulation of full-scale bending tests on two pressurized X80 pipes with different yield-to-tensile strength (Y/T) ratios were conducted. The Y/T ratio and internal pressure were identified as the crucial factors that have a coupled effect on the ultimate failure mode of buckled pipes. That is, the high values of Y/T ratio and internal pressure mutually trigger the rupture of buckled pipes on the opposite side of the wrinkling.


Steel pipelines are so ductile and can accommodate a large amount of post-buckling deformations while preserving their operational safety and structural integrity. To benefit from this outstanding quality and prevent the buckled (wrinkled) pipelines from premature rupture, the postbuckling behavior of the steel pipes should be well understood.

Rupture is one of the major failure limits to the integrity of pipelines that endangers the environment as well as the public safety and property. Comprehensive experimental and numerical studies on the fracture of buckled steel pipes (Das, 2003; Sen, 2006; Mohajer Rahbari, 2017) show that under increased monotonic curvature, successive buckles (wrinkling) are formed on the compressive side of the wall, and the occurrence of rupture at the wrinkling location is unlikely because of the ductile nature of steel material. Rupture of wrinkling can occur once buried pipelines are subject to a very rare and changing boundary conditions accompanied by extremely large plastic deformations toward tearing the wrinkled wall (Ahmed, 2011). However, experiments have shown that the increasing curvature can easily trigger the postbuckling rupture of the tensile wall on the opposite side of the wrinkling (Sen, 2006; Mitsuya et al., 2008; Tajika and Suzuki, 2009; Igi et al., 2011; Tajika et al., 2011; Mitsuya and Motohashi, 2013; Mitsuya and Sakanoue, 2015). This mode of failure seems very likely to be the rupture limit of the wrinkled pipes, as it occurs following the same regime of monotonic bending deformations that have previously made the pipe buckle.