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Fatigue Testing of Shrink-Fit Couplings for Joining High-Strength-Steel Riser Pipe

The shrink-fit connection is a method of joining pipes to couplings or flanges by thermally expanding the coupling or flange over the pipe; sealing and static capacity are achieved by the contact pressure and friction between the components once they have cooled. This method enables the manufacture of high-pressure deepwater riser systems when traditional pipe-join methods are not feasible. A program was devised to test the manufacturability of shrink-fit joints made from high-strength (greater than 100 ksi) mill pipe and forged couplings.

Introduction

The objective of the project was to qualify the shrink-fit technology to project-ready status—any further testing on the connector would be for project qualification rather than further development. This development project involved two stages: (1) proving the feasibility of machining and assembly from seamless pipe and (2) hydrostatic and resonant fatigue testing of shrink-fit connections.

Six specimens were manufactured to demonstrate that pressure containment is maintained for maximum working pressures and hydrotest pressures, while target fatigue life is achievable without loss of pressure integrity in the connection. Before testing, a finite-element model was used to address residual shrink-fit stresses, safe hydrotest pressure, predicted connection-fatigue response, and the choice of internal pressure for fatigue testing.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper OTC 24069, “Fatigue Testing of Shrink-Fit Couplings for Joining High-Strength-Steel Riser Pipe,” by J. Shield and J. Wightman, Subsea Riser Products; J. Pappas, RPSEA; and J. Bowman, Chevron, prepared for the 2013 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 6–9 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2013 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
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Fatigue Testing of Shrink-Fit Couplings for Joining High-Strength-Steel Riser Pipe

01 August 2013

Volume: 65 | Issue: 8

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