Finite Element Analysis of Fatigue in Offshore Pipelines with Internal and External Circumferential Cracks

Ayodeji Olamide, Abdeldjalil Bennecer*, Stefan Kaczmarczyk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Fatigue lifetime of offshore pipelines with semi-elliptical circumferential surface cracks is often underestimated. An accurate prediction of the pipeline structural integrity is nevertheless important in order to prevent unnecessary and expensive downtime, failures leading to leakage or spillage of pipeline contents to the surrounding environment, and ultimately improve the reliability of the pipeline. The estimation of crack growth in pipelines under varying loads is highly dependent on the calculation of crack driving parameters, such as the stress intensity factor and the crack tip opening displacement (CTOD) using the 3D J-integral or its equivalent. This paper presents a numerical study to predict the fatigue lifetime of cracks in pipes, determining the J-integral that includes first and second derivatives of the displacement field for pipes containing a range of circumferential surface cracks. A pipe segment is structurally loaded and stress intensity factors (SIF) evaluated using the finite element method (FEM). Based on the results, a number-of-cycles to failure curve shows a longer lifetime than previously predicted by about 5% for a pipe with semi-elliptical external surface cracks. In addition, they indicate that the external short cracks are more dangerous than the internal long surface crack hereby requiring earlier assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-223
Number of pages31
JournalApplied Mechanics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2020


  • finite element method
  • J-Integral
  • stress intensity factor
  • circumfejavascript:void(0);rential surface crack
  • fatigue crack growth life
  • offshore pipeline


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