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Engineering Critical Assessment

Determining maximum allowable flaw size for known materials, in all construction and operating conditions

Welding fabrication codes specify maximum tolerable flaw sizes and minimum tolerable charpy energy levels, based on good workmanship. Achieving these standards however, does not ensure that a certain minimum risk tolerance has been obtained.

An ECA is an analysis, based on fracture mechanics principles, to determine if a given material (with known properties) with certain flaw characteristics can resist growth from fracture, fatigue, creep or plastic collapse under specified loading conditions. 

Applus RTD ECA can be used to:

  • Assist in the choice of welding procedure and/or inspection technique during the design phase of an installation
  • Assess the significance of:
    •  Known defects that are unacceptable for the given fabrication code
    •  A failure to meet the toughness requirements of a fabrication code
  • Assess flaws found in–service and decision-making regarding their disposition (safely remain, down rate component/repair required)

Examples of where ECA has been applied include:

  1. Dynamic riser systems, which are fatigue-sensitive structures
  2. Steel Catenary Risers, which are also fatigue-sensitive structures
  3. Time-sensitive onshore and offshore pipeline construction projects where high productivity welding processes and Automated Ultrasonic Testing (AUT) weld quality testing is applied

The application of ECA requires a multi disciplinary team and hinges on three parameters:

  1. Stresses acting on the region of the flaw
  2. Size, Position and orientation of the flaw
  3. Toughness and tensile properties in the region of the flaw

Applus RTD offers specialized capabilities in all three areas.

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