Pipeline research at the University of Alberta covers a wide range of experimental and numerical research work. The research projects conducted by the Structure group include laboratory testing and computer numerical modelling. Dr. Cheng and Dr. Adeeb always seek to broaden the knowledge by introducing new technologies into the research field and cover the industry needs through research.

The Structures group has a long track record of research on strain based design of pipelines including both compressive and tensile strain capacity. On the compressive strain capacity, our lab has conducted numerous experiments on the buckling response of pipelines. For the tensile strain capacity, various full-scale and small-scale testing are conducted at the I.F. Morrison structural Engineering laboratory to investigate the tensile strain capacity of vintage pipes with girth weld flaws under the effect of internal pressure. The tensile and fracture properties of the tested pipes are measured by conducting small-scale tension tests and Charpy V-notch tests. After testing the pipes, failure analysis is conducted on each sample to obtain a better understanding of the material behaviour at the crack location. You can watch two of our full scale tests here:

Our structures group applies our rigorous numerical modelling approaches to various problems in pipelines. For example, one of our projects investigated the effect of internal pressure and bending moment on the stress distribution on pipe bends. The tendency of the pipe bends to straighten out and ovalize under the effect of internal pressure and bending is currently one of the major topics of study at the University of Alberta in collaboration with TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. This tendency to straighten out is termed the “Bourdon effect” which leads to an unaccounted for increase in the stresses. Our group is working on a new proposed modelling approach that considered the Bourdon effect and Ovalization of pipe bends. The new proposed factor and proposed modelling approach are of significant benefit to pipeline industry since it facilitates the design and maintains a safer environment. The following video illustrates the Bourdon and ovalization effect.