The use of high strength, high design-factor pipe to transport natural gas requires the careful design and selection of pipeline materials. A primary material concern is the characterization and control of ductile fracture initiation and arrest. Impact toughness in the form of Charpy V-notch energies or drop-weight tear tests is usually specified in the design and purchase of line pipe in order to prevent large-scale fracture. While minimum values are prescribed in various codes, they may not offer sufficient protection in pipelines with high pressure, cold temperature, rich gas designs. The implications of the crack driving force arising from the gas decompression versus the resisting force of the pipe material and backfill are examined. The use and limitations of the Battelle two-curve method as the standard model are compared with new developments utilizing crack-tip opening angle and other techniques. The methodology and reasoning used to specify the material properties for line pipe are described and the inherent limits and risks are discussed. The applicability of Charpy energy to predict ductile arrest in high strength pipes (X80 and above) is examined.

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