Once upon a time the dent-gouge fracture model was developed by the then British Gas Corporation to estimate the burst pressure of a dent and gouge subject to internal pressure. The dent-gouge fracture model is based on a two-dimensional representation of a dent and gouge; it assumes an infinitely long, longitudinally-orientated gouge (a crack) at the base of infinitely long, longitudinally-orientated dent. The model was calibrated using the results of 109 ring tests and 23 vessel tests conducted by the British Gas Corporation; a dent was introduced and then a slot was machined in the base of the dent (all at zero pressure). It is a semi-empirical model. Part 12 of API 579-1/ASME FFS-1 2016 quotes the original dent-gouge fracture model.

A number of variations on the theme of the original dent-gouge fracture model have been developed. The variants have not significantly improved the accuracy of the original model, as is demonstrated by comparing the variants against the results of burst tests on rings and vessels containing a dent and gouge (or notch) reported in the published literature.

The dent-gouge fracture model is deconstructed in order to illustrate its component parts. The deconstruction clearly identifies the parts of the model that could be improved. It also highlights where semi-empiricism is embedded in the model. The effect of changes to the original model is illustrated using the results of the full-scale tests. The difficulties introduced by the scatter in the full-scale tests are discussed, noting that a number of different methods have been used to introduce the dent and gouge (or notch) into the ring or vessel. A factor of safety is proposed.

Pointers are given to how the dent-gouge fracture model might be improved or replaced. The need for a dent-gouge model is also considered, in the context of the guidance given in API Recommended Practice 1160 and ASME B31.8S.

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