This case study exhibits how groundbreaking inspection methodologies combined with innovative computational analysis practices demonstrate the value of conducting fitness-for-service (FFS) assessments on sectional piping. In this instance, a fitness-for-service assessment was performed on two sections of piping experiencing external corrosion at the pipe-to-elbow seam welds.
A full external scan and spot ultrasonic thickness (UT) readings were used to create the corroded geometry and verify accurate measurement of the remaining thicknesses in various corroded locations. This allowed for the actual corroded profiles to be accurately modeled using finite element analysis (FEA).
Complications were present when modeling the observed metal loss. Through the use of innovative finite element mesh generation practices, the actual measured corroded geometry was modeled without the need for over-conservative geometric simplification. A Level 3 FFS assessment was then performed in addition to a remaining life assessment based on observed corrosion rates. The result of this analysis was that the piping could remain in service for at least two additional years before needing repair.