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TWI welcomes new pressure testing facility

Published by
World Pipelines,

TWI Industrial Members have a new supplier for pressure testing. Along with TWI’s capabilities in project management, welding, specimen preparation, strain gauging, testing, fracture testing and resonance fatigue testing, the addition of a new purpose-built containment facility will allow the organisation to provide a one-stop shop for full-scale component testing.

The need for tests of pressure-containing equipment – such as pipelines, risers and pressure vessels – is growing. These components are subject to complex loading conditions during their lifetimes. They require specialised testing facilities that can accurately reproduce the environment in which they operate.

While the results of small-scale tests can be extrapolated to some extent in order to predict the behaviour of larger components, this method tends to fail to satisfy the safety concerns of oil and gas companies who require the level of assurance that only full-scale tests can provide.

In response to this requirement, TWI designed, built and commissioned a new pressure containment facility. This allows large components to be subject to high internal and/or external pressure, in combination with axial or bending loads. The facility is now available for use.

The new facility is designed to safely apply axial tensile or compressive loads of up to 1500 t (static) and 500 t (cyclic), and vertical loads on each of the cross beams up to 1000 t (static). Test fixtures can be designed. This allows combined loads (axial plus bending) to be applied to components. During all of these load scenarios, internal pressures up to 2000 bar (29 000 psi), or external pressures up to 1000 bar (14 500 psi) can be applied to specimens inside the facility.

Applications for the pressure pit include:

  • Undertaking large, full-scale tests of components with internal water pressure to check for leak tightness and/or determine burst pressure.
  • Performing proof of concept tests on new component design.
  • Testing new connector designs alongside the requirements in ISO 13628-7 Annex I or API 17G.
  • Carrying out bend tests on components containing internal water pressure of up to 29 000 psi.
  • Testing components under axial loads (static or cyclic) whilst containing internal water pressure.

The facility is fully serviced by an overhead crane with two hooks of 5 t each. There are video cameras in the pit so that tests can be viewed remotely as they take place.

Pressure testing at a glance:

  • Dimensions: 3.7 m x 3.45 m x 13.5 m.
  • 1500 t tensile or compressive axial static loads.
  • 500 t tensile or compressive axial cyclic loads.
  • 1000 t vertical load on cross beams.
  • Up to 2000 bar internal water pressure.
  • Up to 1000 bar external water pressure.
  • Lifting capacity of 10 t.
  • Remote viewing via video camera.

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