Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

John D. Landes

Committee Members

J.A.M. Boulet, David C. Joy, S. Andy Sarles


Continuous growth in energy demand is driving oil and natural gas production to areas that are often located far from major markets where the terrain is prone to earthquakes, landslides, and other types of ground motion. Transmission pipelines that cross this type of terrain can experience large longitudinal strains and plastic circumferential elongation as the pipeline experiences alignment changes resulting from differential ground movement. Such displacements can potentially impact pipeline safety by adversely affecting structural capacity and leak tight integrity of the linepipe steel.

Planning for new long-distance transmission pipelines usually involves consideration of higher strength linepipe steels because their use allows pipeline operators to reduce the overall cost of pipeline construction and increase pipeline throughput by increasing the operating pressure. The design trend for new pipelines in areas prone to ground movement has evolved over the last 10 years from a stress-based design approach to a strain-based design (SBD) approach to further realize the cost benefits from using higher strength linepipe steels.

This report presents an overview of SBD for pipelines subjected to large longitudinal strain and high internal pressure with emphasis on the tensile strain capacity of high-strength microalloyed linepipe steel. The technical basis for this report involved engineering analysis and examination of the mechanical behavior of Grade X80 linepipe steel in both the longitudinal and circumferential directions. Testing was conducted to assess effects on material processing including as-rolled, expanded, and heat‑treatment processing intended to simulate coating application. Elastic-plastic and low-cycle fatigue analyses were also performed with varying internal pressures. Proposed SBD models discussed in this report are based on classical plasticity theory and account for material anisotropy, triaxial strain, and microstructural damage effects developed from test data. The study results are intended to enhance SBD and analysis methods for producing safe and cost effective pipelines capable of accommodating large plastic strains in seismically active arctic areas.

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