Major Threats to Pipeline Integrity

Pipelines face wear and tear from a variety of sources: corrosion, chemicals, pressure, manufacturing errors, they can even be damaged while they are being transported to construction sites. These threats weaken pipelines and significantly shorten their lifespan. It’s important that organizations take preventative actions to ensure their pipelines remain viable and safe. PICA Corp. wants you to learn more about three major threats that your pipelines endure.

Threat #1 – Corrosion

Internal Corrosion: Pipelines are vulnerable to internal corrosion from the materials they transport. Many carry liquids and gasses that are hazardous and corrosive and this degrades the surface of the metal. Highly pressurized pipelines are also susceptible to hoop stress failures as well.

External Corrosion: External corrosion of a pipeline is caused by the environment outside of the pipe. The acidity and moisture content of the soil can be major culprits in degrading the metal.

Threat #2 – Metal Fatigue and Creep

Metal fatigue causes damage to a pipeline over time when it’s stressed by a heavy weight being placed on the metal. Underground pipelines are especially susceptible to metal fatigue because of the weight of the soil and/or anchor blocks on top of them. Creep is the deformation of a pipeline when it’s exposed to elevated heat for long periods of time. PICA commonly sees this in heat exchangers and boilers. Metal fatigue and creep are more common in pipelines that transport steam and other hot liquids under pressure. This can weaken the integrity of the pipeline as it ages, and can cause pipeline failures if not detected and repaired.

Threat #3 – Manufacturing Defects and Transportation Damage

Your pipeline may be at risk of failure before it is even installed and put into operation because of manufacturing defects or damage sustained while in transport. Flaws in the pipeline can occur by improper processing of the metal or welding defects during its initial construction. The handling of the pipe during transportation may cause dents or buckling which compromise the pipeline. Handling can also cause holidays in the coatings leading to accelerated corrosion where bare metal is exposed.

Pipelines are exposed to threats every day. As a pipeline ages, PICA Corp. can conduct inspections to monitor and detect the impact of this wear and tear and determine if repairs are needed. Call us at (780) 469-4463 or contact us by e-mail: [email protected] to schedule your pipeline analysis today.