Energies, Vol. 11, Pages 2818: Finite Element Analysis to the Effect of Thermo-Mechanical Loads on Stress Distribution in Buried Polyethylene Gas Pipes Jointed by Electrofusion Sockets, Repaired by PE Patches (Energies)
Polyethylene (PE) gas pipes can be jointed together by electrofusion PE fittings, which have sockets that are fused onto the pipe. Additionally, electrofused PE patches can be used to repair defected pipes. When these pipelines are buried under the ground, they can experience sever local stresses due to the presence of pipe joints, which is superimposed on the other effects including the soil-structure interaction, traffic load, soil’s column weight, a uniform internal pressure, and thermal loads imposed by daily and/or seasonal temperature changes. The present contribution includes two cases. At first, stress variations in buried polyethylene gas pipe and its socket due to the aforementioned loading condition is estimated using finite element. The pipe is assumed to be made of PE80 material and its jointing socket material is PE100. Afterward, the effects of aforementioned thermo-mechanical loads on the stress distribution in patch repaired buried pipes are well investigated. The soil physical properties and the underground polyethylene pipe installation method are based on the American association of state highway and transportation officials and American society for testing and material standards. The computer simulation and analysis of stresses are performed through the finite element package of ANSYS Software. Stress concentrations can be observed in both components due to the presence of the socket or the repair patch. According to the results, the electrofusion sockets can be used for joining PE gas pipes even in hot climate areas. The maximum values of these stresses happen to be in the pipe. Also, the PE100 socket is more sensitive to a temperature drop. Additionally, all four studied patch arrangements show significant reinforcing effects on the defected section of the buried PE gas pipe to withstand applied loads. Meanwhile, the defected buried medium density polyethylene (MDPE) gas pipe and its saddle fused patch can resist the imposed mechanical and thermal loads of +22 °C temperature increase.