Oil exploration pipelines primarily transport fluids such as oil, gases and water. Along with the fluids, suspended particles are transported that end up impacting the walls of the ducts, especially in the junctions called cross-blocks. Due to the peculiarities of the fluids associated with high pressure and flow, the walls of the pipelines end up being eroded during the process. This phenomenon can limit component life and require maintenance inspections to ensure safe operation. If the fluid in the pipelines were just water, the particle impact regions would be easier to predict. But since oil is a non-Newtonian fluid, a flow solution tool like Metacomp Technologies' CFD++ is needed to analyze erosion and critical wall shrinkage points in three dimensions.
ATS has developed an erosion rate calculation methodology based on specialized literature, which has been validated with experimental data. Basically, the impact angle and velocity calculated with CFD++ are considered, and the erosion rate is post-processed with Tecplot 360 through automation macros. This methodology was approved by The Constellation, Halliburton and CENPES, the Petrobras research center.
Through Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI) it is possible to observe whether pipelines and joints are able to withstand high pressures after years of erosion. ATS performs the analysis with the aid of CFD++ and FEMAP-Nastran software. Both have high reliability when working in a coupled mode and provide results very close to real phenomena. For years, ATS has improved the analysis methodology and worked on validating the results, comparing them to established scientific articles and in tests developed by clients, always with results considered excellent.
Through the FSI analysis, it was possible to demonstrate that conventional analyzes that take into account average velocity for the erosion calculation, can be ultra-conservative and often do not provide an identification of how to improve the most suitable geometry or material. The ATS calculation followed the erosion rate variation during the component's life, considering 5, 10 and 20 years of operation.
By carrying out these activities together with our customers, we guarantee experience in developing fluid-structure studies complying with the criteria of ASME VIII - Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code and ANSI/API Specification 6A.
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