Hydrogen is known to have a negative effect on the ability of steel pipe materials to tolerate defects, but until now, this has only been studied through small-scale laboratory tests. By adopting a full-scale testing approach, it is possible to reproduce real geometric and operational conditions and ascertain the true effect of hydrogen on the structural integrity resistance of pipelines.
To fill this gap, RINA designed and built a full-scale test rig at its test facility in Sardinia, Italy, located within a military firing range where burst tests are carried out.
The site provides the highest levels of safety and security required when handling hydrogen gas at high pressure, and the results of the test could include the leak or even rupture of the component under test.
The aim of this test is to reproduce the harshest conditions that future H2 gas pipelines might face. Line pipe sections are welded together as in a real pipeline, and materials and welding defects are purposely introduced into the full-scale sample.
This is only the first test; a second one has already been planned and will be performed in the coming months.
The project is executed for the European Pipeline Research Group (EPRG), a world-leading association of European pipe manufacturers, pipeline operators, installation contractors, and service providing companies.
The project results will be used to develop structural integrity approaches for future H2 pipeline standards.