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Title: Effects of welding parameters on the integrity and structure of HDPE pipe butt fusion welds
Authors: Shaheer, Muhammad
Advisors: Song, J. H.
Wang, Bin
Keywords: High density polyethylene pipe;Butt fusion welding;Mechanical testing;Nanoindentation;Weld microstructure
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: Butt fusion welding process is an extensively used method of joining for high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe. With the increasing number of HDPE resin and pipe manufacturers and the diversity of industries utilising HDPE pipes, a wide range of different standards have evolved to specify the butt fusion welding parameters with inspection and testing methods, to maintain quality and structural integrity of welds. There is a lack of understanding and cohesion in these standards for the selection of welding parameters; effectiveness, accuracy, and selection of the test methods and; correlation of the mechanical properties to the micro and macro joint structure. The common standards (WIS 4-32-08, DVS 2207-1, ASTM F2620, and ISO 21307) for butt fusion welding were used to derive the six welding procedures. A total of 48 welds were produced using 180 mm outer diameter SDR 11 HDPE pipe manufactured from BorSafe™ HE3490-LS black bimodal PE100 resin. Three short term coupon mechanical tests were conducted. The waisted tensile test was able to differentiate the quality of welds using the energy to break parameter. The tensile impact test due to specimen geometry caused the failure to occur in the parent material. The guided side bend specimen geometry proved to be too ductile to be able to cause failures. A statistical t-test was used to analyse the results of the short term mechanical tests. The circumferential positon of the test specimen had no impact on their performance. Finite element analysis (FEA) study was conducted for the long term whole pipe tensile creep rupture (WPTCR) test to find the minimum length of pipe required for testing based on pipe geometry parameters of outer diameter and SDR. Macrographs of the weld beads supplemented with heat treatment were used to derive several weld bead parameters. The FEA modelling of the weld bead parameters identified the length to be a key parameter and provided insight into the relationship between the geometry of the weld beads and the stresses in the weld region. The realistic bead geometry digitised using the macrographs contributed a 30% increase in pipe wall stress due to the stress concentration effect of the notches formed between the weld beads and the pipe wall. The circumferential position of the weld bead had no impact on the pipe wall stresses in a similar manner to the results of the different mechanical tests. IV Nanoindentation (NI) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) techniques were used to study the weld microstructure and variation of mechanical properties across the weld at the resolutions of 100 and 50 microns, respectively. NI revealed signature ‘twin-peaks and a valley’ distribution of hardness and elastic modulus across the weld. The degrees of crystallinity obtained from DSC followed the NI pattern as crystallinity positively correlates with the material properties. Both techniques confirm annealing of the heat affected zone (HAZ) material towards the MZ from the parent material. The transmission light microscopy (TLM) was used to provide dimensions of the melt zone (MZ) which displays an hour glass figure widening to the size of the weld bead root length towards the pipe surfaces. Thermal FEA modelling was validated using both NI and TLM data to predict the HAZ size. The HAZ-parent boundary temperature was calculated to be 105 ⁰C. The 1st contribution of the study is to prove the existence of a positive correlation between the heat input calculated from FEA and the energy to break values obtained from the waisted tensile test. The 2nd contribution providing the minimum length of pipe for WPTCR based on the pipe dimensions. The 3rd contribution is the recommendation for the waisted tensile test with the test using the geometry designed to minimise deformation of the loading pin holes. The 4th contribution related the weld bead parameters to pipe wall stresses and the effect of notches as stress concentrators. The 5th contribution is a new method of visualising a welding procedure that can be used to not only compare the welding procedures but also predict the size of the MZ and the HAZ. The 6th contribution of the study is the proposal of new weld bead geometry that consist of the MZ bounded by the HAZ, for butt fusion welded joints of HDPE pipes.
Description: Doctor of Philosophy
Appears in Collections:Dept of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Theses

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