Importance of Fatigue Testing for Oil & Gas Industry

Fatigue is a process of continuous accumulation of stresses in the component undergoing cyclic loads and eventually leading to failure. The primary feature of fatigue failure is that it is not a sudden failure, but a failure experienced after a certain number of cycles under cyclic conditions. Hence, fatigue analysis services are important in engineering to determine whether an engineering component undergoing cycling loading or stress pattern is susceptible to damage initiation and fatigue failure. Fatigue is a major problem in Oil and gas industry since over 90 percent of mechanical failures occur due to fatigue failure.
Fatigue failure can happen due to various reasons such as residual stresses, flow pressures, exposure to aggressive environments such as ocean waves, corrosive environments due to electrochemical reactions, temperature elevations, and various other reasons. Many of the structures and materials are thoroughly tested for fatigue failure such as using Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) to identify initiation and propagation of cracks. Fatigue testing for oil and gas industries in a laboratory involves replicating the exact mechanical effects faced by the materials on site. The testing involves replicating the force and strain as close as possible to the actual situation and studying various forms of failure such as crack development and cycles to failure. However, with laboratory environments, only a limited number of test cases can be replicated and studied and it is very expensive to perform fatigue testing on massive structures. Therefore, advanced methods such as fatigue analysis using FEA have been used to produce reliable results for predicting fatigue failures in components.

FEA analysis services involve accurate modeling and simulating how components can be impacted due to extreme temperatures and pressures, particular stresses, and aggressive chemical environments. FEA analysis services enable fea consultants to simulate the exact environments to which the material is exposed and find out how cracks are developed or stress form over time which inadvertently leads to failure of the structure. FEA analysis services produce a picture of the complete system providing the engineers with failure risks as well as listing the number of cycles beyond which the material has a higher probability to fail. This allows fea consultants and designers to design the system in a better manner minimizing the chance of failure in the oil and gas industry. Another benefit of using FEA analysis services is the minimum requirement for prototyping the structure and testing in the laboratory which may lead to long delays especially during the manufacturing of structures such as pipes or offshores steel structures.

FEA analysis services further consist of specialized fatigue analysis services which are mainly focused on providing analysis for activities such as corrosion fatigue, fracture toughness testing, slow strain rate, and material non-linearity. The fatigue analysis services use fea methods in testing the materials for corrosion and development of high temperature and pressure in the structure and finding the number of cycles that would finally lead to failure. Fatigue analysis services have even gone beyond by considering various advanced analysis such as fluid-structure interactions (FSI), flow-induced vibrations such as flow-through pipes, and material resonance response which leads to massive cyclic vibrations in the structure leading to fatigue failure. These analyses eventually lead to design changes such as adding more stiffeners or braces to the systems, supports, or even optimizing the material for increasing the number of cycles to failure.

Drilling tools design is one of the primary areas where a lot of fatigue analysis services are considered. Drilling is one of the costliest and riskiest activities in the oil and gas industry due to the complexity involved with downhole formations. Cyclic loads while drilling lead to initiation and growth in cracks which finally leads to failure of the tools. The failure modes are based on fatigue damage occurring on the surface of the drill and threads. Using fatigue analysis services, we can model the axial and the bending stresses along with high-temperature points on the drill. This enables to exactly find out when the drill will fail due to the stresses as well the problems that might be caused due to corrosion of the drill. The fatigue life of the drill under different stress conditions can be analyzed and an appropriate design for the drill can be suggested based on the analysis reports and simulations.

Various fea companies offer fea consulting for the oil and gas industries for tasks such as stress and fatigue assessment based on ASME, ANSI, API, and various other standards. The fea companies allow the oil and gas sector to evaluate their designs before manufacturing and avoiding any accidents due to fatigue failure during operations. These fea companies reduce the downtime related to oil and gas companies which is one of the utmost criteria for untroubled functional efficiency. Another advantage the fea companies provide is a quick assessment of any modifications or any advancements in the oil and gas industry. Any material or structural changes can quickly be done, checked, and approved by these fea companies with proper reports on the short-term and long-term effects of these changes.

Finally, the advantage of fatigue analysis services and fea analysis services prove to innumerable. FEA as a tool not only helps the Oil and Gas industry save money, time, and resources but also helps in the development of complicated parts and assemblies for the future. Oil and Gas can seek the help of FEA companies and FEA consulting to maximize the return on investment and be beneficial overall as a long-term process.