Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 66–74 | Cite as

Investigation and Recommendations on Bottom-Dented Petroleum Pipelines

  • Erik Mueller
  • Xiaohu Liu
  • Ravindra Chhatre
  • Adrienne Lamm
Technical Article --- Peer Reviewed


On September 21, 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board responded to a petroleum leak from a transmission pipeline in Centreville, VA. A small through crack was found leaking at a dent on the underside of the pipe, located away from any welds. The investigation found that corrosion fatigue could initiate at small dents, typically caused by impingement. While top-side dents from excavation and servicing have well-been documented and regulated, bottom-side dents, deemed acceptable per regulations, were found to be susceptible to stress corrosion and fatigue cracking. This investigation explored multiple and fundamental aspects of cracking in steel pipe dents, including nondestructive inspection, electron microscopy, finite element modeling, and long-term cyclic loading tests to characterize the cause of this pipeline accident.


Pipeline Corrosion fatigue NNpHSCC Dent Fatigue cracking 



In accordance with Title 5 Code of Federal Regulations §2635.807(b)(2), the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the National Transportation Safety Board or the USA. The authors would like to thank Sanjay Tiku, Aaron Dinovitzer, and all those at BMT Fleet Technology, Ltd., for their invaluable assistance in this investigation. The authors would also like to thank Drew Lohoff, Mark Piazza, and Robert Zmud in their assistance, cooperation, and coordination during this investigation.


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik Mueller
    • 1
  • Xiaohu Liu
    • 2
  • Ravindra Chhatre
    • 3
  • Adrienne Lamm
    • 1
  1. 1.Materials Laboratory DivisionNTSBWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Vehicle Performance DivisionNTSBWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Pipeline and Hazardous Materials DivisionNTSBWashingtonUSA

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