Skip to content

Fracture propagation control in onshore Australian natural gas pipelines.

Duivesteyn, Benjamin M.

Engineering Honours Degree 2009

University of Adelaide


Fracture control is the study of the propagation of brittle and ductile fractures in a pipeline and techniques of how to impede and arrest a propagating fracture. Fracture control is a new area of investigation in pipeline and facilities design, originating out of the need to better understand pipeline failure mechanisms.

Fracture control is applied in two distinct methods, a mathematical direction aiming to understand the underlying physics and a practical direction that introduces effective external measures of fracture control. Modern fracture control is primarily performed through a better understanding the conditions that do not allow a crack tip to continue to propagate, through applying statistical methods as a solution to a conceptual equation.

Maintaining the integrity a pipeline is a key factor to ensure a reliable economic supply, and to protect the environment from spillage. Fracture control currently exists as a set of design constraints to prevent the propagation of a fracture in a pipeline in all conditions. The resultant of effective fracture control has allowed a significant drop in the number of pipeline failures recorded around the world as compared to a generation ago before this idea had been implemented. The resultant of this field of research has lead to the implementation of these concepts into mandated pipeline design requirements worldwide.

Fracture control becomes increasingly important as global reliance on energy rises and as investors demand minimum costs for maximum project return on investment. As Australia develops and grows towards being a global leader in liquified natural gas, the transportation of natural gas across long distances across Australia is most effectively done through the use of pipelines. Fracture control allows Australia and its trade partners to benefit from a safer pipeline design and a more reliable energy supply.

Australian School of Petroleum



T: +61 8 8313 8000
F: +61 8 8313 8030