Ring expansion testing is one of the three accepted methods in API 5L for the measurement of yield strength for line pipe. The other two are flattened-strap tensile testing and round-bar tensile testing. A novel-concept ring expansion test machine has recently been commissioned which uses hydraulic pressure to clamp the top and bottom pressure-reacting plates rather than a traditional bolting arrangement. The benefit of hydraulic clamping is vastly reduced set-up times. This paper describes the design approach and the pitfalls that were overcome in commissioning the ring expansion test unit. Expansion measurements are taken using two different methods: a chain extensometer and an LVDT with a band wrapping the circumference of the pipe. Both approaches are used simultaneously to generate and compare two stress-strain curves for one pressure test. In addition, a 3-Point contact approach is developed to determine the hoop strain during pipe expansion. The 3-point contact approach is an attempt to infer the full hoop expansion behavior by measuring the radius change over a segment of the circumference. The device has two rollers which contact the pipe surface while a dial indicator midway between measures the radius change. As the pipe expands, the rollers maintain contact with the pipe surface while the dial indicator records the change in radius.

Tests are performed on HFI, SAWL, and SAWH pipes ranging in outer diameter from 20-inch (508 mm) to 48-inch (1219 mm) and wall thicknesses from 0.375-inch (9.5 mm) to 0.969-inch (24.4 mm). The differences in the stress-strain behavior of these pipe forms are described and related to the residual-stress profiles generated by their respective manufacturing operations. The comparison to flattened-strap and round-bar tensile results are presented in a companion paper.

The results of the 3-Point contact approach show that the radius change during early stages of expansion are not uniform around the pipe circumference and different patterns are observed in the HFI, SAWL, and SAWH pipe forms.

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