SwRI Designs & Builds Deepwater Simulator for Collapse Testing

A new deepwater ocean simulator, capable of attaining 20,000 psig pressure, is now available for testing services at Southwest Research Institute. The cylindrical simulator was designed, fabricated and built by SwRI in accordance with Section VIII-Division 08 rules of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.

The chamber measures 120 inches (inside length), with an inside diameter of 15 inches and a wall thickness of approximately 8 inches. Forging for the chamber is constructed of SA-508-Grade 4N Class 2 material, which has a tensile strength of 100,000 psig.

The simulator will be used primarily for collapse testing of oil-country tubular goods, flexible hose assemblies, and other items for subsea use that require verification testing and proof testing to depths as great as 25,000 feet. Currently the simulator is being used for the DEA-130 program, a joint industry initiative of the Drilling Engineering Association to test, compile, analyze and distribute information regarding oil-country tubular goods.

"The new simulator expands the Institute's current capabilities and will help tubular manufacturers meet the demands placed on them for higher strength pipe to reach depths in excess of 10,000 feet," says Jessie Ramon, manager of the Test and Evaluation Section in SwRI's Mechanical and Materials Engineering Division.

According to Ramon, SwRI can now test API specification pipe with an outside diameter of up to 13-5/8 inches and test lengths of 109 inches to pressures up to 20,000 psig or collapse, whichever occurs first.

"Previously our capabilities were limited to testing tubular goods of this size to only 10,000 psig, with lengths limited to 94 inches. The testing performed at SwRI in the new simulator will provide more meaningful collapse data to tubular manufacturers and oil companies," he adds.