Hudson Ward

B.Sc. Candidate

Civil Engineering

Queen's University

Summer 2021 

Supervisor(s): Ana da Silva

Research Project: Assessment of vortex-induced vibration failure risk of exposed pipelines in rivers

Within Canada there is over 840,000 km of oil and gas pipelines which are critical to the Canadian economy, and whose failure can have significant economic and environmental impacts. It is essential to ensure the integrity of these systems. Many pipelines cross rivers, with river scour being a significant hazard for pipelines in Canada. This scour often results in the exposure of a buried pipeline, and if it leads to a free spanning pipeline, then this may fail due to fatigue caused by vortex induced vibration (VIV). At present there is a lack of procedures to assess the risk of VIV induced by river scour. Hudson’s project addresses this need and its primary objective is to develop physically based formulations to predict if the pipelines are at risk of becoming exposed and if VIV failure is likely to occur. The research involves novel laboratory experiments and numerical tests. The experiments will enable the observation of the process of exposure of buried pipelines, and constitute benchmark cases for the validation of FLOW-3D. The results will be used to develop an updated procedure for determining the depth of scour beneath a pipeline, ultimate free-span length and propagation rate for different flow conditions.