The following is an excerpt.

MSc students Magnus Pjaaka Torp and Håkon Frydenberg study polymeric coated pipelines and their ability to withstand sudden impact.

Two students, Magnus Pjaaka Torp and Håkon Frydenberg in lab
Students Magnus Pjaaka Torp (left) and Håkon Frydenberg are well into the preparations for their MSc thesis. (Photos: Sølvi W. Normannsen).

It is one early February morning.  Four floors underground in the Natural Sciences Building of NTNU. MSc students Magnus Pjaaka Torp and Haakon Frydenberg are introduced to NTNU´s X-Ray MicroCT (XRMCT) machine. The two of them are among the crowd of MSc students set out to work at SIMLab and SFI CASA this spring.
There is a box on a table, filled with carefully labelled polymer specimens. In the hours to come, each and one of them will be thoroughly scanned in the impressive device that occupies much of the space in the room.

«Earlier, we have performed some mechanical tests, but working with CT-scans is completely new to me. I am very excited to see whether – and how- we can apply the data from the scans in our thesis», Magnus Pjaaka Torp says. 
He and Frydenberg are among the 18 fresh M.Sc.-students that now swarm around in the corridors and home-grounds of SIMLab and SFI CASA. They collaborate on a thesis titled «Impact on Coated Pipelines», under the supervision of Professor Tore Børvik. Their aim is to model the behaviour of the pipelines when they are subjected to impact. Such simulation tools are essential for decision support in the offshore industry. In the event of potential pipeline damage, simulations are needed for damage assessment evaluations.

See the full list of Master´s students spring 2020

«As physical testing is time-consuming and expensive, more and more tests are performed virtually», the students explain. The primary task of the polymer coating is for thermal insulation and to protect the pipelines from corrosion. In addition to threats posed by the ambient seawater environment, the pipes are also at risk of impact from fishing trawls or anchors. Thus, they also have to be designed to sustain possible impact events. The students will study a beneficial side effect of the coating solutions, namely that they also contribute to protecting the pipeline physically.

The CT-device deep down in the basement is supposed to provide them with 3D images of the complex macroscopic porous morphology of the pipelines´ polymer coating. Later, they will subject samples of the polymer to quasi-static loadings in the test facilities at SIMLab. The main intention is to identify the potential difference in behaviour between polyurethane and polypropylene coated pipelines.
The setup inside the machine and the scanning process is carefully surveilled by PhD candidate Ole Vestrum. He will defend his thesis at the end of March. The title is «Impact on Porous polymer-coated pipelines». Now, the work of the two master students is a follow-up on his work.

«Luckily, with a few adjustments, we can use the same methods as Vestrum developed. Our task is to use the same framework to test the mechanical properties of a new type of coating», they explain.
Haakon Frydenberg states that studies like this are essential, both economically, for safety and for the environment.
«This is inspiring work», states the 25 year- old M.Sc.-student.  He has already signed up for a graduate position at Equinor, a long-time partner of SFI CASA. Magnus Pjaaka Torp, also 25, has accepted a position as an adviser at another of CASA´s partners: The Norwegian Defence Estates Agency.
Both of them feel well taken care of, both by their supervisors at SIMLab and their future employers.

Before testing, the students have to perform X-ray micro-computed tomography (XRMCT) to reveal the macroscopic morphology of the porous coating material. There has been a lot of literature to study, among other things – the Ph.D.-thesis on polymer-coated pipelines of Ole Vestrum.

«I find this kind of industrial research very motivating. Actually, the industry puts a lot of interest in our work. Of course, that is much more motivating than to work on calculations that nobody pays interest in», Frydenberg says.
Magnus Pjaaka Torp agrees. He appreciates the mix of theoretical and practical studies.
«I like the practical approach and the fact that a lot of what we have learnt in theory now can be put to use. We are actually calculating the mechanical properties of a pipeline. I look forward to seeing if we can make a numerical model on the behaviour, too».
He adds:
«I find it very fulfilling to work with something that might make a difference out there. If the model can contribute to reducing the amount of physical testing, it saves time, money and materials. At the same time, it helps to protect the environment too».

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