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Fatigue Crack Growth in Operated Gas Pipeline Steels


Regularities of fatigue crack growth for pipeline steels of different strength are presented, and the changes in fatigue behavior of these steels after long term operation are analyzed. Threshold values of stress intensity factor range are lower for operated steels comparing to the corresponding values for as received ones. During the testing in the simulated soil solution NS4, a barely noticeable tendency to increase the threshold values of SIF was traced. It was explained by the appearance of intergranular fracture elements on the backgrownd of the typical flat fatigue relief already in the near-threshold region of fatigue crack growth curves in the soil solution. A higher relief of intergranular facets provided favorable conditions for occurrence of crack closure effect.
Fatigue testing was performed using steel specimens after in-laboratory and in-service degradation, and it was shown that results for both degraded steels are very close to each other proving the validity of the method of in-laboratory degradation. A new methodic approach to fatigue testing of pipe steels is presented which allows simulating working conditions of gas pipelines, namely the hydrogen diffusion through the pipe wall to its external surface, and estimating its possible effect on SCC. It consists in evaluation of the influence of hydrogen reached the crack tip only due to its diffusion, on the crack growth. It is found that hydrogen absorbed by metal during the test providing such conditions, causes a leap of crack growth rate in the Paris region of the fatigue crack growth curve of the tested 17H1S steel. Intergranular mechanism of fracture detected on the specimen fracture surface is suggested as a clear evidence of embrittlement of grain boundaries as a result of its hydrogenation.

Funding source: NATO in the Science for Peace and Security Programme under the Project G5055.
Countries: Ukraine

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