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Fatigue crack growth rates in high pressure hydrogen gas for multiple X100 pipeline welds accounting for crack location and residual stress


Fatigue crack growth rates (FCGR) of multiple X100 pipeline steel welds and heat affected zones were measured in high-pressure hydrogen gas to investigate their behavior compared to lower strength pipeline welds. A total of five high strength welds and two heat affected zones (HAZ) were examined all of which were fabricated using the same X100 base material. Different welding wires and techniques were used to fabricate the welds to provide a variety of end products to evaluate susceptibility to fatigue in high pressure hydrogen gas. Residual stresses were measured for each weld and HAZ using the slitting method and the effect of residual stress on the stress intensity factor, Kres, was determined. Using Kres, the fatigue crack growth rate curves were corrected to remove the effects of residual stress by examining the influence of Kres on stress ratio, R. Comparisons were then made between the high strength welds, which were corrected for residual stress, and lower strength welds from the literature. It was found that the higher strength welds and heat affected zones exhibited comparable fatigue crack growth rates to lower strength welds, as the FCGR data of the high strength welds overlaid the lower strength welds. This suggests that despite distinct differences in strength and microstructure between the different welds, hydrogen-assisted fatigue crack growth susceptibility is similar. A comparison was made between the Kres measured in extracted coupons and residual stress estimates provided in relevant welded pipe assessment standards such as API 579-1/ASME FFS-1. It was found the residual stress values in the test coupons extracted from welded pipe were significantly lower than those expected in the intact welded pipes and highlights the importance in quantifying and removing coupon residual stresses when fatigue crack growth rates are measured and including expected weld joint residual stress when making structural assessments.

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