Substantial differences amongst metallurgical and mechanical properties of base metal (BM), weld metal (WM) and heat-affected zone (HAZ) occur in general in welded steel structures It is common practice in various engineering structures to evaluate the fracture performance of welded structures by mechanical testing. Especially, the HAZ of steel welded joints shows a gradient of microstructure and mechanical properties from the fusion line to the unaffected base metal. This study is concerned with the effects of metallurgical and mechanical factors on the fracture performance of API 5L X65 pipeline steel weldments, as they are generally used for main natural gas transmission pipelines in Korea. First of all, we investigated the microscopic and macroscopic fracture behavior of the various micro-zones within the HAZ from the viewpoint of metallurgical factors. The effects of mechanical factors such as welding residual stress in steel weldment and strength mismatch between BM and WM, particularly in high strength steel weldments, are also analyzed. Therefore, the fracture performance of API 5L X65 pipeline steel weldment was mainly dependent on the change of macrostructure and its distribution in the welded joints.

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