The laboratory work reported here was initiated to determine whether different soils can be shown to give rise to different growth rate for a given pipeline steel. Two soil synthetic environments with different near neutral pH value were designed based on various soil chemistries collected near the pipeline in the field where near-neutral pH SCC was found. The crack growth behavior in both the environments were determined using compact tension specimen. The crack growth rate was in situ monitored by the potential drop system. It was found that soil chemistry has a profound effect on crack growth rate. Although it is insensitive to the soil chemistry and cyclic frequency, the crack growth rate in the high ΔK regime has been significantly enhanced in comparison with that in air. In the low ΔK regime, the growth rate is shown to have minor dependence on ΔK value but strong dependence on the testing environments. The observed crack growth behavior in different ΔK regimes and environments was related to the crack tip sharpness and crack crevice wideness as a result of corrosion and room temperature creep deformation. Soil solutions with low general corrosion rate are associated with a blunt crack tip and wide crack crevice, which would result in lower stress intensity at the crack tip and weaker crack closure effect, respectively. Similarly, a loading wave allowing shorter creep time on a given volume of material at the crack tip at high loading stress tends to produce a sharper crack tip and narrow crack crevice. These two factors have opposite effect on crack growth rate, and the observed crack growth rate reflects the combined effect of these two opposite factors.

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