Developments of high strength steels for natural gas pipelines have been in the forefront of steelmaking and rolling technology in the past decades. However, parallel to such developments in steel industry, the welding technology especially with regards to SMAW process which is still widely used in many projects has not evolved accordingly. Decreasing carbon equivalent has shifted the tendency of hydrogen cracking from the HAZ to the weld metal. Hydrogen cracking due to its complex mechanism is affected by a range of interactive parameters. Experience and data gained from field welding of pipeline construction projects indicated that weld metal hydrogen cracking is related to welding position as it occurs more in the 6 o’clock position of pipeline girth welds. In this research an attempt is made to open up the above observation in order to investigate the contributory factors such as welding position and welding progression in terms of diffusible hydrogen and possibly residual stress considerations. It was observed that transverse cracks produced in laboratory condition may not be detected by radiography. But, the higher tendency for cracking at 6 o’clock position was confirmed through bend test. It is shown that more hydrogen can be absorbed by the weld metal in the overhead position. It is shown that welding progression may also have a significant effect on cracking susceptibility and it is proposed that to be due to the way that weld residual stresses are developed. The observations can have an important impact on planning for welding procedure approval regarding prevention of transverse cracking in pipeline girth welds.

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