Offshore gas pipeline development has been expanding toward deeper water region that requires pipes to have strong resistance against collapse by external pressure. Collapse pressure is mainly dominated by pipe roundness and compressive strength. In order to improve compressive strength, it is quite important to understand the Bauschinger effect caused by cyclic deformation during pipe forming. Compressive strength is reduced by the Bauschinger effect since compression in the circumferential direction is applied after the pipe expansion. Therefore, prevention of Bauschinger effect is an important issue for improving compressive strength of pipes.
In this paper, the effect of microstructure on the Bauschinger effect was investigated. It was proved that microstructure that consists of a hard second phase shows a large strength reduction in reverse loading, since a mixed microstructure with soft phase and hard phase enhances the Bauschinger effect. In order to obtain homogeneous bainitic microstructure, advanced plate production technology, where heat treatment on-line process (HOP) is applied after accelerated cooling, was developed. The steel produced by HOP process exhibits a fine bainitic microstructure with very low amount of hard second phase such as MA constituent. It was demonstrated that the trial produced pipe with HOP process has a higher compressive strength than conventional pipes.
In addition to the fundamental study on compressive strength, further investigations were conducted to optimize other material properties for offshore linepipe, such as DWTT property, resistance to hydrogen induced cracking and HAZ toughness to comply with DNV requirements. Production tests of Grade X65 linepipe with the 38mm WT and 876mm OD was carried out. Material and mechanical properties of these heavy gauge linepipes were introduced.