The girth welding of steel pipelines creates a substantial heat affected zone (HAZ) within the base pipeline steel. The HAZ can be considered to be a complex graded microstructure. While there is significant concern as to the fracture and mechanical properties of the HAZ as whole, detailed knowledge about the mechanical properties of the individual microstructures is lacking. For this study, X80 is heat treated in a Gleeble simulator to create samples of bulk microstructures with differing amounts and morphologies of bainite, ferrite and martensite-retained austenite (MA) with a total of 8 microstructures being investigated. The heat treatments were selected specifically to control the level of niobium in solid solution; that is to control whether niobium was fully in solution or contained mainly in niobium carbonitride precipitates. From the heat treated samples a matching tensile and fracture specimens were made. The strongest microstructure proved to be the finest bainitic microstructure, while the lowest strength microstructure was the coarsest bainite sample containing a significant amount of martensite-retained austenite connected along grain boundaries. The fracture behaviour at ambient temperature was studied using the Kahn tear test. The Kahn tear test is a machine notched, thin-sheet, slow strain rate fracture test which has the advantage of being a simple test to conduct. All Kahn tests failed in a ductile manner and it showed that the sample with the coarse bainite, with a connected martensite-retained austenite phase had the lowest unit propagation energy and tear strength while the fine, fully bainitic sample had the highest unit propagation energy and tear strength. Further investigation using SEM measurements of the final fracture surface from the tensile test to determine the tensile toughness. A comparison of the tensile toughness and unit propagation energies showed that there was a complex relationship between the two measurements. However, the samples which had the highest content of MA gave the in lowest unit propagation energy.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.