The unique combination of high strength and low temperature toughness on heavy wall thickness coils allows higher operating pressures in large diameter spiral welded pipes and could represent a 10% reduction in life cycle cost on long distance gas pipe lines. One of the current processing routes for these high thickness grades is the thermo-mechanical controlled processing (TMCP) route, which critically depends on the austenite conditioning during hot forming at specific temperature in relation to the aimed metallurgical mechanisms (recrystallization, strain accumulation, phase transformation). Detailed mechanical and microstructural characterization on selected coils and pipes corresponding to the X80M grade in 24 mm thickness reveals that effective grain size and distribution together with the through thickness gradient are key parameters to control in order to ensure the adequate toughness of the material. Studies on the softening behavior revealed that the grain coarsening in the mid-thickness is related to a decrease of strain accumulation during hot rolling. It was also observed a toughness detrimental effect with the increment of the volume fraction of M/A (martensite/retained austenite) in the middle thickness of the coils, related to the cooling practice. Finally, submerged arc weldability for spiral welded pipe manufacturing was evaluated on coil skelp in 24 mm thickness. The investigations revealed the suitability of the material for spiral welded pipe production, preserving the tensile properties and maintaining acceptable toughness values in the heat-affected zone.
The present study revealed that the adequate chemical alloying selection and processing control provide enhanced low temperature toughness on pipes with excellent weldability formed from hot rolled coils X80 grade in 24 mm thickness produced at ArcelorMittal Bremen.