It is understood that the bondline microstructure of the line pipe ERW seam can be a zone of weakness in the pipe. To overcome this weakness, several research projects utilizing various line pipe steel grades and welding and heat treatment techniques have been conducted at EVRAZ NA. The overall goal of these efforts has been to understand the development of bondline microstructure during the ERW process and improve the weld seam fracture toughness for low temperature applications. These research activities included mill trials and Gleeble simulations.

It was realized that a high toughness ERW weld seam is only possible through a tightly controlled combination of weld power, forging (squeeze) pressure, and welding speed. Research studies have indicated that the as-welded seam may not pass the standard ERW destructive tests if proper heat input and adequate squeeze pressure are not applied.

Post weld heat treatment (normalizing) practice was also found to be a key element in the development of the appropriate bondline microstructure for higher toughness. Samples from pipes normalized using different heat treatment practices produced different bondline microstructures and hence different toughness properties. It was found through this study that a low (but still higher than the upper critical temperature Ac3) normalizing peak temperature and adequate soak time at the peak temperature result in improved Charpy toughness of ERW bondline microstructure.

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