HB7, an ultra-clean, high strength pressure vessel steel manufactured in France, is compared to A723 steel. This steel, suggested as an improved pressure vessel material is currently being proposed for critical applications, and will likely be used more frequently as design engineers discover its capabilities. This paper includes comparisons of strength, fracture toughness, fatigue properties and composition of the two steels, followed by an in-depth comparison and modeling of environmental cracking resistance, Bauschinger-modified residual stresses and fatigue lives. Results indicate that in all critical areas, with the exception of Bauschinger-reduced residual stress, the HB7 is superior to the A723 steel. Particularly for small amounts of autofrettage, near-bore residual stresses are reduced for HB7 steel compared to those for A723 steel at the same strength level. The greatest improvement of the HB7 over the A723 is in environmental cracking resistance. The BH7, when tested in concentrated sulfuric acid, exhibits five orders of magnitude longer crack incubation times and three orders of magnitude slower crack growth rates, when compared to A723 steel at the same strength level.

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