Recent upstream oil and gas industry experience has raised attention to substandard properties with high strength carbon steel forgings manufactured to the requirements of ASTM A694 and MSS-SP-44. As part of an internal investigation into quality of commodity pipeline flanges, three flanges certified as ASTM A694 grade F60 to F70, were purchased off-the-shelf from three different manufacturers for microstructural and mechanical property investigation. All three flanges were supplied with material test certificates indicating acceptable material properties. Tensile and Charpy impact specimens were extracted from various locations and orientations in each flange. All three flanges failed to meet yield strength requirements for the specified grade. The impact energy and shear area values were well below those reported on the material test certificates. The discrepancy between the sacrificial testing results and the material test certificates is attributed to the use of separately forged test blocks for quality testing instead of integral prolongations or a sacrificial production part, which is permitted by ASTM A694 and MSS-SP-44. Further investigation was made into the chemical composition and heat treating practices. The chemical composition can be characterized as high strength, low alloy steel (HSLA) by virtue of 0.05–0.08 wt. pct. vanadium added to a carbon-manganese steel with CE(IIW) ranging from 0.43 to 0.45. Advanced microscopy showed that the morphology of the vanadium precipitates was inadequate as a strengthener and deleterious to Charpy impact properties for the size of the flanges and the heat treatment practices applied.

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