Exposure of metallic parts to cathodic protection (CP) in sea water leads to production and diffusion of atomic Hydrogen into the metal matrix. Absorption of atomic Hydrogen into the metal could lead to hydrogen embrittlement (HE).

In order to study the influence of stresses related to HE, FEA and Fracture Mechanics (FM) assessments were performed on a stud bolt threaded geometry. Effects of manufacturing tolerances, interface between nut and stud bolt and a defect in the form of a semi-circular crack placed in highest stress location of a thread root were also considered. Investigations of stress profiles when tension or bending are applied in test samples for measurement of HE threshold were also done, aiming at showing gaps on ASTM F1624-12 [1].

Tolerance assessment shows a relative maximum increase of 260% of nominal linearized membrane plus bending (NLMB) stresses regarding the nut runout [2] and for the proprietary nut geometry, such relative increase drops to 126% of NLMB stresses. Highest Hydrogen concentrations could be observed in the neighborhood of the first loaded thread root. FEA of cracked geometry shows that Hydrogen concentration could increase by around 283% around the crack tip, when compared to stud bolt in unloaded condition. Integrity assessment according to API 579-1 [3] or BS 7910 [4] and tests conducted according to ASTM F1624-12 [1] show less conservative results.

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