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Acta Metall Sin  2018, Vol. 54 Issue (10): 1343-1349    DOI: 10.11900/0412.1961.2017.00522
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Hydrogen-Induced Cracking Resistance of Novel Cu-Bearing Pipeline Steels
Xianbo SHI, Wei YAN, Wei WANG, Yiyin SHAN, Ke YANG()
Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, China
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Hydrogen-induced cracking (HIC) resistance of pipeline steels is one of the most important properties for sour gas service pipelines. For the conventional pipeline steels, the strength level mainly depends on the Mn content. However, as the Mn content increases, the unfavorable microstructures such as large size martensite/austenite (M/A) islands, bainite or martensite will be generated, which will deteriorate the HIC resistance of the steels. Therefore, it is hard to simultaneously improve strength level and HIC resistance for pipeline steel. The nature of HIC in pipeline steel is hydrogen embrittlement, which is essentially the redistribution of H atoms into the matrix of steel. So, how to make the distribution of H atoms in the steel as evenly as possible without causing local enrichment is a key factor to improve the HIC of pipeline steels. In this work, the susceptibilities of HIC of traditional X80 and novel Cu-bearing pipeline steels were studied with comparison. The results showed that the X80 pipeline steel behaved bad HIC resistance. The hydrogen-induced cracks mainly expanded along the interface between M/A islands and the matrix. However, the novel Cu-bearing pipeline steels with different Cu contents exhibited excellent HIC resistance, showing no cracks were produced after HIC test. It was analyzed that nano-sized Cu-rich precipitates in the Cu-bearing pipeline steels are speculated to act as the beneficial hydrogen traps, and these uniformly dispersed fine Cu-rich phases in matrix provide many sites for the distribution of H atoms, which helps to avoid the localized high concentration H atoms enrichment leading to hydrogen embrittlement. Taking nano-sized Cu-rich phases as a type of beneficial hydrogen traps provides a new way for the development of new pipeline steels with high strength and excellent HIC resistance.

Key words:  pipeline steel      Cu      hydrogen-induced cracking      Cu-rich phase      hydrogen trap     
Received:  06 December 2017     
ZTFLH:  TG142.1  
Fund: Supported by Shenyang Science and Technology Research Funding (No.18-013-0-53)

Cite this article: 

Xianbo SHI, Wei YAN, Wei WANG, Yiyin SHAN, Ke YANG. Hydrogen-Induced Cracking Resistance of Novel Cu-Bearing Pipeline Steels. Acta Metall Sin, 2018, 54(10): 1343-1349.

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Steel C Si Mn Mo Cu Ni Cr S P Nb+V+Ti Fe
1.0Cu 0.031 0.14 1.09 0.31 1.06 0.32 0.32 0.0011 0.005 0.05 Bal.
1.5Cu 0.019 0.12 1.03 0.31 1.46 0.31 0.31 0.0011 0.005 0.05 Bal.
2.0Cu 0.023 0.13 1.06 0.30 2.00 0.30 0.30 0.0010 0.005 0.05 Bal.
X80 0.046 0.10 1.68 0.19 0.30 0.20 0.29 0.0013 0.005 0.12 Bal.
Table 1  Chemical compositions of the experimental steels (mass fraction / %)
Fig.1  Schematic of specimen for hydrogen-induced cracking (HIC) test and the faces to be examined (unit: mm)
Fig.2  Corrosion morphologies of X80 steel (a), as-aged 1.0Cu steel (b), as-rolled 1.5Cu steel (c), as-aged 1.5Cu steel (d) and as-aged 2.0Cu steel (e), and SEM images of X80 steel (f) and as-aged 2.0Cu steel (g)
Fig.3  OM images of HIC in X80 steel (a) and near the surface of X80 steel (b)
Fig.4  Hydrogen-induced crack propagation paths in 1.0Cu (a) and X80 (b) steels (Arrows in Fig.4b show cracks expanded along the interface between martensite/austenite (M/A) islands and the matrix)
Fig.5  SEM (a, b) and OM (c, d) images show the microstructures of M/A islands in X80 steel (a, c) and 1.0Cu steel (b, d)
Fig.6  TEM images of as-rolled 1.5Cu steel (a) and as-aged 1.5Cu steel (b) (Arrows in Fig.6b show the nano-sized Cu-rich precipitations)
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