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Low alloy steel welded pipes buried in the ground were sent for failure analysis investigation. Failure of steel pipes was not brought on by tensile ductile overload but resulted from low ductility fracture in the area of the weld, that also contains multiple intergranular secondary cracks. The failure is most probably associated with intergranular cracking initiating from the outer surface within the weld heat affected zone and spread with the wall thickness. Random surface cracks or folds were found across the Erw Steel Pipe. In some instances cracks are emanating through the tip of such discontinuities. Chemical analysis, visual inspection, optical microscopy and SEM/EDS analysis were used as the principal analytical methods for the failure investigation.

Low ductility fracture of welded pipes during service. ? Investigation of failure mechanism using macro- and microfractography. Metallographic evaluation of transverse sections close to the fracture area. ? Proof multiple secondary cracks on the HAZ area following intergranular mode. ? Presence of Zn inside the interior from the cracks manifested that HAZ sensitization and cracking occurred just before galvanizing process.

Galvanized steel tubes are utilized in numerous outdoors and indoors application, including hydraulic installations for central heating system units, water supply for domestic and industrial use. Seamed galvanized tubes are fabricated by low alloy steel strip being a raw material then resistance welding and hot dip galvanizing as the best manufacturing process route. Welded pipes were produced using resistance self-welding from the steel plate by using constant contact pressure for current flow. Successive pickling was realized in diluted HCl acid bath. Rinsing from the welded tube in degreasing and pickling baths for surface cleaning and activation is needed prior to hot dip galvanizing. Hot dip galvanizing is conducted in molten Zn bath in a temperature of 450-500 °C approximately.

A series of failures of underground galvanized steel pipes occurred after short-service period (approximately 1 year following the installation) have led to leakage as well as a costly repair from the installation, were submitted for root-cause investigation. The subject of the failure concerned underground (buried within the earth-soil) pipes while faucet water was flowing within the Astm A56 Seamless Steel Pipe. Loading was typical for domestic pipelines working under low internal pressure of a few couple of bars. Cracking followed a longitudinal direction and it also was noticed at the weld zone area, while no macroscopic plastic deformation (“swelling”) was observed. Failures occurred to isolated cases, without any other similar failures were reported inside the same batch. Microstructural examination and fractographic evaluation using optical and scanning electron microscopy in conjunction with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) were mainly employed in the context from the present evaluation.

Various welded component failures attributed to fusion and heat affected zone (HAZ) weaknesses, such as cold and warm cracking, absence of penetration, lamellar tearing, slag entrapment, solidification cracking, gas porosity, etc. are reported within the relevant literature. Lack of fusion/penetration results in local peak stress conditions compromising the structural integrity of the assembly on the joint area, while the actual existence of weld porosity results in serious weakness from the fusion zone [3], [4]. Joining parameters and metal cleanliness are viewed as critical factors towards the structural integrity from the welded structures.

Chemical research into the fractured components was performed using standard optical emission spectrometry (OES). Low-magnification inspection of surface and fracture morphology was performed using a Nikon SMZ 1500 stereomicroscope. Microstructural and morphological characterization was conducted in mounted cross-sections. Wet grinding was performed using successive abrasive SiC papers as much as #1200 grit, then fine polishing using diamond and silica suspensions. Microstructural observations completed after immersion etching in Nital 2% solution (2% nitric acid in ethanol) followed by ethanol cleaning and heat-stream drying.

Metallographic evaluation was performed employing a Nikon Epiphot 300 inverted metallurgical microscope. In addition, high magnification observations of the microstructure and fracture topography were conducted to ultrasonically cleaned specimens, working with a FEI XL40 SFEG scanning electron microscope using secondary electron and back-scattered imaging modes for topographic and compositional evaluation. Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy employing an EDAX detector have also been employed to gold sputtered dkmfgb for local elemental chemical analysis.

A representative sample from failed steel pipes was submitted for investigation. Both pipes experience macroscopically identical failure patterns. A characteristic macrograph of the representative fractured pipe (27 mm outer diameter × 3 mm wall thickness) is shown in Fig. 1. Since it is evident, crack is propagated for the longitudinal direction showing a straight pattern with linear steps. The crack progressed next to the weld zone in the weld, most probably after the heat affected zone (HAZ). Transverse sectioning from the tube resulted in opening in the through the wall crack and exposure from the fracture surfaces. Microfractographic investigation performed under SEM using backscattered electron imaging revealed a “molten” layer surface morphology which was due to the deep penetration and surface wetting by zinc, since it was recognized by EDS analysis. Zinc oxide or hydroxide was formed caused by the exposure of 48 Inch Saw Lsaw Pipe to the working environment and humidity. The above findings as well as the detection of zinc oxide on the on the fracture surface suggest strongly that cracking occurred just before galvanizing process while no static tensile overload during service might be regarded as the key failure mechanism.