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Kijung Park, Dae Hyun Cho, Min-Ho Park, and Cheol-Woong Yang
Effects of Molybdenum on HIC Susceptibility in Normalized Pressure Vessel Steels for Sour Service Applications
Received: 8 April 2019;  Accepted: 4 June 2019.  Published online: 5 June 2019.
This paper discusses a molybdenum-added alloy design for normalized pressure vessel steels, to reduce hydrogen induced cracking (HIC) and inhibit crack propagation. The change in microstructure produced by the modified alloy composition was analyzed to determine its effect on HIC characteristics. The microstructural change was observed by optical microscopy, hardness tests, scanning electron microscopy, and electron backscattered diffraction. The crack length ratio and crack thickness ratio were evaluated using the NACE TM 0284 standard, and ultrasonic testing was used for HIC analysis. The formation of polygonal ferrite and pearlite during the processing of the alloy creates localized areas of high stress concentration at the polygonal ferrite/pearlite interface, due to the expansion/contraction of various structures during the transformation. This results in the generation of potential hydrogen-trapping sites, subsequent HIC, and crack propagation. The addition of molybdenum leads to a decrease in the volume fraction of the pearlite structure in the steel in favor of a more beneficial bainitic ferrite microstructure, which is generated during the normalizing process. This bainitic transformation creates a more favorable expansion/contraction compatibility and reduces/breaks up the ferrite/pearlite banding. The combination of these two characteristics can result in an overall lower stress-intensity state, which can minimize hydrogen-trapping and crack propagation. This study demonstrates that the resistance of normalized pressure vessel steels to HIC can be significantly improved by incorporating molybdenum in the alloy design.
Keywords: sour service, molybdenum, hydrogen induced crack (HIC), normalizing steel, pressure vessel steel
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