Nelson curve for carbon steel without post welding heat treatment (PWHT) was reconsidered in Annex F of API PR941 8th Edition because a lot of hydrogen damage cases of carbon steel for pressure vessels and pipes with weld joint were reported. However the mechanism of the damage initiation has not been extensively studied. For these reason, the purpose of this study was to clarify effect of residual stress on high temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA) and examine the mechanism in terms of microstructure.

The specimens that were simulated welding residual stress by four point bending tool were exposed to high temperature and high pressure hydrogen gas to investigate relationship between damage initiation and condition of temperature and pressure. The frequency of damage occurred by residual stress under high temperature and low hydrogen pressure conditions was higher than that under low temperature and high pressure condition. The damage occurred on boundary of ferrite and pearlite. The grain reference orientation deviation (GROD) map obtained from EBSD measurement indicated the concentration of strain on the boundary generated by plastic deformation. Thus, the damage is most likely initiated by concentration of hydrogen on ferrite-pearlite boundary at which welding strain accumulated. Moreover the damage susceptibility of ferrite-pearlite structure was higher than that of bainite structure. The microstructures in base metal is ferrite-pearlite, but that in heat affected zone is bainite by reheating and cooling at welding. Hence, the base metal has higher damage susceptibility than HAZ.

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