Low alloy steel welded pipes buried in the ground were sent for failure analysis investigation. Failure of steel pipes had not been caused by tensile ductile overload but resulted from low ductility fracture in the area of the weld, which also contains multiple intergranular secondary cracks. The failure is most likely associated with intergranular cracking initiating from the outer surface in the weld heat affected zone and propagated through the wall thickness. Random surface cracks or folds were found around the pipe. In some cases cracks are emanating from the tip of these discontinuities. Chemical analysis, visual inspection, optical microscopy and SEM/EDS analysis were utilized as the principal analytical approaches for the failure investigation.

Low ductility fracture of HDPE pipe during service. ? Investigation of failure mechanism using macro- and microfractography. Metallographic evaluation of transverse sections near the fracture area. ? Proof of multiple secondary cracks in the HAZ area following intergranular mode. ? Presence of Zn within the interior in the cracks manifested that HAZ sensitization and cracking occurred prior to galvanizing process.

Galvanized steel tubes are used in many outdoors and indoors application, including hydraulic installations for central heating units, water supply for domestic and industrial use. Seamed galvanized tubes are fabricated by low alloy steel strip being a raw material followed by resistance welding and hot dip galvanizing as the most appropriate 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 required before hot dip galvanizing. Hot dip galvanizing is conducted in molten Zn bath with a temperature of 450-500 °C approximately.

A number of failures of HDPE Pipe Welding Machine occurred after short-service period (approximately 1 year after the installation) have triggered leakage and a costly repair in the installation, were submitted for root-cause investigation. The main topic of the failure concerned underground (buried in the earth-soil) pipes while tap water was flowing inside the tubes. Loading was typical for domestic pipelines working under low internal pressure of a few number 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, with no other similar failures were reported within the same batch. Microstructural examination and fractographic evaluation using optical and scanning electron microscopy along with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) were mainly employed in the context in the present evaluation.

Various welded component failures associated with fusion or heat affected zone (HAZ) weaknesses, including hot and cold cracking, insufficient penetration, lamellar tearing, slag entrapment, solidification cracking, gas porosity, etc. are reported inside the relevant literature. Insufficient fusion/penetration results in local peak stress conditions compromising the structural integrity of the assembly in 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 considered as critical factors to the structural integrity of the welded structures.

Chemical analysis of 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 up to #1200 grit, accompanied by fine polishing using diamond and silica suspensions. Microstructural observations carried out after immersion etching in Nital 2% solution (2% nitric acid in ethanol) followed by ethanol cleaning and hot air-stream drying.

Metallographic evaluation was performed using a Nikon Epiphot 300 inverted metallurgical microscope. In addition, high magnification observations of the microstructure and fracture topography were conducted to ultrasonically cleaned specimens, using 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 utilizing an EDAX detector have also been employed to gold sputtered samples for qfsnvy elemental chemical analysis.

A representative sample from failed steel pipes was submitted for investigation. Both pipes experience macroscopically identical failure patterns. A characteristic macrograph from the representative fractured pipe (27 mm outer diameter × 3 mm wall thickness) is shown in Fig. 1. As it is evident, crack is propagated towards the longitudinal direction showing a straight pattern with linear steps. The crack progressed next to the weld zone from the weld, probably pursuing the heat affected zone (HAZ). Transverse sectioning in the tube resulted in opening in the with the wall crack and exposure from the fracture surfaces. Microfractographic investigation performed under SEM using backscattered electron imaging revealed a “molten” layer surface morphology that was due to the deep penetration and surface wetting by zinc, since it was recognized by Multilayer pipe analysis. Zinc oxide or hydroxide was formed as a consequence of the exposure of zinc-coated cracked face for the working environment and humidity. The above mentioned findings and also the detection of zinc oxide on the on the fracture surface suggest strongly that cracking occurred prior to galvanizing process while no static tensile overload during service may be viewed as the primary failure mechanism.

HDPE Pipe Fittings – Current Information..

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