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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ADVANCED RESEARCH IN

International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN

0976 – 6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (IJARET)

ISSN 0976 - 6480 (Print) ISSN 0976 - 6499 (Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April 2013, pp. 202-210 © IAEME: www.iaeme.com/ijaret.asp Journal Impact Factor (2013): 5.8376 (Calculated by GISI) www.jifactor.com

IJARET

© I A E M E

INFLUENCE OF DESIGN PARAMETERS IN WELD JOINT PERFORMANCE

Maqbool Ahmed 1 , M. Azizuddin 2 , B.Balakrishna 3 ,

1 Associate Prof RITS, 2 Prof & Head Mech Dept RITS, 3 Associate Prof JNTU Kakinada

1. INTRODUCTION

A flange connection used in oil and gas industry failed premature. Investigation was conducted to analyze the failure causes. Micro/macro structure study , hardness, light and SEM microscopes analysis of the chemistry near and away from the crack suggested that:

a) The failure is most probably caused by recent practice of reducing the wall thinness of the nipple by grinding to suit to the flange ends

b) Welding has caused a brittle micro-structure to develop, making it vulnerable to crack. Also, sulphur pick – up (either as a result of heat induced by welding or as a result of ingress from the flowing mediam) near the cracking area shows relatively high concentrations (about twice that of the bulk material about 10 mm away from the crack line).

These findings did emphasize the importance of design factor in accelerating failure. At the end, some recommendations have also been introduced to mitigate the occurrence of such failures in the future.

2. DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM

had resulted in hydrocarbon leak. This 3/4”

tapping had been taken from 24” and routed with 1” analyzer line ( new ) with reducer. The failure had apparently happened within a time span of about four months.

Failure of

a

weld joint of

3/4” flange

The circumferential crack (65%) was observed in top side HAZ of weld joint.

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– 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME Figure 1. The cracked-face of the

Figure 1. The cracked-face of the failed flange

Figure 1 shows the appearance of the crack externally. The ¾” flange was directly welded with the pipe as a butt weld joint. The new 1” analyzer line found rigidly fixed with L- angle and clamps. Also line routed 90 deg in the direction of 24” header. As the client has stated to us, no pressure gauge installed, it was end blinded before EDM used it as tie-in for analyze sample line. The flu gas within the pipe is sour. The design pressure of 24” pipe is 79.8 bar (G) and design temperature is 85 Deg C. The flange material is a low temperature carbon steel (A350 LF2, ¾ inch Sch 80. 3.91mm) and the Nipple material sis also a low temperature carbon steel A333 Gr6.3/4 inch Sch 80. 3.91 mm).

1. Examination:

The examinations that were carried out on the failed flange were as follows:

1.1. Macro-examination

1.2. Micro-examination (Metallography, SEM)

1.3. Chemical analysis (spark emission)

1.4. Mechanical Hardness Test

2.1. Macro-examination:

Below, we will look at the results obtained from the examinations mentioned above. Figure 2 shows the profile of the flange + nipple :

above. Figure 2 shows the profile of the flange + nipple : Figure 2. Distinguishing the

Figure 2. Distinguishing the nipple and flange parts in order to define the location of the crack

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Furthermore, The failed flange and nipple were sectioned vertically. This is shown in Figure 3a. As seen in this figure, the crack is on a portion (about 70%) of the material of the flange. It is evident from these macro-examination images (Figures 2 and 3a) that the location of the crack is within the flange area. This is important as this will allow us to concentrate more on the flange area and investigate more deeply on the cause (es) of the crack in this area.

more deeply on the cause (es) of the crack in this area. Figure 3a. The flange

Figure 3a. The flange and the nipple parts after being cut into two halves.

As seen From the half on the right, the crack is very evident. The fracture surfaces were also examined across A-A as shown in Figure 3b.

A A
A
A
were also examined across A-A as shown in Figure 3b. A A Figure 3b. Fracture surfaces

Figure 3b. Fracture surfaces of the failed flange as sectioned through A-A.

One of these surface was examined by both macro-and micro-examination. Figures 3c and 3d show the failed surface. As seen in Figure 3c, at least one crack visible with naked eye being developed on the fracture surface.

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– 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME Figure 3c. A transverse crack being
– 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME Figure 3c. A transverse crack being

Figure 3c. A transverse crack being developed at the cross-section of the fracture surface along A-A section from figure 4b. The crack covers about 60% of the length of the cross section area. Figure 3d: magnified view of Figure 3c (close-up). Some of the “beach- marks” typicl of fatigue are shown within the oval

marks” typicl of fatigue are shown within the oval Figure 3e. Beach marks (on the fracture

Figure 3e. Beach marks (on the fracture surface) suggesting the likelihood of fatigue

It must be noted that observing bench-marks is one way of suggesting that the failure has been due to fatigue. In this particular case, there is also another evidence which is the mode of the crack (see Figures 10a and 10b). Before and after sectioning the flange + nipple. As seen from Figure 4, there is a reduction of 0.60 mm in the cross section. This trimming action will actually reduce the effective cross section to carry the load. This will result in higher stresses being developed For a given stress, then, this reduction in size would mean an increase of the local stresses by about 110 %. A possible consequence of developing such stresses is that they may reach past the yield point of the material, causing plastic deformation by encouraging the formation of internal micro-cracks. If the material, micro-structurally, has also become brittle due to developing of brittle phases, this can enhance the likelihood of crack initiation/ propagation especially at structure imperfections.

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– 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME Figure 4. (Left) the dimension of

Figure 4. (Left) the dimension of the flange before removing (right) after cold cutting

Among the characteristics of the fluid, it had also been mentioned that it contains “impurities” such as dust. The dust particles will cause erosion-corrosion as it is apparent from Figure 5.

cause erosion-corrosion as it is apparent from Figure 5. Figure 5. Some signs of erosion-corrosion It

Figure 5. Some signs of erosion-corrosion

It suggests that hard impurities that are accompanying the fluid can also have an impact on accelerating the failure of the piece. These impurities can hit the surface and through this physical contact, the effective cross section that may reduce Erosion-corrosion is also further enhanced by the impact of improper design as imposed by inappropriate trimming: the difference between the cross sections thus generated is capable of increasing the detrimental of the dust micro-particles that are entrained with gas. Figure 6 shows how to change in cross section due to design can cause internal deterioration in an equipment.

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International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 – 6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME

– 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME Figure 6. Schematic presentation of how

Figure 6. Schematic presentation of how change in cross section can induce impingement

As it is seen from Figure 6, when the cross section is reduced, because of relative change in the pressure of the fluid (as a function of fluid velocity), erosion-corrosion can be induced. Another important matter from Figure 6 is that due to erosion induced as such getting a uniformly eroded surface is not likely. As it appears, the inside of the piece will be selectively ploughed This will create a topography on the surface that will reflect light in different angles. This is seen in Figure 5 as bright and dark areas. However, it is not possible to estimate the relative contribution of this factor (erosion-corrosion) to the general set of internal factors facilitating corrosion.

2.2. Micro-examination:

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) of the crack is shown in Figure 7.

facilitating corrosion. 2.2. Micro-examination: Scanning electron microscope (SEM) of the crack is shown in Figure 7.
facilitating corrosion. 2.2. Micro-examination: Scanning electron microscope (SEM) of the crack is shown in Figure 7.
facilitating corrosion. 2.2. Micro-examination: Scanning electron microscope (SEM) of the crack is shown in Figure 7.

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International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 – 6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME

Figure 7 shows that in addition to the main crack, some micro-cracks are being developed

and start propagating. Another finding that is important from a micro-structural point of view was the change observed from a mixed pearlitic-ferritic microstructure to a fully ferritic microstructure near the weld zone. There are several processes that can lead to intergranular fracture.

1. Micro-void nucleation and coalescence at inclusions or second phase particles located along grain boundaries

2. Grain boundary crack and cavity formation associated with elevated temperature stress rupture condition.

3. De-cohesion between contiguous grain due to presence of impurity at grain boundaries and in the presence of hydrogen in liquid metals.

4. Stress corrosion cracking associated with chemical dissolution along grain boundaries.

5. Cyclic loading when the material has insufficient number of independent slip

systems to accommodate plastic deformation between contiguous grain leading to grain boundaries rupture Chemical analysis of sulphur near and away from crack along with other findings in this investigation may suggest that a combination of the mechanisms above could have been responsible for observing this crack. However, based on the facts that:

a) the part has undergone IG,

b) the fluid is a sour gas where there is a relatively high concentration of sulphur near the crack compared with that of the bulk material, (the impact to be mentioned in section

3.3)

c) the trimming of the effective load surface that can stimulate conditions of sudden

change in the velocity of the fluid inside, developing (internal) cyclic loading, (explained in section 3.1) Mechanisms 2, 3 and 5 could be the main mechanisms contributing to the failure of the part.

2.3. Chemical analysis (spark emision) The main cracked area, as shown below in Figure 10, was also studied for relative concentration of sulphur near the cracked area and some 10 mm away from it.The main reason for selecting sulphur was that the gas was of sour nature, having a relatively high concentration of sulphur in it. In addition, during welding, a molten pool maintains a concentration gradient for the alloying elements. The alloying elements will be attracted into this molten pool and afterwelding the cooling process starts, the alloying elements that now have been precipitated at or near the weld line, start to change the mechanical properties of the material at that venue.

The results of the spectroscopy have been superimposed on the figure that shows the crack, altogether shown in Figure 12. The dark column represents the sulphur values from within the bulk of the crack whereas the light column shows the relative values near the crack.

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– 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME (AA) Figure 10. The change of
– 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME (AA) Figure 10. The change of
(AA)
(AA)

Figure 10. The change of relative concentration of sulphure (wt%) near the crack and about 10 mm away from it within the bulk of the steel.

As being evident from Figure10, sulphur is a much higher concentration near the crack, suggesting that either it has been accumulated as a result of welding or as a results of sulphur ingress from the sour flu gas flowing inside. At this stage, however, it is impossible to distinguish between these possible two sources of sulphur but the end result is that the microstructure becomes more vulnerable to cracking.

2.4 Hardness Test

A section of the failed flange was cut as shown in Figure 11 and the hardness of both sides of the cut section was tested. Figure 12 shows the change of hardness on both sides recorded as HRBW (Rockwell Hardness B Scale Tungsten-Carbide ball Indenter) Figure 11 . A cross section (AA) of the flange showing the difference in thickness for both the original pipe width on the base metal and the reduced wall thickness near heat affected zone (HAZ). Typically the wall thickness in the welded edge has been reduced by 66.90%.

thickness in the welded edge has been reduced by 66.90%. Figure12. Change of hardness over the

Figure12. Change of hardness over the outer and inner surfaces (as from Figure 9)

Figure 12 shows that the hardness values (especially near the heat affected zone- HAZ) are far different from those of the parent material, suggesting that the material is too brittle and susceptible to develop cracks. This matter becomes of importance when we consider all other pieces of evidence (micro-/ macro- structure) that suggest that one of the main causes of the failure can be linked with the welding.

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International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology (IJARET), ISSN 0976 – 6480(Print), ISSN 0976 – 6499(Online) Volume 4, Issue 3, April (2013), © IAEME

3. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The failure seems to be a combination of the following factors:

1. Wrong welding edge preparation; the trimming has resulted in a thickness too low for the joint between the nipple and the flange to stand the required mechanical loads. The reduced area has already resulted in creating varying cross sections where the varying local pressures resulting from varying velocities of the fluid gas also contribute more to the vulnerability of the material to failure

2. Due to factors such as welding or possible ingress from the flu gas inside the flange,

sulphur has been accumulated at the cracking area and most possible around the grain boundaries, giving rise to an intergranular crack,

3. Due to the heat induced during welding, the microstructure of the weld zone and HAZ

has been transferred into a brittle zone.

4. The gas may contain impurities in the form of very tiny dust particles. These particles , entrained by the flow of the gas, are inducing erosion-corrosion resulting in making the internal wall even more vulnerable.

5. The external factor of fatigue has been accelerated during the last four months of service adding already existing internal factors contributing to failure.

The following can be recommended to prevent similar cases to happen:

a) Avoid any modification in the dimensions of the parts to induce inappropriate levels of stress as well as the likelihood of getting situations encouraging cavitation,

b) Selection of a flange of same internal diameter as that of the nipple to avoid the turbulence in gas flow

c) Use low sulphur welding method with more care not to cause too much segregation of potentially corrosive alloying elements (such as sulphur) near grain boundaries,

d) Reduce the level of impurities (micro-dusts) of the gas to avoid internal erosion- corrosion, e) Observing and controlling the fatigue as induced by excess vibrations.

4. REFERENCES

1-

ASME/ANSI B 16.5:Pipe flanges and flanged fitting ( 1996 ) page 1-2.

2-

ASME Pressure Vessel and Boiler Code. Section II, Part A, Ferrous materials specifications, Materials: Specifications for carbon steel forging for piping applications. (1999) page 180.

3-

API specifications 5L; Specifications for line pipe, 42 nd ed, ( 2000 ) page 8.

4-

Failure analysis of high pressure Butt Weld. F Ahmed,F Hassan and L.Ali. Pak J.Engg & Appl science Vol 3 July 2008 ( P 26-32 )

5-

Equivalent to assess hardenability of steel and prediction of HAZ Hardness Distribution. Kasuya, T and Hashiba Y.; Nippon Steel Technical Report No 95 January 2007.

6-

Failure Examination - Faulty Design, Weld Defect-Fracture of a Cross on a Church Steeple. Naumann, Friedrich K; Spies, Ferdinand, PRAKT METALLOGR., 12(5), May 1975, pp.

268-271.

7-

Failure analysis of a Cross country line pipe using 'CTOD' concept - A case study; Sova Bhattacharya, Kannan C,Mohapatra B, Makhija R&D Centre, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Faridabad, India

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