RP3.1-09: Deployment of the SAFE(TI) Lab for characterising the mechanical properties of linepipe steels

Executive Summary

This project establishes a state-of-the-art testing lab to characterise linepipe steels exposed to high-pressure, gaseous hydrogen. The lab is named the SAFE(TI) Lab (the Structural Assessment of Future Energy Transport Infrastructure Laboratory). Hydrogen tends to reduce the ductility of steels via hydrogen embrittlement, therefore causing severe consequences when introduced to transmission pipelines. This project provides a test laboratory for quantifying the effects of hydrogen embrittlement on line pipe steels at specific hydrogen partial pressures. The lab acts as a critical component in developing fracture control plans for existing and future transmission pipelines containing hydrogen/methane blends.

The objectives of this project include:

  • purchase and deployment of a universal testing machine capable of deforming specimens at very slow strain-rates
  • design and fitting of a pressure vessel capable of creating a hydrogen environment with partial pressures up to 137 bar
  • set up of a lab with all safety measures accounted for when testing with hydrogen gas
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Commencement / End Date September 2020 to January 2024
Outcomes / Impact

The lab centralises testing of hydrogen’s effect on steels, including permeation testing, high strain rate testing and fatigue testing of line pipe steels intended for the transmission network. The lab allows for researchers and industry to explore the limits of existing pipeline networks for their maximum potential to transport pressurised hydrogen/methane blends. The lab also serves as a springboard for future projects requiring mechanical testing of specimens exposed to hydrogen gas and is critical to the development of fracture control models which will be incorporated in Australian Standards.

Partners University of Wollongong, GPA Engineering, Jemena, APA Group, Bao Australia
Research Contact

Douglas Proud

Research & Utilisation Program Coordinator