RP3.1-10: Hydrogen embrittlement of pipeline steels, subcritical and critical crack growth

Executive Summary

This project elucidates the hydrogen embrittlement manifestations of gas pipeline steels by using electrolytic (cathodic) hydrogen charging combined with mechanical testing.The research addresses the current knowledge gaps around the sub-critical crack growth (formation) and critical crack growth (initiation) of steel pipes in hydrogen environemnt. The research evaluates:

  • the possibility of sub-critical crack growth in the tested pipeline steels, and the conditions for the initiation of cracks,
  • the dependence of the yield strength and ultimate tensile strength of the tested steels,
  • the dependence of the steel toughness on hydrogen concentration,
  • the permissible safe operating pressure for each gas transmission pipeline, and tolerable defect sizes
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Commencement / End Date August 2020 to October 2024
Outcomes / Impact

Gas transmission pipeline operators need to know the safe operating conditions for pipelines carrying hydrogen – in particular, the permissible safe pressure, and tolerable defect sizes. Otherwise unexpected fractures can occur, with significant collateral damage.The project contributes to the determination of the safe operating limits of gas pipelines, and may allow for a less conservative approach than current standards for operation of hydrogen pressure vessels.

Partners University of Queensland, Griffith University, AGIG, SEA Gas, Jemena, APA Group
Research Contact

Douglas Proud

Research & Utilisation Program Coordinator