Tests on the fatigue crack growth rate were conducted on four pipeline steels, two of grade API 5L-X52 and two API 5L-X70. One X52 material was manufactured in the mid-1960s and the other was manufactured in 2011. The two X70 materials had a similar vintage and chemistry, but the microstructure differs. The fatigue tests were performed in 5.5 and 34 MPa pressurized hydrogen gas, at 1 Hz and (load ratio) R = 0.5. At high pressures of hydrogen and high values of the stress intensity factor range (ΔK) there is no difference in the fatigue crack growth rates (da/dN), regardless of strength or microstructure. At low values of ΔK, however, significant differences in the da/dN are observed. The older X52 material has a ferrite-pearlite microstructure; whereas, the modern X52 has a mixture of polygonal and acicular ferrites. The X70 materials are both predominantly polygonal ferrite, but one has small amounts (∼5%) of upper bainite, and the other has small amounts of pearlite (<2%) and acicular ferrite (∼5%). We discuss the fatigue test results with respect to the different microstructures, with particular emphasis on the low ΔK regime.

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