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CTOA Measurements of Welds in X100 Pipeline Steel



Elizabeth S. Drexler, Philippe P. Darcis, Christopher N. McCowan, John M. Treinen, Avigdor Shtechman, Roni Reuven, Thomas A. Siewert, Robert Smith, J. Merritt, Joseph D. McColskey


A suite of tests characterizing X100 pipeline steels was initiated at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder. Part of the test matrix included testing the toughness of the base metal, welds, and heat-affected zones (HAZ) using modified double cantilever beam specimens for crack tip opening angle (CTOA) testing. The thickness of the test section was either 3 or 8 mm. Girth welds, perpendicular to the growing crack, and seam welds and their HAZ, parallel with the crack, were tested with a crosshead displacement rate of 0.02 mm/s (with the exception of one girth weld specimen for each thickness, which were tested at 0.002 mm/s). Analysis of the data reveals some general differences among the weld specimens. The tests where the crack ran perpendicular to the girth weld demonstrated changes in CTOA and crack growth rate as the crack moved through the base metal, HAZ, and weld material. We observed the values for CTOA increasing and the crack propagation slowing as the crack moved through the weld and approached the fusion line. The stress field appears to be strongly influenced by the thin HAZ, the fusion line, and the tougher base material. Consequently, the CTOA of the HAZ associated with the girth weld was larger than the CTOA of the seam-weld HAZ. It was not possible to obtain CTOA data for the seam weld, with the crack parallel within the weld, because the crack immediately diverted out of the stronger weld material into the weaker HAZ. CTOA values from both girth welds and seam-weld HAZ were smaller than those of the base material. The 8-mm thick specimens consistently produced larger CTOA values than their 3-mm counterparts, introducing the possibility that there may be limitations to CTOA as a material property. Further tests are needed to determine if a threshold thickness exists, below which the constraints and stress field are sufficiently changed to affect the CTOA value.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the 7th International Pipeline Conference
Conference Dates
September 29-October 3, 2008
Conference Location


crack tip opening angle, CTOA, girth weld, heat affected zone, pipeline steel, seam weld, X100


Drexler, E. , Darcis, P. , McCowan, C. , Treinen, J. , Shtechman, A. , Reuven, R. , Siewert, T. , Smith, R. , Merritt, J. and McColskey, J. (2008), CTOA Measurements of Welds in X100 Pipeline Steel, Proceedings of the 7th International Pipeline Conference, Calgary, -1, [online], (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created October 3, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017