With global increases in clean energy demand, the natural gas is gaining in importance. Pipelines are the safest and most cost-effective way of transporting natural gas. Due to high transport volume and resulting high operation pressure, the demand for ultra-high strength steel grades such as X120 is very strong. As a result of the fact that these steels are produced by thermo-mechanical controlled processing, the welding process must be selected accordingly. Based on investigations, a high heat input such as by submerged arc welding process leads to softening in the weld metal and loss of strength whereas pure laser beam welding results in high cooling rates and deteriorate toughness of the weld metal. The objective of this research is to investigate the influence of heat input to mechanical properties of hybrid laser-arc welded pipeline steels of grade X120. Test specimens with a thickness of 20 mm could be welded without preheating in a single-pass with different welding velocities to observe the largest possible parameter window of the heat input. The achieved V-notch impact energy for hybrid laser-arc welded samples was 144±37 J at a testing temperature of -40 °C. With a tensile strength of 930±4 MPa the requirements of API 5L was achieved. To prevent gravity drop-outs at the slow welding speeds, an electromagnetic weld pool support system was used, which works contactless and is based on generating Lorentz forces. It was therefore possible to control the cooling rate in order to meet the requirements of the mechanical properties. By adapting the electromagnetic weld pool support to the laser and laser hybrid welding process, the application potential of these technologies for industrial implementation can be drastically increased.
Investigation of the mechanical properties of single-pass hybrid laser-arc welded thick X120 pipeline steel plates
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