This paper focuses on the investigation, assessment and comparison of a 420 MPa structural steel Charpy (CVN and pre-cracked) and fatigue crack growth rate test at different temperature spanning from room temperature to −120°C. Since weldments constitute the most probable location for fatigue-related failures, the material have been weld simulated in order to isolate and represent its Coarse Grained Heat Affected Zone. Results are analyzed and compared and an attempt to relate the Fatigue Ductile to Brittle transition (FDBT) and the static Ductile to brittle transition (DBT) temperatures is attempted in order to exploit the possibility to avoid or limit the most expensive and time consuming crack growth rate testing.


In the last years, a great push for oil and gas explorations in the Arctic regions (Gautier, Bird, Charpentier, Grantz, Houseknecht, Klett, Moore, Pitman, Schenk and Schuenemeyer, 2009) together with the increase possibility of an alternative and more direct Asia-North Europe connection kept the interest of oil and gas and maritime industry high. The development of oil and gas fields in the arctic brings to the table several challenges due to the cold and harsh climate; when it comes to the use of structural ferritic steels, particular concerns relate to their low-temperature properties. More precisely, when it comes to structural integrity of offshore structures built with ferritic steels, Ductile to Brittle Transition (DBT) and Fatigue Ductile to Brittle Transition (FDBT) needs to be carefully assessed in order to avoid unexpected catastrophic failures.

It is long known that, as ferritic steels operates at lower temperatures, they undergo a transition from a ductile shear-dominated to a brittle cleavage dominated fracture mode. This phenomenon is known as Ductile to Brittle Transition (DBT) and it is commonly quantified through the typical fracture mechanics parameters, i.e. CTOD (Crack Tip Opening Displacement), Charpy impact energy Cv, KIc or J-integral values. A schematic is presented in Fig 1.

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