Effect of inter-critically reheating temperature on microstructure and properties of simulated inter-critically reheated coarse grained heat affected zone in X70 steel
This study investigated the influence of the inter-critical reheating temperature on the microstructure and mechanical properties of a coarse grained heat affected zone (CGHAZ) in an API 5L grade X70 pipeline steel seam weld. A Gleeble 3500 thermo-mechanical simulator was employed to duplicate particular weld thermal cycles in order to accurately assess specific regions of the weld HAZ. Detailed microstructural analysis, including investigation of the martensite-austenite (M-A) constituent, was performed using optical microscope (OM), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and selective etching techniques. It is shown that the fracture toughness of the CGHAZ is significantly reduced following exposure to a subsequent inter-critical thermal cycle. Fracture toughness gradually improves as the inter-critical temperature is increased, but does not return to the value of the original CGHAZ due to the presence of isolated large M-A particles and coarse microstructure. Significance of M-A particles to the HAZ fracture toughness is first related to the location of particles along prior austenite grain boundaries, followed by the size of individual M-A particles.