Fatigue of X65 steel in the sour corrosive environment – a novel experimentation and analysis method for predicting fatigue crack initiation life from corrosion pits

Farnoosh Farhad, David Smyth-Boyle, Xiang Zhang

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)
    77 Downloads (Pure)


    Oil and gas pipelines manufactured from API-5L Grade X65 steel are generally subjected to cyclic loading and their internal surfaces are frequently exposed to corrosive sour fluids. Exposure of pipelines to these environments often leads to localised corrosion (pitting) and decreased fatigue life. Corrosion pits are geometrical discontinuities that may promote fatigue cracking by acting as stress raisers. In order to optimise asset inspection and repair scheduling, it is important to understand the fatigue behaviour of X65 steel and in particular, the ability to predict the crack initiation from corrosion pit. To achieve this level of understanding, conducting fatigue tests in an environmental condition replicating the field environment is important. This paper presents the test protocol and results of environmental fatigue testing using bespoke laboratory apparatus to undertake in-situ corrosion fatigue tests in a sour corrosive environment under uniaxial loading. The environment selected represent processes that are likely to occur at internal surfaces of oil and gas pipelines exposed to production fluids. The tests were carried out on smooth samples to obtain S-N curve in this specific environment as well as on pre-pitted samples. An electrochemical method is used to create corrosion pits on the samples. Also, a model is proposed to predict the crack initiation life from corrosion pit, using a local stress-based technique, which has been validated by experimental test results. Post-test fractography was carried out by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The performance of our approach is demonstrated. The innovation is anticipated to encourage other workers to employ similar small-scale tests requiring toxic and challenging test environments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1195-1208
    Number of pages14
    JournalFatigue and Fracture of Engineering Materials and Structures
    Issue number5
    Early online date3 Feb 2021
    Publication statusPublished - May 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.


    • Fatigue crack initiation
    • Environmental fatigue testing
    • Pitting corrosion
    • X65 steel
    • Life prediction
    • Oil and gas pipelines
    • life prediction
    • fatigue crack initiation
    • environmental fatigue testing
    • oil and gas pipelines
    • pitting corrosion

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Mechanics of Materials
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Materials Science(all)


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