This paper presents a comprehensive finite element model for the numerical simulation of Hydrogen Induced Cracking (HIC) in steel pipelines exposed to sulphurous compounds, such as hydrogen sulphide (H2S). The model is able to mimic the pressure build-up mechanism related to the recombination of atomic hydrogen into hydrogen gas within the crack cavity. In addition, the strong couplings between non-Fickian hydrogen diffusion, pressure build-up and crack extension are accounted for. In order to enhance the predictive capabilities of the proposed model, problem boundary conditions are based on actual in-field operating parameters, such as pH and partial pressure of H 2S. The computational results reported herein show that, during the extension phase, the propagating crack behaves like a trap attracting more hydrogen, and that the hydrostatic stress field at the crack tip speed-up HIC related crack initiation and growth. In addition, HIC is reduced when the pH increases and the partial pressure of H2S decreases. Furthermore, the relation between the crack growth rate and (i) the initial crack radius and position, (ii) the pipe wall thickness and (iii) the fracture toughness, is also evaluated. Numerical results agree well with experimental data retrieved from the literature. Copyright © 2012, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Fuel Technology
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment