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The genesis of failure of 6.1 mm thick electric resistance welded API 5L X-46 pipes during pretesting at a pressure equivalent to 90% of specified minimum yield strength was investigated. Cracks were found to initiate on the outer surface of the pipes in the fusion zone and propagate along the through-thickness direction. The presence of extensive decarburization and formation of a soft ferrite band within the fusion zone may have contributed to the nucleation of the cracks. Crack propagation was aided by the presence of exogenous inclusions entrapped within the fusion zone. Analysis of these inclusions confirmed the presence of Fe, Si, Ca, and O, indicating slag entrapment to be the most probable culprit.

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