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A case of continual product refinement stimulated by product failures was described. Brittle fracture of gas transmission line pipe steels occurred demonstrating a poor combination of materials, environment, manufacturing and installation problems, and loads. Initial efforts were concentrated towards decreasing the Charpy ductile-to-brittle transition temperature to avoid brittle fracture. It was subsequently revealed that the absorbed energy on the upper shelf of the Charpy energy-temperature curve was critical for arresting a moving crack. Both fracture initiation and fracture propagation were needed be controlled. It was concluded that improved steel processing procedures, chiefly hot-working temperature and deformation control, were also required to optimize microstructure and properties.

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