Fractured Marine Riser
Visual examination, optical and scanning electron microscopy were used to determine the cause of failure in the connector groove of a marine riser coupling. The specified steel was AISI 4142 (0.40 to 0.45% C; 0.75 to 1.00% Mn; 0.20 to 0.35% Si; 0.80 to 1.10% Cr; 0.15 to 0.25% Mo) normalized from 9000C. Microscopic examination revealed the crack's initiation point and subsequent propagation. SEM examination of chemically stripped corrosion showed that corrosion fatigue and stress corrosion might have contributed to the initial slow crack growth. Impact tests revealed a fracture transition temperature in excess of 1000C. The sequence of events leading to failure was detailed. The main recommendation was to quench and temper existing couplings and to use a lower carbon quenched and tempered steel for new couplings.