Hydrogen cracking and fracture of galvanized transmission tower bolts

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 812, 1979

J.C. THORNLEY, Research and Productivity Council Fredericton, New Brunswick

Service failures of seemingly conventional galvanized bolts, in normal operation, on transmission towers in New Brunswick have been found to be the result of hydrogen cracking. In both these cases, similar failures elsewhere can be avoided by suitable clauses in the purchase specifications.In the first case described, the manufacturing procedure was responsible for strengthening and embrittling a standard, soft, constructional steel. In this case, a fracture mechanics analysis predicted critical crack depths for final fracture very similar to those found in practice. This case reveals an apparent cooperative connection between hydrogen embrittlement and strain ageing in plain carbon steels.In the second case described, the steel was simply a high-strength steel which should not have been made into galvanized bolts.
Keywords: Cracking, Hydrogen cracking, Fracturing, Steels, Galvanized steel, Bolts, Transmission towers, Corrosion.