A subsea fastener made of Alloy 716 (UNS N07716) experienced a brittle fracture in service. The investigations described herein suggested that the failure was caused by hydrogen stress cracking (HSC), thus, adding to the number of reported HSC incidents on precipitation hardened nickel-based alloys over the last two decades. Incremental step loading testing on notched tensile specimens showed a net section threshold stress of <44% of the fastener material’s actual yield strength. X-ray diffraction revealed that the grain boundary (GB) precipitates were predominantly the σ-related precipitate F phase, which was suggested to have a detrimental effect on HSC resistance—even in low amounts. The low amounts of GB precipitates were indicated by a low degree of sensitization in the double-loop electrochemical potentiokinetic reactivation test. Two additional heats from the same alloy were investigated to elucidate the effect of different GB precipitates on HSC resistance and to evaluate quality control methods that are discussed in the research community.

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