Limited fatigue data exists for small-volume welded austenitic stainless steel components typically employed in hydrogen infrastructure due to the difficulty of testing these components with conventional specimen designs. To assess the fatigue performance of orbital tube welds of austenitic stainless steels, a hole-drilled tubular specimen was designed to produce a stress concentration in the center of the orbital weld. Fatigue life testing was performed on welded and non-welded 316L stainless steel hole-drilled tubular specimens, and the effects of hydrogen were evaluated by testing specimens with no added hydrogen and with internal hydrogen introduced through gaseous precharging. When accounting for the differences in flow stress caused by microstructural variations and the presence of internal hydrogen, the total fatigue life and fatigue crack initiation life of the welded and non-welded tubes were comparable and were reduced by internal hydrogen. In addition, the fatigue life results produced with the hole drilled tubular specimens were consistent with fatigue life data from circumferentially notched stainless steel specimens that have a similar elastic stress concentration factor. To better understand the mechanics of this specimen geometry, mechanics modeling was performed to compare the stress and strain distributions that develop at the stress concentration in the hole-drilled tubular and circumferentially notched specimens during fatigue cycling.

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