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Best Practice

SABP-W-001 31 March 2008


Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron
Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee

Saudi Aramco DeskTop Standards


Table of Contents

1 Introduction..................................................... 2
2 Conflicts and Deviations................................. 2
3 References..................................................... 2
4 Types of Cast Irons and Weldability.............. 3
5 Welding General............................................. 6

Attachment 1....................................................... 10
Attachment 2....................................................... 11

Previous Issue: New Next Planned Update: TBD


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Primary contact: Niemeyer, Dennis Charles on 966-3-8736700

CopyrightSaudi Aramco 2008. All rights reserved.


Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

1 Introduction

1.1 Scope and Purpose

Within Saudi Aramco operations sometimes there is a need to weld cast iron
materials. This is normally for the repair of cast iron components. It is not
unusual to have broken cast iron parts given its brittle nature. Cast irons can be
difficult to weld and there are some types of cast iron that are impossible to
weld. Cast iron is not like the normal carbon or low alloy steels that we are used
to welding. The welding of cast irons is not covered by our normal welding
procedures for pressure vessels or piping.

This Best Practice is intended to give guidance for determining which cast irons
can be welded and how to weld them.

1.2 Disclaimer

The use of this Best Practice does not relieve the engineer from his
responsibility or duty to confirm and verify the accuracy of any information
presented herein. The use of this information or material does not guarantee
results that will satisfy any applicable requirements of Saudi Aramco Standards.
CSD assumes no responsibility or liability whatsoever for the misuse of the
information in this document. This Best practice is intended as guidelines and
shall not be considered as replacement for the Mandatory Saudi Aramco
Engineering Requirements. Saudi Aramco is a registered trademark of the
Saudi Arabian Oil Company. Copyright, Saudi Aramco, 2008.

2 Conflicts and Deviations

In the event of a conflict between this Best Practice and other Mandatory Saudi Aramco
Engineering Requirement, the Mandatory Saudi Aramco Engineering Requirement shall
govern.

3 References

This Best Practice is based on the latest edition of the references below, unless
otherwise noted.
1. American Welding Society WELDING HANDBOOK, 8th Edition, Volume 4,
Materials and Applications - Part 2
2. ANSI/AWS D11.2-89 (R2006) Guide for Welding Cast Irons
3. American Welding Society, Welding of Cast Iron, A Selection of Papers

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

4. American Society for Metals, Metals Handbook, 9th Edition, Volume 6, Welding,
Brazing and Soldering
5. American Society for Metals, Metals Handbook, 10th Edition, Volume 1,
Properties and Selection: Irons, Steels and High-Performance Alloys
6. The Lincoln Electric Company, the Procedure Handbook of Arc Welding
7. The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation, Metals and How to Weld Them
8. ESAB, Online Handbook, Welding Cast Iron
9. Kiser, Samuel D. and Northey, Michael, Welding Cast Iron, Canadian Welding
Association Journal, Fall 2005

4 Types of Cast Irons and Weldability

Cast irons are the most complex alloy family used in industry. They have much higher
carbon, silicon and manganese alloying than the structural steels that we are used to
seeing. See the table below for a general chemistry.

General Cast Iron Chemistry


carbon 1.7 to 4.5%
silicon 0.5 to 3.0%
manganese 0.2 to 1.3%
phosphorus 0.8% maximum
sulfur 0.2% maximum
Molybdenum, nickel, chromium, cerium,
copper for specific properties

The metallurgical structure of cast irons is also much different that structural steels.
Cast irons basically have a matrix with a carbon-rich phase distributed throughout the
matrix. The carbon rich phase is either in the form of Graphite (pure carbon) or Fe3C
(cementite). Both of these are brittle phases. The mechanical properties and
weldability of the cast iron are largely determined by the matrix. Cast iron is a general
term that applies to a wide range of cast materials. In general, there are four categories
of cast iron: white iron, gray iron, malleable iron, and ductile (or nodular) iron.

4.1 White Iron

White iron is a cast iron that does not contain any graphite. The carbon
combines with iron, to form cementite, Fe3C. This is a hard and brittle
component and is distributed throughout the casting matrix. This makes the

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

overall material brittle. It is called white iron because the fracture surfaces when
broken appear white. All types of White Iron are considered unweldable.

4.2 Gray Iron

Gray cast iron gets its name from the color of the fracture surface. The
microstructure of gray iron is uncombined carbon as interconnected graphite
flakes in a matrix of ferrite or pearlite. The matrix will determine the ductility
of the material. Gray iron castings are the most common form of cast iron and
there are many classes or grades depending on the matrix, chemistry and details
of the graphite flakes. Because of the wide range of microstructures in the Gray
Iron range there is a wide range of weldability. Gray cast iron generally has
better weldability than white Iron but not as good as cast irons that have the
graphite in round nodules as with the malleable Iron and Ductile Iron.

4.3 Malleable Iron

Malleable iron is heat-treated white iron in which the Fe3C (cementite) are
converted to graphite nodules when annealed at a temperature above 870C for
periods greater than 6 h. Irregularly shaped graphite nodules are precipitated
and grow in the solid iron. The malleable iron produced by annealing is either
ferritic or pearlitic malleable iron depending on the annealing cycle. Whiteheart
and Blackheart are forms of malleable iron. Malleable iron has good
weldability.

4.4 Ductile (Nodular) Iron

Ductile and gray iron are similar with respect to carbon and silicon contents and
in terms of general foundry practice for the production of iron castings. Ductile
iron because of its lower sulfur and cleaner conditions and additional alloying
has graphite that forms into spheres during solidification. Ductile iron is also
referred to as spheroidal-graphite cast iron. Ductile has higher strength and
ductility than gray or malleable iron. Ductile iron has the best weldability of the
cast irons.

4.6 Other Types of Cast Iron

After the four basic grades of cast irons and the sub variations of these there are
a large number of other specialty grades of cast irons for corrosion, high
temperature and abrasion resistance. There is compacted graphite which is
similar to both gray and ductile iron. There are also alloy cast irons, some of
which can be stainless steel. The repair of these is not covered in this best
practice.

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

4.7 How to Identify the Type of Cast Iron

The welding and brazing procedures that are given in this best practice are
"general" and are designed to work for a wide range of "weldable" grades of cast
iron. The easiest way to identify the type of cast iron is from the drawing or
manufacturer furnished information (see Tables 1 and 2). If this is not available
it is only possible to identify the type of cast iron by sending a sample to the lab.
Both the chemistry and microstructure must be checked. Hardness can be used
to give an indication as to the ability to weld the material. White cast irons will
typically be over 400 Brinell hardness. Gray cast irons will typically have
hardness less than 300 Brinell.

Table 1 Classification of Cast Iron by Commercial Designation,


Microstructure, and Fracture
Commercial (a)
Carbon-rich phase Matrix Fracture Final structure after
designation
Gray iron Lamellar graphite P Gray Solidification
Solidification or
Ductile iron Spheroidal graphite F, P, A Silver-gray
heat treatment
Compacted Compacted
F, P Gray Solidification
graphite iron vermicular graphite
Solidification and
White iron Fe3C P, M White (b)
heat treatment
Mottled iron Lamellar Gr + Fe3C P Mottled Solidification
Malleable iron Temper graphite F, P Silver-gray Heat treatment
Austempered
Spheroidal graphite At Silver-gray Heat treatment
ductile iron
Notes:
(a) F, ferrite; P, pearlite; A, austenite; M, martensite; At, austempered (bainite).
(b) White irons are not usually heat treated, except for stress relief and to continue
austenite transformation.

Table 2 Types of Cast Iron by Code Specifications

White Iron
ASTM A532

Gray Iron
ASTM A48
ASTM A74
ASTM A126
ASTM A159
ASTM 319
SAE J431

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

For some specifications the Grade or class can indicate the tensile strength in Ksi

Ductile Iron
SAE J434C
ASTM A536
ASTM A716
ASTM A716
ASTM A746
For some specifications the Grade or class can indicate the "tensile strength-Yield
strength Elongation" in Ksi

Maleable Iron
ASTM A47
ASTM A197
ASTM A220
ASTM A602
SAE J158a

5 Welding General

There are a wide range of cast irons with varying weldability. For the weldable cast
irons there are two techniques that can be used. There is a "High Temperature" and a
"Low Temperature" technique. With the "high temperature" technique, the hard
constituents form in the HAZ of the cast iron. These are then tempered by a post weld
heat treatment. With the "Low Temperature" technique the amount of the hard phases
are limited by maintaining a low temperature.

5.1 High Temperature

This is the preferred method of repair and should be used in all cases unless it is
completely impossible to perform the heat treatment of the entire piece.
Because of casting size, it may not be possible to preheat and perform the
PWHT of the entire casting. In these cases the "Low Temperature" method
must be used. Weld using a low current, to minimize admixture, and residual
stresses.

Preheat the casting to 300C to 650C. Don't heat over 650C degrees since that
will put the material into the critical temperature range and cracking can occur.
Preheat the part slowly and uniformly. It is welded in a narrow temperature
range. After welding raise the part to the PWHT temperature without allowing
it to cool to below the preheat temperature. Perform the PWHT and allow the
part to slowly cool. The purpose of this is to allow the hard constituents to form
and then temper them before cooling.

Peening of weld beads during welding can be helpful in reducing the stresses
and preventing cracking. Wrapping the casting in an insulating blanket, or

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

burying it in dry sand, will help slow cooling rates, and reduce cracking
tendencies.

5.2 Low Temperature

The size of the casting, or other circumstances, may require that the repair be
made without preheat. For this method the casting is preheated to a low
temperature (50C minimum) for the entire welding operation. The low
temperature is used to prevent the formation of the hard microstructure phases.
Preheat may be needed in areas that are not to be welded to but the weld into
compression after welding; see the discussion of preheat below. Each weld bead
must cool to about 95C before subsequent deposits are made.

Never heat the casting so hot that you cannot place your bare hand on it. Make
short, approximately 1" long welds. Peening after welding is important with this
technique. Allow the weld and the casting to cool. Do not accelerate the rate of
cooling with water or compressed air. It may be possible to weld in another area
of the casting while the previous weld cools. All craters should be filled.
Whenever possible, the beads should be deposited in the same direction, and it is
preferred that the ends of parallel beads not line up with each other. Sealing
Cracks because of the nature of cast iron, tiny cracks tend to appear next to the
weld even when good procedures are followed. If the casting must be water
tight, this can be a problem. However, leaking can usually be eliminated with
some sort of sealing compound or they may rust shut very soon after being
returned to service.

5.3 Welding Electrode Selection

The welding will be by the SMAW process. The first choice in the welding
electrode is ENiFe-CI. The second choice electrode is ENi-CI. The electrode
size will normally be 2.4 mm or 3.2 mm.

5.4 Arc Welding Joint Designs

The root opening should be sufficient to permit complete fusion between the
root faces and the backing, if used. When practical, thick sections should be
welded from both sides using either a double-V-groove or double-U-groove
preparation. When repairing cracked castings, a hole can be drilled at the end of
each crack or a small transverse weld can be applied to prevent propagation. In
actual practice, the exact end of the crack is difficult to locate for placement of a
drilled hole; whereas precise placement is less critical for a small cross weld
near the visible end of the crack. Sufficient cast iron should be removed to
eliminate the crack and provide for manipulation of the welding electrode during
repair welding. For V-groove welds, an included angle of 60 to 80 degrees is
suitable.

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

5.5 Base Metal Preparation

5.5.1 The surfaces adjacent to surfaces to be welded should be free of foreign


material. The as-cast surfaces should be removed by grinding. It is
essential that the casting skin and any ground surfaces be wiped with
mineral spirits to remove residual surface graphite prior to welding.
Residual graphite inhibits wetting and must be removed to ensure
complete joining of parts.

5.5.2 Castings that have been in service are often impregnated with oil or
grease that can be removed by using solvents or steam cleaning. Where
possible, the casting should be heated uniformly to about 370C for 30
minutes using an oxy-fuel gas torch. When the alternative of localized
degassing is preferred, heat the weld area by depositing a weld pass
(usually very porous) and then removing it by grinding. This welding
and removal operation is repeated until the weld metal is sound. Then
the weld may be completed as specified in the welding procedure.

5.6 Welding Details

5.6.1 To minimize welding stresses, stringer beads should be used. Their


length should be 75 mm maximum. These passes should be alternated
along the area to be welded and not in a continuous pass as in normal
welding. Passes should be as small as possible without weaving. Heat
input should be as low as possible. It is best to use a larger electrode at a
lower current setting. The cast iron surface should be buttered prior to
filling the groove. (Attachment 2)

5.6.2 Melting more of the casting than is necessary should be avoided.

5.6.3 The arc should be struck in the weld groove -never on the casting. Arc
length should be kept as short as possible. Welding current needs to be
reduced about 25% for the vertical position.

5.6.4 PEENING should be used to reduce the shrinkage stresses in the weld.
See the following section on peening.

5.7 Peening

Peening is mechanical working of the weld bead using impact blows to relieve
stresses and prevent cracking. Ball peen hammers generally are used or round
nosed punches. Do not use a chisel or other sharp tool. Each weld pass induces
shrinkage stresses that approach the ultimate tensile strength of the base
material. Proper peening relieves those stresses until the next pass is made.
Each weld bead should be peened before the metal cools to below about 350C.

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

Peening must be performed correctly to stretch the hot weld metal deposit. Too
little peening will not adequately relieve shrinkage stresses but severe peening
may cause cracking.

Revision Summary
31 March 2008 New Saudi Aramco Best Practice.

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

ATTACHMENT 1

EXAMPLE OF USING PREHEAT TO REDUCE THE STRESSES ON THE WELD AREA


WHEN USING THE LOW HEAT INPUT METHOD OF WELD REPAIR

An Item has a crack as indicated in the sketch.

Heat the appropriate areas to 300C. This will


cause the crack to open slightly.

Make the weld using the Low Heat welding Procedure, LCI

Allow the weld and the preheated areas to cool slowly


together. This will reduce the tensile stresses on the
weld and chances of cracking

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

ATTACHMENT 2

USING THE BUTTERING TECHNIQUE


TO MINIMIZE DILUTION OF THE WELD AND BASE METAL

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

SAUDI ARAMCO WELDING PROCEDURE SPECIFICATION

WPS No.: HCI


Revision No. 0
Page 1 of 2
By: DCN
SCOPE: High preheat repair of cast iron with SMAW

Welding Processes: SMAW PQR: None


BASE METAL: Gray, nodular or ductile cast iron Filler Material Spec. No. (SFA): AWS A5.15
Material Specification (typical) AWS No. (Class.): ENiFe-CI or ENi-CI
Size of Filler Metals: 2.4 and 3.2mm
BM Thickness Range: NA Max. Deposit Thickness: as required
Pipe Diameter Range: NA SAW Electrode-Flux (Class.): NA
Flux Trade Name: NA
SAMS S/N:

PREHEAT POST WELD HEAT TREATMENT: Required


Minimum Preheat Temp.: 300C to 650C (see (see Note 2)
note 1)
Maximum Interpass Temp. 750C Temperature Range: 620 675C

Time Range: 1 hour per 25mm of thickness


Shielding Gas (Type) NA Heating Rate Cooling Rate: 55C per hour
maximum
Flow Rate NA
Gas Backing (Type) NA POSITION
Gas Backing Flow Rate NA Groove: All
Welding Progression: All
TECHNIQUE & ELECTRICAL
CHARACTERISTICS
Tungsten Electrode Size and Type: NA Orifice or Gas Cup Size: NA
String or Weave Bead Stringer Multiple or Single Passes: multiple
Method of Backgouging: grinding or Contact Tube to Work Distance: NA
gouging
Initial & Interpass Cleaning (Brushing,
Grinding, etc.) See note 4

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

SAUDI ARAMCO WELDING WPS No.: HCI


PROCEDURE SPECIFICATION Revision No. 0
Page 2 of 2

JOINT SKETCH Bevel angle 60

Cracks will be ground to about of their depth,


welded and backgrind and weld the back side

LAYE PROCESS FILLER SIZE POL. VOLT AMP COMMENT


R METAL (mm)
All SMAW ENiFe-CI 2.4 DCEP 21 - 23 60 - 100 Passes are to be kept
as small as possible
All SMAW ENiFe-CI 3.2 DCEP 22 - 24 80 - 150

NOTES:
1. The preheat temperature may be selected based on the type and chemical composition of the
cast iron. If this is unknown, then the preheat will be 400C minimum. The entire casting must
be heated uniformly to the preheat temperature.
2. PWHT shall be performed immediately after the completion of welding. The casting shall not
cool to below the preheat temperature prior to PWHT.
3. The area of the casting shall be cleaned of surface and absorbed oil and contaminants. See
the best practice for cast iron welding.
4. Each weld pass will be peened. See the best practice for cast iron welding.

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

SAUDI ARAMCO WELDING PROCEDURE SPECIFICATION

WPS No.: LCI


Revision No. 0
Page 1 of 2
By: DCN
SCOPE: Low preheat repair of cast iron with SMAW

Welding Processes: SMAW PQR: None


BASE METAL: Gray, nodular or ductile cast iron Filler Material Spec. No. (SFA): AWS A5.15
Material Specification (typical) AWS No. (Class.): ENiFe-CI or ENi-CI
Size of Filler Metals: 2.4 and 3.2mm
BM Thickness Range: NA Max. Deposit Thickness: as required
Pipe Diameter Range: NA SAW Electrode-Flux (Class.): NA
Flux Trade Name: NA
SAMS S/N:

PREHEAT POST WELD HEAT TREATMENT: None


Minimum Preheat Temp.: 50C (see note 1)
Maximum Interpass Temp. 95C Temperature Range: NA

Time Range: NA
Shielding Gas (Type) NA Heating Rate Cooling Rate: NA
Flow Rate NA
Gas Backing (Type) NA POSITION
Gas Backing Flow Rate NA Groove: All
Welding Progression: All
TECHNIQUE & ELECTRICAL
CHARACTERISTICS
Tungsten Electrode Size and Type: NA Orifice or Gas Cup Size: NA
String or Weave Bead Stringer Multiple or Single Passes: multiple
Method of Backgouging: grinding or Contact Tube to Work Distance: NA
gouging
Initial & Interpass Cleaning (Brushing,
Grinding, etc.) See note 4

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Document Responsibility: Welding Standards Committee SABP-W-001
Issue Date: 31 March 2008
Next Planned Update: TBD Best Practice for the Welding of Cast Iron

SAUDI ARAMCO WELDING WPS No.: LCI


PROCEDURE SPECIFICATION Revision No. 0
Page 15 of 15

JOINT SKETCH Bevel angle 60

Cracks will be ground to about of their depth,


welded and backgrind and weld the back side

LAYER PROCESS FILLER SIZE POL. VOLT AMP COMMENT


METAL (mm)
All SMAW ENiFe-CI 2.4 DCEP 21 - 23 60 - 100 Passes are to be kept
All SMAW ENiFe-CI 3.2 DCEP 22 - 24 80 - 150 as small as possible

NOTES:
5. If there is evidence of cracking then this procedure cannot be used and the procedure HCI must
be used.
6. The area of the casting shall be cleaned of surface and absorbed oil and contaminants. See
the best practice for cast iron welding.
7. Each weld pass will be peened. See the best practice for cast iron welding.

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