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WELDABILITY

The weldability of a material refers to its ability to be welded.


Many metals and thermoplastics can be welded, but some
are easier to weld than others.

It greatly influences weld quality and is an important factor in


choosing which welding process to use
Weldability is simply a measure of how easy it is to make a
weld in a particular material without cracks. If it is easy to avoid
cracking, the material is deemed 'weldable'.
For a weld to be truly successful, however, it is also
necessary for it to have adequate mechanical properties, and
to be able to withstand degradation in service (e.g. corrosion
damage).

Thus, weldability is a measure of how easy it is


to:
Obtain crack free welds
Achieve adequate mechanical properties
Produce welds resistant to service
degradation.
Weldability is not a fixed parameter for a given
material, but will depend on joint details, service
requirements, and welding processes and
facilities available.
This variability in weldability is illustrated in the
following examples:

Steel1

Steel2

0.16

0.19

0.027

<0.002

0.011

0.021

Si

0.20

0.28

Mn

0.61

1.38

Ni

0.03

0.01

Cr

0.02

0.02

Mo

<0.01

<0.005

<0.01

<0.01

Cu

0.03

0.005

Nb

<0.005

0.024

Ti

<0.01

0.002

Al

<0.001

0.047

CEIIW

0.27

0.43

Pcm

0.20

0.27

CEN

0.27

0.43

Example 1
Which of these two C-Mn steels is most weldable?

The answer clearly depends on


which type of cracking is of most
concern:
Low restraint fillet onto thick steel
- Hydrogen crack, steel 1 more weldable
Restrained high dilution MIG nozzle weld
- solidification crack, steel 2 more
weldable
Full penetration highly restrained T butt
- lamellar tearing, steel 2 more weldable.

Example 2
Which of these materials is most weldable? (welding a fairly thin walled
(~3mm) pipe)
Commercially pure titanium
316 L austenitic stainless steel
22% Cr duplex stainless steel
The answer will depend on an individual's experience, and available
6%facilities.
Mo high alloy austenitic stainless steel
The titanium expert knows that it is one of the easiest materials to weld
- but he is very familiar with very good back purges, and the use of a
trailing shield.
The expert in austenitic stainless steel would see this level of control to
be very difficult. He knows to watch out for solidification cracking, and is
careful to check the penetration characteristics of each cast, and does
not consider that these pose a significant risk.
An expert in duplex stainless steels will tell you that it is much easier to
weld than austenitic stainless steel, because there is no real risk of
solidification cracking, and less of a variable penetration problem. But
now, you generally need a filler.
High alloy austenitic steel is similar to duplex, expect that with a Ni
based filler there is a risk of microfissuring.

Example 3

Consider Example 2, but now add that the weld will be


operating in an acid, chloride containing environment at about
30C. Had the concern been purely about freedom from
cracking, then duplex and titanium would have been on an
equal footing, with the high alloy austenitic being the least
weldable because of the risk of solidification cracking. Now,
however, the duplex stainless steel becomes more of a
problem, as it becomes necessary to work within quite a
narrow heat input window. It can be difficult to pass procedure
qualification tests involving corrosion tests with duplex
stainless steels.

Example 4

Consider examples 2 and 3, but now add a toughness


requirement. Now titanium is not so weldable, as near perfect
shielding is necessary to avoid toughness degradation.

Example 5
Is AISI 4130 weldable?
The composition range for AISI 4130 is:
0.27-0.34
C
S

<0.040

<0.035

Si

0.15-0.35

Mn

0.35-0.60

Cr

0.80-1.15

Mo

0.15-0.25

It is not possible to answer this


question without knowing the
intended service. The answer
would be different for a gear
component, to operate in a warm
oil bath, and a piece of wellhead
equipment to carry sour gas.

Weldability of materials- Steels

In arc welding, as the weld metal needs mechanical properties to


match the parent metal, the welder must avoid forming defects
in the weld.
Imperfections are principally caused by:
poor welder technique;
insufficient measures to accommodate the material or welding
process;
high stress in the component.
Techniques to avoid imperfections such as lack of fusion and
slag inclusions, which result from poor welder techniques, are
relatively well known. However, the welder should be aware that
the material itself may be susceptible to formation of
imperfections caused by the welding process.
In the materials section of the Job Knowledge for Welders,
guidelines are given on material weldability and precautions to
be taken to avoid defects.

Material types
In terms of weldability, commonly used materials can be divided into the following
types:
Steels
Stainless steels
Aluminium and its alloys
Nickel and its alloys
Copper and its alloys
Titanium and its alloys
Cast iron

Fusion welding processes can be used to weld most alloys of these


materials, in a wide range of thickness.
When imperfections are formed, they will be located in either the
weld metal or the parent material immediately adjacent to the weld,
called the heat affected zone (HAZ).
As chemical composition of the weld metal determines the risk of
imperfections, the choice of filler metal may be crucial not only in
achieving adequate mechanical properties and corrosion resistance
but also in producing a sound weld.
HAZ imperfections are caused by the adverse effect of the heat
generated during welding and can only be avoided by strict
adherence to the welding procedure.

Imperfections in welds
Commonly used steels are considered to
be readily welded and can be at risk from
the imperfections:

porosity;
solidification cracking;
hydrogen cracking;
reheat cracking.
lamellar tearing

Using modern steels and consumables,


these types of defects are less likely to
arise.

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Welding Metallurgy and Weldability of Stainless Steels


by John C. Lippold (Author), Damian J. Kotecki (Author)

New developments in advanced welding

Edited by N Ahmed, CSIRO, Australia

- discusses the changes in advanced welding


techniques
- looks at new technologies
- explores mechanical and structural
engineering examples
summarises some of the most important of
these and their applications in mechanical
and structural engineering.

US $275.00

begins by reviewing advances in gas metal


arc welding, tubular cored wired welding and
gas tungsten arc welding.
A number of chapters discuss developments
in laser welding, including laser beam
welding and Nd:YAG laser welding.
Other new techniques such as electron beam
welding, explosion welding and ultrasonic
welding are also analysed.
The book concludes with a review of current
research into health and safety issues.
This is a standard guide for the welding
community

Contents
Gas metal arc welding
Tubular cored wire welding
Gas tungsten arc welding
Laser beam welding
Nd: YAG laser welding
New developments in laser welding
Electron beam welding
Developments in explosion welding technology
Ultrasonic metal welding
Occupational health and safety