WTIA-Panel 1 – Guidance Note 6 PWHT – February 2003 Disclaimer appliesPage 2 of 10
Other industries such as Power Generationhave different considerations, and the stressdeveloped due to thermal expansion of pipework can take on a far greater significance than residual stress due towelding. It is interesting to note that it can be shown (1) by the use of the Larson-Miller parameter that residual stresses in non-postweld heat treated welds are almost fullyrelaxed after approximately 20,000 hours ata service temperature of 540
Post weld heat treatment will generallyresult in a modification of the microstructureof both the weld metal and heat affectedzone. With the exception of the 9Cr1Mo and12Cr1MoV materials, the microstructure of all other materials should contain a mixtureof ferrite and iron or alloy carbide. Theeffect of short-term (1 to 2 hours) post weldheat treatment on the carbide is generally beneficial, whereas longer times result in areduction in toughness due to spheroidisingeffects. The normal microstructure for the parent, weld and HAZ for the 9Cr1Mo and12Cr1MoV materials is martensite, and postweld heat treatment is absolutely essential inthese materials to temper the martensite phase.
Effect on Mechanical Properties
As a series of very general statements, thefollowing are the consequences of post weldheat treatment compared with the as-weldedcondition:
Yield strength is decreased slightly, theeffect falling off fairly rapidly with time.
The tensile strength is decreased.
The ductility is increased.
Hardness levels are reduced.
Toughness is slightly reduced at shorttimes but the effect can be significant over longer times.
Effect on Creep Properties
For creep resisting material, post weld heattreatment is required in order to fullydevelop the creep strength. This is especiallytrue for thicker components such as headers.There has been a tendency in recent years toallow waiving of the post weld heattreatment stage for thinner materials usedtypically for superheater and reheater coilsin the Power Generation industry, but avariety of conditions have to be met.
Improving the diffusion of hydrogen outof weld metal
Softening the heat affected zone and thusimproving toughness (although not weldmetal toughness)
Improving dimensional stability duringmachining.
Improving the resistance to stresscorrosion cracking.
Reducing the effects of cold work.
WHEN TO POST WELD HEAT TREAT
Within pressure equipment standards, therequirement for post weld heat treatment islargely a function of the material and thethickness. The material (in terms of alloycontent) and the thickness (in relation to thequench effect) control the microstructurethat will be formed. Large sectionthicknesses in alloy steels can result inmartensitic, pearlitic or bainitic structures,depending on the cooling rate, and this isusually controlled by the use of preheat. Inaddition, the thicker the material that iswelded, the greater the amount of residualstress that will be developed on cooling.