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Published by Charlie Chong

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Published by: Charlie Chong on Oct 17, 2008
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ABSTRACT. Presented here are the re-sults from a series of experiments inwhich dissimilar metal welds were madeusing the gas tungsten arc weldingprocess with pure argon or argon-6% hy-drogen shielding gas. The objective wasto determine if cracking near the fusionboundary of dissimilar metal welds couldbe caused by hydrogen absorbed duringwelding and to characterize the mi-crostructures in which cracking oc-curred. Welds consisted of ER308 andER309LSi austenitic stainless steel andERNiCr-3 nickel-based filler metals de-posited on A36 steel base metal. Crack-ing was observed in welds made with allthree filler metals. A ferrofluid color met-allography technique revealed thatcracking was confined to regions in theweld metal containing martensite. Mi-crohardness indentations indicated thatmartensitic regions in which cracking oc-curred had hardness values from 400 to550 HV. Cracks did not extend into bulkweld metal with hardness less than 350HV. Martensite formed near the fusionboundary in all three filler metals due toregions of locally increased base metaldilution.
Dissimilar metal welds are used ex-tensively in the power generation, petro-chemical and heavy fabrication indus-tries. Numerous instances of crackingalong the dissimilar metal fusion bound-ary have been reported, particularly incladding applications where a corrosion-resistant austenitic alloy is applied to aferritic structural steel. Often this crack-ing, or disbonding, has been associatedwith exposure to hydrogen in serviceand, as a result, the mechanism has beendescribed by various authors as a form ofhydrogen-induced cracking (Refs. 1–13).This type of cracking has been repro-duced in the laboratory by exposingaustenitic cladding to hydrogen, either inan autoclave or by cathodic charging(Refs. 1–3, 7, 8, 11–13).In practice, however, this form ofcracking has occurred during fabrica-tion, prior to exposure to a hydrogen en-vironment. The fact that disbonding canoccur without prolonged exposure to hy-drogen in service suggests that either hy-drogen is not necessary for disbonding tooccur, or hydrogen absorbed duringwelding can cause cracking near the dis-similar metal fusion boundary.The fusion boundary microstructurein dissimilar welds often possesses someunique features. Normal epitaxial nucle-ation during solidification along the fu-sion boundary gives rise to grain bound-aries that are continuous from the basemetal into weld metal across the fusionboundary. These boundaries are roughlyperpendicular to the fusion boundaryand have been referred to as “Type I”boundaries. In dissimilar welds, wherean austenitic weld metal and ferritic basemetal exist, a second type of boundarythat runs roughly parallel to the fusionboundary is often observed. This hasbeen referred to as a “Type II” boundary(Ref. 6). These boundaries typically haveno continuity across the fusion boundaryto grain boundaries in the base metal.Several investigators have reported thathydrogen-induced disbonding typicallyfollows Type II grain boundaries (Refs.1–4, 7, 8, 12,13). The disbonding phe-nomenon that occurs following fabrica-tion and prior to service has also been as-sociated with these Type II boundaries.An additional complication inaustenitic/ferritic dissimilar welds is thedramatic transition in composition and
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Sponsored by the American Welding Society and the Welding Research Council
Hydrogen-Induced Cracking along the FusionBoundary of Dissimilar Metal Welds
The susceptibility of dissimilar austenitic/ferritic combinations to hydrogen-induced cracking near the fusion boundary has been investigated 
HydrogenWeld CrackingDissimilar MetalAustenitic StainlessFiller MetalsNickel-Based FillerGTAWMartensite
M. D. ROWE, T. W. NELSONand J. C. LIP- POLDwere all with the Welding and Joining Metallurgy Group, The Ohio State University,Columbus, Ohio, at the time this paper was written. Currently, M. D. ROWE is a graduate student at the Colorado School of Mines,Golden, Col., and T. W. NELSON is an Assis- tant Professor at Brigham Young University,Provo, Utah.
microstructure that occurs adjacent to thefusion boundary. This transition can be il-lustrated using the Schaeffler ConstitutionDiagram (Ref. 14). If a tie line is drawn onthis diagram (Fig. 1) from a ferritic steelbase metal to an austenitic stainless steelfiller metal (such as Type 308 or 309LSi)or a nickel-based filler metal (such as ER-NiCr-3), it can be seen that intermediatecompositions along the tie line betweenthe end points will promote martensiticand austenitic plus martensitic mi-crostructures. In practice this transitionoccurs over a very short distance (lessthan 1 mm) from the fusion boundary intothe weld metal, and results in a localizedmartensitic band along the fusion bound-ary. Cracking has been reported in themartensitic transition zone near the fu-sion boundary (Refs. 3, 12). Often, theType II boundaries described previouslyreside in this martensitic region.In order to more carefully study the ef-fect of fusion boundary microstructureon hydrogen-induced cracking in dis-similar welds, a number of dissimilarwelds were made using variousaustenitic filler metals using both pureargon and Ar-6%H
shielding gases.The objective of these trials was toproduce hydrogen-induced cracking indissimilar metal welds by the addition ofhydrogen during welding, and to charac-terize the microstructures in whichcracking occurs. An understanding of thesusceptibility of dissimilar metal fusionboundary microstructures to hydrogen-induced cracking will contribute to anunderstanding of defect formation in dis-similar metal welds and aid in develop-ment of sound welding procedures.
Experimental Procedure
The filler materials selected for this in-vestigation are commonly used in indus-try for dissimilar metal welding. Type308, 309LSi and ERNiCr-3 filler metalswere selected to cover a range of com-positions and microstructures. A36 steelwas selected as the base metal. Thechemical compositions of the materialsare listed in Table 1.
Welding Procedures
The gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)process was selected because it allowsfor close control of dilution and the ad-dition of hydrogen through the shieldinggas. Shielding gases consisting of pureargon and Ar-6%H
were used. Both amultipass and single-pass welding pro-cedure were developed to assess the ef-fect of hydrogen introduction through theshielding gas.The multipass weld procedure joinedtwo 0.75 x 4 x 12 in. (19 x 102 x 305 mm)plates of A36 steel. Welding was per-formed along the 12-in. dimension. Theplates were restrained in a heavy fixtureto simulate actual high-restraint fabrica-tion conditions. Both ER308 and ERNiCr-3 filler metals were used to fill a standardV-groove joint geometry. The includedangle of the groove was 60 deg, and16–20 passes were required to fill the joint with the welding conditions listed inTable 2. Following welding, the weld-ment was left rigidly restrained for up tofour days, then inspected for crackingusing side-bend tests, and by sectioningand metallography.A single-pass procedure followed byapplication of augmented strain by bend-ing was used to allow for greater controlof applied strain and to minimize the el-evated temperature diffusion of hydro-gen that occurs during a multipass pro-cedure. The single-pass welds weredeposited in a V-groove using the condi-tions listed in Table 2. Three percentstrain was applied by bending over afixed-radius die block in either the longi-tudinal or transverse direction with re-spect to the weld. Each test plate con-tained two welds deposited side by side;
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Fig. 1 — Schaeffler constitution diagram (Ref. 14) showing predicted mi- crostructures and minimum dilutions necessary to form martensite for the filler metal/base metal combinations used in this investigation.Fig. 2 — Plan view, ER308 filler metal, longitudinal strain, 30% dilu- tion, Ar-6%H 
shielding gas, chromic acid/nital etch, showing crack- ing near the fusion boundary and associated with light-etching bands in the weld metal.
one made with pure argon, the other withAr-6%H
shielding gas. First, the pureargon weld was deposited, then the platewas cooled in water. Secondly, the Ar-6%H
weld was deposited and the platewas cooled in water again. Finally, thewelds were ground flush with the surfaceof the plate and the augmented strain wasapplied within 5 min of extinguishing thearc. Crack propagation across the surfaceof the weld was monitored visually onsamples subjected to longitudinal strain.Addition of hydrogen to the shieldinggas caused an increase in dilution(deeper penetration) for a given currentlevel. It was therefore necessary to use alower current with the Ar-6%H
shield-ing gas to achieve a similar dilution aswelds made with pure argon. Dilutionwas controlled by making minor adjust-ments to the current levels listed in Table2. Metallographic cross sections wereprepared to assure that the dilution levelswere similar.
Microstructural Characterization
Microstructural characterization wasperformed using optical metallography,microhardness, energy dispersive X-rayspectroscopy (EDS) and dilution mea-surements. Because of the range of com-positions and microstructures a numberof chemical etchants were used, includ-ing 10% chromic acid (electrolytic), 5 gFeCl/90 mLmethanol/2 mLHC1 (elec-trolytic) and 4% nital.A ferrofluid technique was used toprovide contrast between martensite andaustenite in the weld metal. Ferrofluid is acolloidal suspension of ferromagnetic ironoxide particles. The ferrofluid is appliedwith an eye dropper onto the surface of thesample in either the as-polished conditionor after previous chemical etching, andthen gently rinsed in a bath of petroleumether to remove theexcess ferrofluid. Thesample was then re-moved from the petro-leum ether and al-lowed to dry. Theremnant magnetism ofany ferromagneticphases (ferrite andmartensite) attracts theiron oxide particles,but leaves the para-magnetic phase(austenite) free of par-ticles. The differencein ferrofluid deposi-tion produces a colorcontrast between fer-romagnetic phasesand paramagneticphases when viewedin an optical micro-scope. Ferrofluid has been successfullyused to provide contrast between ferriteand austenite in duplex stainless steels(Ref. 15) and between austenite andstrain-induced martensite in wroughtaustenitic stainless steels (Ref. 16).Microhardness was used to study thetransition in microstructure at the fusionboundary. A diamond pyramid indenterwas used in conjunction with both 10-and 100-g loads. Plots of hardness vs. dis-tance from the fusion boundary wereused to support metallographic observa-tions and determine the width of the tran-sition region.Weld metal dilution measurementswere made on the single-pass welds inorder to relate the predicted compositionto the microstructure of the weld metalfrom the Schaeffler diagram. To deter-mine dilution, an image of the weld crosssection was scanned into a computer,and a graphics software package wasused to measure the weld nugget area rel-ative to the original V-groove dimension.The filler metal dilution is then given bythe area of base metal melted divided bythe nugget area.
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Fig. 3 — Plan view, ER308 filler metal, transverse strain, Ar-6%H 
shielding gas, chromic acid/ nital etch, showing cracking running parallel to the fusion boundary.Fig. 4 — Plan view, same weld that appears in Fig. 2 treated with ferrofluid on a polished surface. A — Cracking occurred in a region colored strongly by ferrofluid, indicating the presence of martensite; B — A+F indicates an austenite plus skeletal ferrite microstructure, A+M indicates an austenite plus martensite microstructure.

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