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WELDING METALS
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WELDING OF DISSIMILAR METALS

Leif Karlsson Esab AB, Box 8004, S-402 77 G6teborg, G6teborg, Sweden

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ABSTRACT

Dissimilar metal welding involving stainless steel base or filler metal is reviewed emphasizing possibilities and limitations imposed by base and filler metal metallurgy. Different aspects of filler metal selection and the ability of filler metals to accept dilution without risk of cracking are considered. Further, the influence of the, often hard, unmixed zone along the fusion boundary is discussed and service performance of dissimilar metal welds is presented. Some important applications are reviewed in more detail and examples of unexpected problems are included. Joining of stainless and non-ferrous metals and solid state joining are discussed briefly. The importance of proper design and the choice of a welding procedure suitable to the base and filler metals involved is stressed.

INTRODUCTION
Dissimilar metal welds are common in welded constructions and their service performance is often crucial to the function. Whether dissimilar metal welds should be seen as stimulating challenges and considered to be a key factor in creative design or whether they should be avoided whenever possible is a matter of opinion. However, it is a fact that dissimilar welds are used, usually successfully, in an increasing number of different applications (1-4). Dissimilar metal

welding involves the joining of two or more different pure metals or alloys, usually by melting and mixing and often with the addition of a filler metal. There are several types of dissimilar metal welds including stainless steel either as base metal or as filler metal. Some important examples are: joining stainless steels to steels or other metals, cladding, welding of compound materials and welding stainless steels with Ni-base fillers. However, despite the apparent differen-ces these examples all fit into either of the two basic types of dissimilar welds: t) joining of two different metals, usually with the addition of a different filler metal (i.e., A to B with or without C) and 2) joining matching composition metals with a different filler metal (i.e., A to A with C) (4).
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principle an unlimited number of weld metal compositions can be obtained in dissimilar metal welding, depending on the combination of base and filler metals, the welding process and the procedure. It is therefore not surprising that the most commonly asked question about welding of dissimilar metals is that of filler metal selection. Not only must the welding consumable be capable of accepting dilution from the base metals without cracking or forming deleterious phases, but the weld metal must also have sufficient strength, ductility and corrosion resistance for the intended service. Consequently, the desired properties of the final weld and the welding procedure must be considered already at the design stage (1).

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The aim of the present paper is to briefly review dissimilar metal welding involving stainless steel either as base or filler metal The limited space does not permit an in depth discussion of all aspects and the selection will therefore inevitably be somewhat subjective
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WELDING STAINLESS STEELS TO UNALLOYED OR LOW ALLOY STEEL


Dissimilar metal welds between stainless and non-stainless steels is undoubtedly the most common and most important example of dissimilar metal welds. In particular, joining of austenitic stainless steels and unalloyed or low alloy steels (hereafter referred to as ferritic/austenitic joints) for attachments or transitions are frequently occurring. The same basic metallurgical considerations apply also to cladding unalloyed or low alloy steels with an austenitic stainless weld metal, welding of austenitic stainless steel/unalloyed or low alloy steel compound material and when using austenitic stainless steel fillers to make repairs in hard-to-weld ferritic steels. These cases are therefore discussed separately only to point out specific details.

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Ferritic/austenitic joints

Ferritic/austenitic dissimilar welds intended for use below approximately 350-400C are usually welded with austenitic fillers whereas Ni-base fillers are preferred for higher service temperatures (1, 2). The main concern, during welding, is in both cases to avoid cracking in the weld metal, in
base metal HAZ and in the narrow unmixed zone (UMZ) or partially mixed zone at the weld interface where complex, often hard, microstructures develop (1, 5-8). Cracking can be either hydrogen assisted cracking or hot cracking depending on base and filler metal and on the welding procedure.

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Weld metal considerations - Stainless filler metal A stainless steel filler metal, with a total alloy content high enough to prevent the formation of martensite in the weld metal after dilution by the base metal, should be used to avoid hydrogen cracking in the weld metal. The most widely used filler metals are probably the 23Cr 12NI and 22Cr 12Ni 3Mo types. Other commonly used types are 29Cr 9Ni and 18-20Cr 9- lONi 3Mo. In particular 22Cr 12Ni 3Mo fillers provide adequate dilution tolerance to avoid hydrogen cracking in most cases. This type has the additional advantage of producing a weld metal highly resistant to hot cracking, provided dilution is controlled to give a minimum amount of ferrite of about 3 FN. The 29Cr 9Ni type has greater capacity for dilution but the ferrite level in undiluted weld metal is high (often >40%) which can promote embrittlement. On the other hand the 18-20Cr 9-lONI 3Mo does not have sufficient tolerance for dilution to avoid cracking in all cases. A good cracking resistance can also be obtained in cases where a fully austenitic weld deposit is required by using a Mn alloyed type such as 18Cr 8Ni 6Mn (5, 9).
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stainless steel due to excessive dilution of the 22Cr 12Ni 3Mo filler from the unalloyed side.

It has to be stressed that a proper choice of filler metal, such as a 22Cr 12Ni 3Mo, is not sufficient to guarantee a crack free weld (see Fig. 1). Dilution control and the possibility to predict weld metal composition is vital in choosing filler material and designing a welding procedure. A sufficiently good prediction of weld metal composition and microstructure can often be obtained by using the Schaeffler diagram and using the standard rule of thumb base metal dilution levels for the different welding methods (typically MMA: 25-40%, MIG and FCAW: 15-40%, TIG: 25-100% and SAW: 20-50%). The DeLong and more recent WRC-88 or WRC-92 diagrams give more accurate ferrite predictions but indicate the nsk of martensite formation only indirectly

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In principle the same rules apply to welding of stainless clad materials as to any femtic/austenitic dissimilar weld Normally one of two methods is applied (9). The unclad side of the plate is

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bevelled and welded with a femtic filler suitable to the non-stainless steel. A portion of the stainless steel cladding is removed from the back of the joint and a suitable stainless filler is used to weld the stainless side. The other alternative is to weld the entire thickness of the compound material with stainless steel (or Ni-base) filler metal The second method is applicable to welding from both sides but is less economical when the non-stainless portion of the material is comparatively thick. This poses a problem in situations when the welding has to be performed from the nonstainless side. A possibility, although not to be recommended as a first .,a choice, is to first weld the stainless layer with a suitable stainless filler; the transition to the ferritic side is then carefully welded with a special lowhydrogen filler with a very low carbon content (e.g. Esab OK 55.18, 0.02C) :: -, using a moderate preheat and a weldIng procedure minimizing dilution with I t&dquo; l the stainless side (Fig. 2). Finally the joint is filled with a ferritic filler nu -:-suitable to the non-stainless steel. The ;.t.. transition layer between the stainless and the non-stainless side will inFigure 2 Cross section showing the crack free transition region of a weld In a stainless-clad plate welded evitably contain some martensite. only from the non-stainless side. A lowHowever, this martensite will have a low carbon content and relatively low hydrogen low-carbon filler (OK 53.18) was used for the transition layer between the hardness and a sound crack free weld stainless (left) and the femtic (right) side. can in most cases be obtained.
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Weld metal considerations - Ni-base fillers Ni-base fillers such as Ni- 15Cr 2Nb or Ni- 15Cr 8Mn 2Nb have a number of advantages in ferritic/ austenitic joints (1, 2). First they are resistant to dilution without the formation of martensite. Second their coefficient of thermal expansion is close to that of unalloyed and low alloy steel while the yield strength is relatively low. The effecave restraint applied to the base material is thereby reduced. Third, Ni-base fillers are not prone to sigma formation when postweld heat treatment (PWHT) is needed to improve HAZ mechanical properties. Ni-base fillers are normally preferred for applications above approximately 350-400C. Service expenences have proven that the risk of thermal fatigue is decreased due to a good match between the thermal expansion of a Ni-base weld metal and the ferritic steel ( 11 ). Furthermore, the use of Ni-base fillers will minimize carbon migration into the weld. However, one drawback with Ni-base fillers is that they are inherently more sensitive to hot cracking than an austenitic weld metal with a suitable ferrite content (5). Base metal HAZ considerations It is well recognized that the sensitivity to hydrogen cracking in femtic steel HAZ depends on the microstructure, the amount of hydrogen, the joint restraint and the temperature. A simple, although often overly conservative, guide in making dissimilar metal welds is therefore to use the same parameters such as preheat, interpass temperature, PWHT etc., that would be used in welding the steels to themselves. However, a lower preheat can often be tolerated when an austenitic stainless or Ni-base filler is used since the risk of hydrogen cracking will be decreased by the high hydrogen solubility and relatively low yield strength of the weld metal. It should also be realised that PWHT In the range 500-700C, that is commonly used for the ferritic steel, can cause sensifisation of an austenitic stainless steel or weld metal, In particular for unstabilised grades with a high carbon content. PWHT might also cause embnttlement due to sigma phase precipitation. This effect is more pronounced for weld metals with higher ferrite contents. A restricnon to maximum 8-10 FN In the weld metal is therefore often used in cases, for example cladding of low alloy steel, when a PWHT is required. One possible way of overcoming the deleterious effects of PWHT is to first surface, or &dquo;butter&dquo;, the ferritic steel with a layer of suitable austenitic filler metal The buttered ferritic steel can then be heat treated before the final welding to the

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stainless steel. This procedure has the additional advantage that the portion of the weld where difficulties are most likely to occur are welded while there is little restraint on the weld metal (5. 9).

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problem, can occur in welding of &dquo;dirty femtic steels&dquo; with comparatively high impurity levels. Cracking or complete disbonding can take place in the HAZ close to the fusion region (Fig. 3). The fracture surfaces are often discoloured indicating that the cracking occurs at high temperatures. This type of cracking is usually explained in terms of HAZ liquation cracking in combination with local decarbunzation concentrating any deformation caused by shrinkage to the HAZ next to the fusion boundary. High stresses at temperatures when liquation of e.g. S-rich inclusions can occur then promotes link-up of cracks and fracture finally occurs. Filler metal composition does not seem to affect this type of cracking significantly. Nevertheless, dilution with a high impunty base metal will increase the nsk of weld metal hot cracking suggesting that an austenitic stainless filler is preferred (5). Minimising the restraint during welding by using the buttering technique also has a beneficial effect on the cracking tendency.
Unmixed zone
Even when paying attention to all details in producing dissimilar metal welds, and ensuring that the welds are produced as far as possible defect free, the mechanically weak point is often the microstructures formed in the narrow unmixed or partially mixed zone at the weld interface (8). This zone is always present in fusion welding and complex, often hard, microstructures are formed due to gradients in alloy elements distribution (7,12). It is not possible to completely eliminate the hard zone by modifying the welding procedure but Ni-base consumables seem more beneficial than stainless fillers since these limit the carbon migration, in particular during PWHT. Neither can PWHT be used to eliminate the hard zone. As shown by several workers, PWHT results in carbon migration and intense carbide precipitation within the weld metal, together with formation of a decarburized zone in the steel, when stainless steel weld metal is used. This is not a problem with Ni-base fillers but high hardnesses (500HV) can still be maintained in the weld metal adjacent to the interface due to the development of virgin martensite on cool-down after PWHT (8).

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The hard zone might be a problem during welding (Fig 4) and service (see below). Fortunately, the hard zone is generally not more prone to hydrogen cracking during welding than the ferritic material HAZ. This is often attributed to the facts that the martensitic hard region often is discontinuous and surrounded by, or adjacent to, the austenitic stainless or Ni-base weld metal with a high solubility for hydrogen and a comparatively lower strength (1, 5, 8, 13).

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Figure 4 Hydrogen cracking in the hard zone


the interface between weld metal and base metal in an austenitic/femtic dissimilar joint.

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WELDING FERRITIC AND MARTENSITIC STAINLESS STEELS TO UNALLOYED OR LOW ALLOY STEEL
Ferritic and martensitic stainless steels are normally welded to unalloyed or low alloy steels austenitic stainless or Ni-base filler when the construction is intended for general (not high

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temperature) service. The most straightforward method is to deposit the filler metal directly on the joint surfaces without using a separate surfacmg layer As for any dissimilar metal weld it is important to keep the dilution under control and use preheat and PWHT as required for the base metals keepmg potential risks of heat treating the weld metal m mmd. The-second method is more time consuming but in many cases safer The joint surfaces are surfaced with the filler metal, using suitable preheat and PWHT for each base metal, the final weldmg is then made without preheat or postheat. A filler of the type 22Cr 12Ni 3Mo is commonly used since this is sufficiently high in alloy content to tolerate dilution by the involved base metals (9).

A filler metal similar to the stainless base matenal is usually recommended when austenitic stainless or Ni-base fillers cannot be used, such as applications were temperature cycling occurs or strength matching the base metal-is required. These weld metals mostly require a PWHT to obtain acceptable ductility and toughness.

WELDING DUPLEX STAINLESS STEELS TO UNALLOYED OR LOW ALLOY STEEL


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Welding duplex (ferritic/austenitic) stainless steels to, or cladding with duplex filler metal on, unalloyed or low alloy steels is basically straightforward. The risks of hot cracking or hydrogen cracking are small since dilution with the duplex base metal favours formation of ferrite and since duplex stainless steels are not very sensitive to hydrogen cracking. Suitable filler metal choices are e.g. 22Cr l2Ni 3Mo, 23Cr l2Ni or duplex fillers. The most common duplex fillermetal type is

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relieving after buttering or after depositing only the first layer in cladding applications. Another possibility to achieve acceptable results, although with some loss of weld metal toughness, is to perform a heat treatment in the temperature range 500-550C for times not 10 h. As illustrated in Fig. 5, heat treatment at higher temperatures will lead to unacceptable embrittlement.

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SERVICE PERFORMANCE OF DISSIMILAR WELDS BETWEEN STAINLESS STEELS AND UNALLOYED OR LOW ALLOY STEEL
Three

important aspects of service performance are 1) low temperature mechanical properties, including fatigue properties, 2) mechanical properties at temperatures where creep becomes significant and 3) corrosion resistance.

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Low temperature mechanical properties Dissimilar metal welds have been used successfully for decades in e.g. the chemical industry. Cr-Ni type austenitic filler metals have proved suitable for most applications up to service temperatures of 350-400C (1). A general experience is that failures occurring within the first few years of service are often attnbutable to weld defects whereas defects are normally not significant contributors to later failures (1, 17). Qualification and control of the welding procedure are therefore most important factors for dissimilar metal welds. An important requirement is, furthermore, a suitable positioning of the weld joint within the construction. Dynamically or thenno-mechanically stressed constructions must be particularly carefully planned and fabricated. However, the fatigue life of dissimilar welds does not seem to be shorter than the life of the base metals to be joined provided

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High temperature mechanical properties vital is of course also for high temperature application. However, it is not enough to quality produce defect free welds when the creep damage mechanism is likely to operate Durability of dissimilar welds is a function of the filler metal employed and the condition to which a weld is subject in terms of time, temperature cycles and system loads (11, 17). Service experience in power generation have shown that Ni-base fillers are-preferred for ferrinc/austenmc joints used in the creep regime, smce these increase service life by a factor of typically 5 by reducing the adverse effects of carbon migration from the ferritic side and of differential expansion strains (3, 11). Failure experience of ferritic/austenitic dissimilar welds in fossil boilers has shown that failure is usually macroscopically similar regardless of filler and service conditions and occurs close to the fusion boundary in the feriitic base metal. However, three distinct failure modes have been identified (11): 1. Crack formation and propagation along prior austenite grain boundaries in the low alloy steel about one to two grams away from the weld fusion line. Most common for stainless steel fillers. 2. Cracking along a planar array of globular carbides, that develops in service, along the weld fusion line. This failure mode is commonly observed for Ni-base fillers. 3. Failure occurring due to the propagation through the tube wall of an oxide notch formed on the outside of the tube at the weld/ low alloy steel junction. Both stainless and Ni-base dissimilar metal welds can suffer from this type of failure mdependent of mode 1 and 2.
Weld The terminal failure mechanisms generally mvolve the formation of creep cavities adjacent to carbides present at prior austenite grain boundaries and/or the fusion line. A planar array of globular carbides, which are prevalent in Ni-base dissimilar metal welds, appears to be less detrimental than the diffuse array of generally smaller carbides commonly found for stainless filler welds. It should be pointed out that PWHT ought to be limited to the minimum level required for qualification since the heat treatment might shorten the lifetime by initiating the metallurgical changes finally causing fracture. New experimental Fe-based fillers with acceptable thermal expansion characteristics, minimal tendency to form carbides and good thermal stability have been developed (3, 11). However, they have to the authors knowledge not reached any widespread use.

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Corrosion Corrosion is normally of little importance in dissimilar welds between stainless and non-stainless steels since the weld metal will always be more corrosion resistant than the unalloyed or low alloy

sensitivity to hydrogen induced stress corrosion cracking in the hard interfacial under conditions when atomic hydrogen can enter the material. This type of problem can occur cracking independentof the type of filler (or cladding) applied and cannot be eliminated PWHT. The welds should therefore be situated outside regions in which these dangers may be by encountered or at least where the hard zone is not highly mechanically stressed (1, 13, 18). It has also been observed that conventional Ni-base fillers may be sensitised to intercrystalline attack and a clear preference is emerging for higher chromium vanants for use in corrosive environments (19).
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JOINING DISSIMILAR STAINLESS STEELS Welding dissimilar stainless steels to each other is quite common and in most cases fairly uncomplicated. Usually an austenitic filler providing a suitable ferrite content and corrosion resistance and mechanical strength at least matching the poorest base metal is used. The ferrite content should be
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cations. Ni-base fillers have proved to be the best choice also for joining of duplex and high-Mo austenitic stainless steels since precipitation of intermetallic phases can cause embrittlement of welds produced with stainless fillers (20). The Ni-22Cr 9Mo 3.5Nb is one possible choice for these stainless steels combinations. However, the newer Ni- 23-26Cr 13-15Mo Nb-free types (e.g. Esab OK Autrod 19.81 and OK 92.95) have certam advantages in that the tendency of formmg Nb-rich precipitates in the weld metal has been eliminated and the probability of formation of a high femte, N-depleted zone in the duplex base metal HAZ is sigmficantly smaller (21).

maximized to 8-10 FN for high temperature applications or material combinations requiring PWHT. It is also quite common to use Ni-base fillers, in particular for high temperature appli-

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The use of austenitic stainless fillers, or more commonly Ni-base fillers, overalloyed m Mo is today standard practice for welding of highly alloyed (> 4-5 %Mo) austenitic stainless steels The overalloyng is needed to compensate for segregation In the weld metal to ensure sufficient corrosion resistance also of the alloy depleted regions. The unmixed or partially mixed zone at the fusion boundary is also in this case a potential problem since local alloy depletion due to segregation during solidification cannot be avoided in this region
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Unmixed zone at the fusion boundary between a Ni-base weld metal (top) and highly alloyed austenitic stainless steel.

is attacked by corrosion in service although laboratory tests have shown this to be a weak spot. Part of the explanation is that, fortunately, the UMZ is usually very narrow at the surface.
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An interesting possibility, presently being explored, is the use of new high strength, very corrosion resistant Ni-base fillers for welding of super duplex stainless steels. These steels are today welded with super duplex fillers. However, the full potential of the steels cannot be used since the welds have a slightly lower corrosion resistance than the base metal. A Ni-base filler could also be used to improve low temperature toughness of welds. Although further testing is required it has been demonstrated that the use of a Ni- 26.5Cr 14Mo +N type MMA electrode (OK 92.95) is a realistic possibility. Welds in super duplex stainless steels produced with this filler have been shown to combine sufficient strength, good toughness and very good pitting resistance (21).

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WELDING STAINLESS STEEL TO NON-FERROUS METALS Whether two dissimilar metals or alloys can be welded together successfully is best predicted by a combination of empirical experience and by examining the alloy phase diagrams of the metals to be joined. Properties such as melting point, thermal conductivity and expansion, atomic sizes and formation of intermetallic compounds will affect the probability of success. A smvey of which pure metals can be fusion welded to iron might seem discouraging since most metals will not readily be welded to iron (22) However, a second look shows that the majonty of the important metals used as construction matenals (in particular Ni- and Cu-base alloys) can be fusion welded to stainless steels either directly or by applyng a buffer layer. Still, two important groups, Al- and Ti-alloys, cannot be fusion welded successfully to steels. Most of the combinations not producing acceptable fusion welds can, however, be joined to steels by solid state welding such as explosion, friction or ultrasonic welding (22). A possibility is therefore to use these welding methods directly for such combinations or to use transition pieces, produced by solid state welding, which are then welded into the construction. Table 1 Approximate limits of acceptable alloying element Recommendations for choice of levels in stainless steel dissimilar welds (23). filler metal for different combmanons can be found in e.g. .. elements j Diluting .j FIller metal filler and base metal manuNi Fe Cr Cu facturers. However, some 25-40%* Ni unlimited unlimited 30% general comments could be made without going into details. 5-30%* unlimited 6-8% unlimited Ni-Cu The two most important factors 25% unlimited 15% Ni-Cr-Fe 30% are usually the choice of fillers and designing a welding proce5-10% unlimited unlimned Cu-Ni unlimited unlimned 5%
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avoiding dilution levels that cause hot cracking or embnttlement of the weld metal (see Table 1 for combinations with Ni- or Cu-base alloys). Joining stamless steels and Co-base alloys is not a very common combination. However, Co-base filler metals are occasionally used for hardfacing on stainless steels. This approach seldom causes any problems but the use of Co-base fillers as buffenng on stainless before hardfacmg with Fe-based hardfacing alloys is not to be recommended due to the nsk of hot cracking.
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CONCLUDING REMARKS
Much empirical and theoretical knowledge about dissimilar welding has been collected over the years. However, apart from obvious problems when trying to cucumvent the laws of nature, a major problem can be finding the relevant information for a specific material combination. Another observation is that,-in particular in practical repair welding, you sometimes encounter &dquo;impossible to weld material combinations&dquo; that have been welded successfully. Not being familiar with the restrictions imposed by metallurgy can obviously be an advantage when trying to find ways of joining dissimilar metals. Nevertheless, use of proper welding procedures and suitable filler metals are as a rule key factors in successful welding of dissimilar metals.

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major changes in preferred choice of filler metals can be seen when comparing dissimilar metal welding practice ten years ago and today. However, a trend has emerged that welding methods minimizing dilunon with base metal are used more extensively where dilution is a major problem. For example, laser and electron beam welding are used for joining and electroslag welding in cladding applications (24). Solid state joining methods are also more widely used today than ten years ago. These changes are expected to continue although conventional fusion welding methods will certainly be dominating for dissimilar metal welding also ten years from now. Looking into the future it is likely that dissimilar metal welding will have a growing role to play in industry due to a combination of economics, rules and design criteria.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Constructive comments and suggestions by colleagues at Esab, Dr T Gooch (TWI) and Dr D
Kotecki (The Lincoln Electric

No

Company) are gratefully acknowledged.


REFERENCES

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4. 5.

6.
7.

8 9 10. It. 12.

13.
14. 15. 16. 17.

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t.

18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

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