 Andi Mulya
 Ari Sucipto
 Dame Cristina
 Dikki Purwantoni
 Edwin Abraham
 Mohamad Fajar Ramadhan
 M. Irman Budi. P
 Refi Rahmalia
 Rina Oktapiani
 Zaneta Zhafirah


The annealed ferritic stainless steels containing 16 to 18% Cr offer
acceptable oxidation and corrosion resistancein many environments ranging from
rural atmospheres to aggressivehot acid solutions. Their primary advantages
include lower material cost than the more commonly used austenitic stainless
steels and a greater resistance to stress corrosion cracking. Although these
properties make the alloys commercially attractive, they still exhibit several
significant drawbacks that limit their use. These include reduced formability,
susceptibility to embrittlement, susceptibility to hot cracking during welding, and
the adverse effect of welding on their mechanical properties (toughness and
ductility) and resistance to intergranular corrosion. However, the advent ofthe
argon-oxygen decarburization process (AOD) for refining stainless steels has
resulted in the ability to produce alloys with low interstitial contents and
consequently significant improvements in the above properties.
The subject of solidification hot cracking in austenitic stainless steels during
welding has been the subject of numerous investigations over the years (Ref. 1, 2).
However, because of their generally inferior weldability, the susceptibility of
ferritic stainless steels to solidification hot cracking has not been examined in
detail. A number of theories have been proposed to explain the existence of the
hot cracking phenomenon. In the general case, hot cracking or microfissuring can
occur intergranularly in either the fusion zone or the heat-affected zone of a
weldment. In either case, the propensity for hot cracking has been related to the
presence of a tensile stress across a liquated boundary. The most plausible theory
for hot cracking, that of the generalized grain boundary liquation mechanism,
proposes that microsegregation of alloying and residual elements to the grain
boundaries or interdendritic regions occurs during solidification. This segregation
produces a solute rich region that exhibits a lower melting point than that of the
matrix. These regions, which exhibit a liquid film while the matrix is solid, serve
as nucleation points for microfissures that form as a result of the stresses produced
by shrinkage, phase transformations, or external tensile restraint.
Ferritic stainless steels are also susceptible to embrittlement (loss of
toughness and/or ductility) as a result of welding (Ref. 3, 4). If the materials are
not fully ferritic at high temperatures, a small volume fraction of austenite may be
formed; this will transform to martensite during cooling as a result of the welding
thermal cycle. The formation of very large ferrite grains and/or the formation of
grain boundary martensite in the fusion zone or heat-affected zone (HAZ) leads to
decreased ductility and toughness of as-welded materials because of the hard and
brittle nature of the martensite. For materials that do not form any martensite
during the welding operation, grain growth in the fusion and heat-affected zones
will be even more exaggerated and toughness will again be decreased. It has been
suggested that additives such as B, Al, V, or Zr might form precipitates that would
inhibit grain growth in the HAZ and that TiN particles might help to control the
grain size of the fusion zone (Ref. 5).
The ferritic stainless steels are also susceptible to a high-temperature
embrittlement where the steel may lose ductility or toughness on water quenching
or air cooling from temperatures in excess of 2000°F (1093°C) (Ref. 6, 7). The
embrittlement is accompanied by a severe grain growth associated with the
dissolution of carbides, etc., which were acting to inhibit the motion of the grain
boundaries. Embrittlement results from one of two mechanisms—either a
clustering or segregating of carbon atoms in the ferrite matrix that are prevented
from precipitating as carbides by the rapid cooling, or by the martensite
mechanism where regions relatively high in carbon transform first to austenite at
high temperatures and then transform to brittle martensite on rapid cooling. This
type of embrittlement can be eliminated by a postweld annealing treatment.

The ferritic stainless steels also suffer from notch sensitivity. The notch
toughness of these steels is affected by temperature in a manner similar to that of
carbon and alloy steels, i.e., they exhibit a ductile-to-brittle transition temperature.
For typical ferritic stainless steels this transition temperature lies at or above room
temperature and is a function of chemical composition, grain size, heat treatment,
section size, and notch configuration. In these alloys an improvement in the
transition temperature is most readily achieved by way of a decrease in the
interstitial content (C + N) and, secondly, by a decrease in grain size as finer
grained materials exhibit inherently better toughness than coarse grained materials
of the same composition (Ref. 8-10). As a consequence of the sensitivity of these
alloys to notches and impact loading, certain precautions may be taken during
welding. A preheat treatment is often used to help in reducing shrinkage stresses
and may aid in the prevention of any spontaneous cracking during the welding
Susceptibility to intergranular corrosion in the as-welded condition also
plagues some of the ferritic stainless steels. Several investigators believe that the
formation of austenite at high temperatures and the subsequent precipitation of
readily dissolved iron carbides at grain boundaries leads to the corrosion. Others
have proposed that impoverishment of the grain boundary austenite in chromium
content is responsible.

In the initial part of the hot cracking investigation, a series of commercially
available stainless steel materials was investigated. These materials included a
Type 304 austenitic stainless steel, a Type 430 ferritic stainless steel, and an
electron beam melted E-Brite (26-1) ferritic stainless steel. The compositions of
these three alloys are presented in Table 1. These alloys served as a base line for
analysis of the laboratory-prepared materials.

Laboratory Materials—Phase I
The basic experimental approach in Phase I was to employ a classical alloy
design, i.e., to make m u l t i - l e v e l , single element variations to standard
compositions of Types 430 and 444L. The range of elemental variations
investigated is presented in Table 2. The Cu and Ni contents were held constant
for these materials.

Laboratory Materials-Phase II
As t h e laboratory testing proceeded, it became obvious that a second series of
heats would be needed. This series contained low levels of S, C, N, and P and
were stabilized w i t h varying levels of Ti, Nb, and Ta added either singly or in
combination. The range of elemental variations investigated are presented in
Table 3.

Hot Cracking
The Varestraint and subscale Varestraint tests have been the most widely used
tests for determining the hot cracking susceptibility in the fusion and heat-affected
zones of welded materials. The major differences between these tests are :
1. The subscale test uses a stationary arc spot weld on thin materials while
the Varestraint test uses a traveling arc weld on heavy materials.
2. The method of straining the materials.

1. This investigation has resulted in the design of a modified subscale
traveling Varestraint test that can be utilized in the study of the hot
cracking resistance of metallic materials. The hot cracking data obtained
tend to agree with the results expected from the generalized liquation
theory for hot cracking.
2. The hot cracking susceptibility of 16 to 18% Cr ferritic stainless steels is at
least partially dependent on the chemical constitution. Hot cracking is
promoted by the following elements in the approximate order listed :
S > C > N > Nb > Ti > P > Mn The C content is especially critical because
of its detrimental influence on not only hot cracking, but also on
microstructure, ductility, toughness, and corrosion resistance of both the
fusion zone and heat-affected zone. Nitrogen apparently behaves similarly,
and both elements should be limited to a level less than 0.025%.
3. In general, welding caused no detrimental effects on the tensile properties
of Types 430 and 444L. Yield strengths were increased about 5 ksi (34
MPa) and elongations were decreased, but it was not clear whether this
was a result of welding or anisotropy of the materials. Some increase in
tensile strength was noted in Type 444L stabilized with Ta or Ta + Nb.
Cross-weld tensile failures in Types 430 and 444L are generally in the
weld metal, particularly when Ti is used for stabilization. Type 444L
appears to be prone to weld metal failures. The impact results exhibited
much scatter but do indicate that the Type 444L alloys are less tough than
the Type 430 alloys; they also indicate that Ti stabilization is more
detrimental to toughness than other stabilizing elements.
4. Types 430 and 444L with (C + N) contents less than 0.04% are not
susceptible to IGA after welding when stabilized with Ti according to the
formula Ti > 12.5 (C + N) or with Ta according to the formula Ta > 27.5
(C + N). Dual stabilization can also be utilized with Type 444L to prevent
susceptibility to IGA. Alloys successfully pass the Strauss test if the (Ti +
Nb) or (Ti + Ta)/(C + N) ratio > 9 or if the (Nb + Ta)/(C + N) ratio is B >
20. In conclusion this investigation has shown that ferritic stainless steels
containing 16 to 18% Cr can be designed to provide adequate resistance to
hot cracking during welding and, by the use of stabilization, retain usable
mechanical properties and resistance to intergranular attack in the
aswelded condition.

(Research by D. H. KAH and D. W. DICKINSON)