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PDH Course S150

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Structural Steel Welding
Semih Genculu, P.E.

Course Content
Arc welding requires striking a low-voltage, high-current arc between an electrode and the
workpiece. The intense heat generated with this arc melts the base metal and allows the
joining of two components. The characteristic of the metal that is being welded and the joint
type dictates the welding parameters and the procedure that needs to be followed to obtain a
sound weld joint.
Typical Arc Welding Processes:
Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW): Shielded metal arc welding, which is also known as
stick welding, is the most widely used process. The arc is struck between the metal to be
welded and a flux coated consumable electrode. The molten flux (slag) covers the hot weld
deposit and protects it from the environment.

SMAW Process
Gas metal arc welding (GMAW): This process is also referred to as metal inert-gas (MIG)
welding uses an uncoated continuous wire. The weld area is shielded from contamination by
the gas that is fed through the welding torch. The mode of metal transfer (spray, globular,
short-circuiting, pulsed-arc) is varied by adjusting the amperage and the shielding gases used
depending on the welding position and the type of joint.

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Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW): Also known as tungsten inert-gas (TIG). GTAW Process Shielding gases: The primary purpose of the shielding gas is to protect the molten weld from contamination and damage by the surrounding atmosphere.com PDH Course S150 www. Welding may be accomplished without the addition of filler metal. Auxiliary shielding is also used in certain instances where deeper penetration is needed.PDHcenter.www.PDHonline.org GMAW Process Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW): The shielding gases and slag are provided by the decomposing flux that is contained within the electrode. The shielding gas is again fed through the welding torch. Although plain inert gases may not be suitable for Page 2 of 13 . which is advantageous especially for thin walled parts. the process uses a non-consumable electrode.

welding current or electrode manipulation Modify welding parameters and techniques Volatilization of zinc from brass Use copper-silicon filler. oxygen.org all applications. Argon: Argon by itself is frequently used for MIG welding of nonferrous metals. Sometimes discontinuities that may not affect mechanical properties may reduce corrosion performance. The HAZ may be considered as a discontinuity because of the metallurgical alterations that may occur as a result of the welding heat. nitrogen or oxygen in welding atmosphere Use low hydrogen welding process.PDHonline. preheat base metal High sulfur base metal Use electrodes with basic slagging reactions Page 3 of 13 . Because helium is a very light gas.PDHcenter. The heat-affected zone (HAZ) is the main consideration when evaluating the soundness of the weld joint. phase transformations. Carbon dioxide: is widely used for steels. mixtures with reactive gases (i.com PDH Course S150 www. increase shielding gas flow High solidification rate Use preheat or increase heat input Dirty base metal Clean joint faces and adjacent surfaces Dirty filler wire Use clean wire and store fillers in a clean area Improper arc length. Porosity: gas pockets or voids that are found in welds Causes Remedies Excessive hydrogen. The question is to determine if they are significant considering the application. Helium: has higher thermal conductivity and arc voltage than argon. The high-density arc that is created by argon permits the energy to go into the work piece as heat resulting in a narrow bead width with deep penetration. better joint penetration and sound deposits with good mechanical properties can be achieved. hydrogen and carbon dioxide) in controlled quantities will produce stable and relatively spatter-free metal transfer. This characteristic is beneficial in overhead welding. higher flow rates must be used for effective shielding. Carbon dioxide is not an inert gas as the argon and helium and breaks down into carbon monoxide and free oxygen under the heat of the arc. A mixture of argon and oxygen or argon and carbon dioxide is usually preferred for ferrous metals. which causes it to produce broader weld beads. reduce heat input Galvanized Steel Use E7010 electrode and manipulate the arc heat to volatilize the galvanizing (zinc) ahead of the molten weld pool Excessive moisture in electrode covering or on joint surfaces Use recommended procedures for baking and storing electrodes. Arc welding defects: Most welds contain defects. nitrogen.e. Grain growth. Higher welding speed. The oxygen is used to superheat the weld metal transferring across the arc. formation of precipitates or overaging (degradation of heat treat properties in precipitation hardened alloys) all has a drastic effect on the properties of the HAZ. filler metals high in deoxidizers.www.

Inadequate penetration: When the actual penetration of a weld into the base metal is less than specified in the design. The slag derived from fluxes employed during welding needs to be cleaned in multi pass operations. the discontinuity is called inadequate or lack of penetration. Tungsten inclusions: In the TIG process the touching of the electrode to the weld metal may cause transfer of the tungsten particles into the weld metal. Macrograph below shows the lack of root penetration in a fillet weld. incorrect bevel angle or poor control of the welding arc. Typically helium is added for nonferrous metals and carbon dioxide is added for ferrous metals (to argon) to increase penetration. Macrograph showing lack of root penetration Incomplete fusion: Lack of fusion occurs when the weld and base metal fail to adequately fuse together. It may be caused by not raising the temperature of the base metal or previously applied weld metal to the melting point or failure to remove the slag or mill scale.com PDH Course S150 www.org Macrograph showing porosity Slag inclusions: The oxides or other nonmetallic inclusions that become entrapped in the weld metal.PDHcenter.PDHonline. insufficient welding heat. This condition may result from improper joint design. The shielding gas can also influence the penetration. They may be caused by contamination or inadequate cleaning between weld passes.www. The first macrograph below shows incomplete penetration whereas the second illustration is for an Page 4 of 13 .

Macrograph below illustrates an unacceptable undercut condition in a fillet weld joint. This type of discontinuity creates a mechanical notch.org example of an acceptable single pass fillet weld profile with adequate base metal penetration and root fusion.com PDH Course S150 www. Macrograph showing incomplete penetration Macrograph showing acceptable weld Undercut: This occurs when a groove that is formed adjacent to the weld as a result of the melting of the base metal remains unfilled.PDHcenter.www. Page 5 of 13 .PDHonline. It is generally associated with either improper welding techniques or excessive welding currents or both. but when controlled within the limits of the specification it is usually considered acceptable.

www.org Macrograph showing undercut Weld profile: The profile of a finished weld may have a considerable effect on the performance under dynamic loading conditions. Typical unacceptable butt and fillet weld profiles are shown below along with an example of poor fit-up (mismatch): Macrograph showing poor fit-up (butt weld) Page 6 of 13 . Overlap.PDHonline.com PDH Course S150 www. excessive reinforcement or mismatch can provide stress concentration points where fatigue cracks can initiate.PDHcenter.

com PDH Course S150 www.PDHcenter. Hot cracks develop at elevated temperatures during solidification. It can create localized hard or soft spots. Cracks: Cracks occur in weld or base metal when localized stresses exceed the ultimate strength of the metal. Any cracks or blemishes caused by arc strikes should be ground to a smooth contour. Cold cracks (or sometimes referred to as delayed cracks) develop after solidification. They are often associated with mechanical or metallurgical stress concentration points. cracking or undercut.org Arc strikes: They are caused by the unintentional melting of the base metal outside the weld deposit area by the welding arc.PDHonline.www. Cracks can be classified as hot or cold cracks. Surface cracks on a weld bead Micrograph showing intergranular cracking Page 7 of 13 . Hot cracks propagate between grains (intergranular) cold cracks propagate both between and through the grains (inter and transgranular cracks).

raise welding current.PDHcenter. the change in chemical composition of the deposited weld caused by the admixture of the base metal or previous weld bead) Preheat Relieve residual stresses mechanically Minimize shrinkage stresses using backstep sequence Change welding current and travel speed Weld with covered electrode negative. cold cracks or microfissures can form in the weld or in the base metal Causes Remedies Highly rigid joint Excessive dilution (i. heat treat without cooling to room temperature Page 8 of 13 .org Macrograph showing cracks in the HAZ Cracks: Hot cracks. butter the joint faces prior to welding (buttering is to deposit surfacing metal to provide metallurgically compatible weld for the subsequent passes) Poor fit-up Reduce root opening Small weld bead Increase electrode size.www. increase heat input. apply intermediate stress relief High hardenability Preheat.com PDH Course S150 www.e. reduce travel speed High sulfur base metal Use filler metal low in sulfur Excessive distortion Change to balanced welding on both sides of joint Crater cracking Fill crater before extinguishing the arc High residual stresses Redesign weldment.PDHonline. change welding sequence.

www.60%… … … … … … 200-400ºF Over 0. The carbon equivalent (C.com PDH Course S150 www. Increasing the initial temperature of the base metal being welded has the effect of reducing the cooling rate.45-0.1) as follows: %C..) may be considered as the main factor in estimating preheat need. the higher the carbon content of a steel. Generally. is not the only element that influences hardenability.60%… … … … … . Other elements in steel also are responsible for the hardening and loss of ductility that occur with rapid cooling.45%… … … … preheat is optional 0. however. are: For up to 0.= %C + % (Mn+Si)/6+ % (Cr+Mo+V)/5 + % (Ni+Cu)/15 The approximate recommended preheat temperatures based on C.400-700ºF Usually a steel that requires preheating must also be kept at this temperature between weld passes.PDHcenter. ambient temperature. On massive components this may not be the case and torch heating between passes may be required. section thickness. the greater the tendency to form a hard and brittle HAZ. aluminum weld) The effect of carbon equivalent: The final metallurgical structure of the weld zone is determined by the type of steel and the cooling rate.PDHonline.. The heat input of the welding process is adequate to maintain the required interpass temperature on most weldments. filler metal hydrogen content and previous cracking problems. Besides the widely used carbon equivalent criteria. the following factors should also be considered when determining the need for preheat/post weld heat treat: code requirements. This necessitates the use of preheat and low hydrogen electrodes.E.E. restraint. Since the purpose of preheating is to reduce the quench rate. The cooling rate is very important when heat-treatable (hardenable) steels are involved. Preheat is often used for this purpose. AWS Classifications: The American Welding Society numbering system tells a lot about the properties and usability of the electrode. the same slow cooling rate must be accomplished for all passes.org Photograph illustrating crater cracking resulting from abrupt weld termination (MIG process. Using the stick electrode numbering system as a representative example: Page 9 of 13 .. Carbon. One of the various empirical formulas used to determine carbon equivalent is given in the Structural Steel Welding Code (AWS D1.E.

For example. vertical down and overhead. 1 is for all position. dimensions.PDHonline. finish symbols. The basic elements of a welding symbol are shown below along with several examples.PDHcenter.000-psi one. horizontal. low hydrogen with AC or DC+.com PDH Course S150 www. A welding symbol. E7018 is a 70. The last two digits together are for a “usability”rating which indicates the type of electrode coating and the correct polarity to use. Page 10 of 13 .org The prefix “E”designates an arc-welding electrode.000-psi tensile strength electrode while E10018 designates a 100. They can typically be described as a simplified cross section of the actual weld. An example would be “18”for iron powder. The next to last digit indicates the position. Weld Symbols: When welds are specified on fabrication drawings a set of symbols are used to describe the type and size of the weld. The first two digits of a four-digit number and the first three digits of a five-digit number indicate tensile strength.www. on the other hand. 2 is for flat and horizontal and 3 is for flat. specification and process. includes a weld symbol and supplementary information such as the arrow. Some representative symbols are shown below. A complete set of symbols is given in a standard published by the American Welding Society.

org .PDHcenter.com PDH Course S150 Standard location of elements of a welding symbol Page 11 of 13 www.www.PDHonline.

arc voltage and travel speed.org Weld Qualifications: Most fabrication documents require qualification of welding procedures and welders. A welding procedure specification (WPS) provides detail welding conditions for a specific application containing the essential variables that require requalification of procedures when the variables are changed beyond specified limits. joint design and tolerances.www. interpass cleaning and post weld heat treat as needed. surface preparation.1 is the governing document for structural steel welding.PDHonline. contain information about the base materials that are to be welded. at a minimum. preheat and interpass temperatures. AWS Code D1. the filler metal designation. the welding process. positions of welding. type of current and range.com PDH Course S150 www. Page 12 of 13 .PDHcenter. Typical weld procedures should.

org Groove and fillet weld positions Actual welding parameters used to produce an acceptable test joint and the results of the qualification tests (typically x-ray.www.g.PDHonline. Welders are also required to be qualified within the defined limits of each position (e. Page 13 of 13 .PDHcenter. flat welding test does not qualify the welder for performing vertical or overhead welding).com PDH Course S150 www. Welders are required to demonstrate their ability to produce sound welds by submitting coupons that are either radiographed or mechanical tested to obtain welder performance qualifications (WPQ). tensile and bend) are documented in a procedure qualification record (PQR).