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Dieter Ungermann and Stephan Schneider

Dortmund University of Technology, Institute of Steel Construction,
August – Schmidt – Straße 6, 44227 Dortmund, Germany
Rainer Trillmich
KÖCO Köster & Co GmbH
Spreeler Weg 32, 58256 Ennepetal, Germany


Welding studs have to consist of a weldable material because of the joining process.
It is for this reason that currently only a few austenitic steels and carbon steels out of
strength class 4.8 according to EN ISO 898-1, with a maximum carbon content of
C = 0,20%, are accredited for welding studs. If higher ultimate tensile strengths are
required, the manufacturer used in the past the cold headed steel 20MnB4, which
achieves ultimate tensile strengths close to strength class 8.8 due to a thermally
post – tempering. Welding of the 20MnB4 with a maximum carbon content of
C = 0,23% is suitable only to a limited extent. By reason of additional costs for
thermally post-tempering processes the 20MnB4 studs has not prevailed in the
market. Another alternative material is the cold headed steel 8MnSi7 (1.5113), which
was used for the first time from the manufacturer KÖCO to produce high strength
studs. It has a maximum carbon content of C = 0,10% which suspects a good
weldability. The ultimate tensile strength of 8MnSi7 wire rod is approximately
between 520 to 620N/mm² and in addition by cold forging it reaches a level of
800N/mm², so that studs made of 8MnSi7 could be classified as strength class 8.8.
To verify the weldability and the classification of the strength class 91 axial tension
tests on threaded studs with a statically load were performed in the course of a
German research project. The present paper gives an overview of the results of the
research project.


1.1 Cause and subject of the research project

Stud welding has its roots in ship building in the early 20th century and nowadays it is
also being used in many other applications like composite constructions, mechanical
and civil engineering. Stud welding is a highly sophisticated, very economic fastening
technology but due to the joining process it is limited to weldable materials with a low
carbon content respectively carbon equivalent.
The strengths for approved materials are generally below 450N/mm². Against the
background of the increasing use of high strength material for steel and composite
constructions the need for welded threaded studs out of high strength steel is
obvious. 8MnSi7 is a weldable cold headed steel which reaches the strength of class
8.8 by cold forging. In this research project the weldability of studs type PD (threaded
stud) and RD (threaded stud with reduced shank) made of 8MnSi7 were tested in 91
tension tests with static load. Furthermore the applicability of the design rules for the
tension resistance of the threaded part and the shank based on EC3-1-8 was
verified. In case of thin steel plates the ultimate load was limited by the shear
strength of the steel plate material and did not achieve the tension resistance of the
studs. To cover this failure mode, a design approach was suggested, founded on the
results of the tests with shear failure in the steel plate material.
8MnSi7 was used for the first time from the manufacturer KÖCO to produce high
strength studs. Due to this KÖCO supported the research project with the studs and
the welding equipment. Since October 2010 KÖCO is worldwide the only
manufacturer with a general technical approval (DIBt Z-14.4-585) using 8MnSi7 for
studs with a strength comparable to strength class 8.8 and sell them under the brand
name K800. Further trade mark rights on the European level are submitted.

1.2 Welding processes and stud types

Arc stud welding can be divided into two main welding processes: stud welding with
tip ignition on the one hand and drawn arc stud welding on the other hand. Based on
the welding time, the weld pool backup and the source of the welding energy
EN ISO 4063 defines different subcategories of arc stud welding. The most common
welding process for applications in civil engineering is “drawn arc stud welding with
ceramic ferrule or shield gas” (reference number 783 according to EN ISO 4063).
Figure 1.1 illustrates the basic principles of drawn arc stud welding. The stud is
placed against the steel plate and then the stud is lifted while the current is flowing
and these lights up the drawn arc which melts the surface of the steel plate and the
tip of the stud. Afterwards the stud is plunged in the weld pool and a cross sectional
joint is achieved.

L lifting
P excess length
X time
Y current
Z distance between
stud and steel plate

Figure 1.1: Procedure of drawn arc stud welding according to EN ISO 14555

The geometry of the studs is standardized in EN ISO 13918. Three exemplary

selected threaded studs are shown in Figure 1.2. The associated welding process is
given in the caption.
A cone shaped stud end is characteristic for the drawn arc stud welding. The point
angle α indicates the welding time, the smaller the point angle the shorter is the
welding time. Studs for welding with tip ignition have a small tip – which lights up the
drawn arc when lifted up from the steel plate – instead the cone shaped end. The
welding time, the weld pool backup and the peak current determine the limitations of
the welding processes. For drawn arc stud welding the limitations are summarized in
Table 1.1.

Welding process: drawn arc stud welding Stud welding with tip ignition

PD – Stud (M6 – M24) RD – Stud (M6 – M24) PT – Stud (M3 – M8)

Figure 1.2: Threaded studs according to EN ISO 13918

Table 1.1: Limitations for drawn arc stud welding according to EN ISO 14555
stud peak welding workpiece
diameter current time weld pool backup thickness
d [mm] I [A] tW [ms] tmin [mm]

blank, 1/4d (CF),

drawn arc 300 to ceramic ferrule (CF)
3 to 25 > 100 rolling layer, 1/8d (SG),
stud welding 3.000 or shield gas (SG)
initial rust 1mm

Further information for other welding processes can be found in Annex A of

EN ISO 14555.


2.1 Test program overview and material properties

The experimental program consisted of two test series with threaded studs type PD
and RD with nominal diameter of M8 and M20, see Figure 1.2. Currently the 8MnSi7
wire rod is limited to a maximum diameter of 18,15mm and due to this studs with a
nominal diameter above M20 are not available.
The studs were tested in tension tests according to EN ISO 14555. The test setup
and detailed information of the test procedure are given in chapter 2.2 of this paper.
To verify the weldability in the first test series (VS – series) a steel plate with a
thickness of 40mm was used. The large thickness of the steel plate leads to a
disadvantageous thermal gradient in the heat affected zone (HAZ) and with it the
hardness increases. In the second test series (VT – series) the thickness of the steel
plate depends on the nominal diameter of the studs according to the minimum
requirements for the draw arc stud welding with ceramic ferrule, Table 1.1. In the VS
– series the predicted failure mode was a tensile fracture in the threaded part of the
PD – studs respectively in the reduced shank of the RD – studs. Due to the very
small thickness of the steel plate in the VT – series a shear fracture of the steel plate
should occur along the outer boundary of the welding bead, Table 2.1.
Table 2.1: Test series and predicted failure mode
No. of workepiece studs
Test series stud type predicted failure mode
tests material thickness material diameter
PD-stud 20 tensile fracture in the thread
VS - Series S690QL 40mm 8MnSi7 M8 - M20
RD-stud 20 tensile fracture in the reduced shank
PD / RD 30 SZBS800 2mm M8
VT - Series shear failure in the workpiece 8MnSi7
PD / RD 21 S690QL 5mm M20

All steel plates used for the investigations are made of high strength steels with
nominal yield strength of approximately 690N/mm². In case of the 5 and 40mm steel
plates it was a high strength quenched and tempered, fine grained steel according to
EN 10025, part 6 and the 2mm steel plates are made of a thermo-mechanical rolled,
microalloyed steel. The chemical composition of the steel plates and the studs are
given in Table 2.2 and 2.3.

Table 2.2: Chemical compositions of the steel plates

C Si Mn P S N B Cr Cu
No. 01 S690QL
0,17 0,29 1,17 0,0110 0,0042 0,0051 0,0048 0,331 0,035
t = 40mm
No. 02 SZBS800
0,086 0,53 1,90 0,0100 0,0013 0,0076 0,0011 0,034 0,013
t = 2mm
No. 03 S690QL
0,15 0,29 1,36 0,013 0,0040 0,0070 0,0021 0,042 0,034
t = 5mm

Mo Nb V Ti Ni Zr As Sn Sb
No. 01 S690QL
0,207 0,028   0,0025    0,0200  0,048   0,0031  0,0043 0,0100 0,0110
t = 40mm
No. 02 SZBS800 0,033 0,0050 0,157
0,0058 0,338 0,0034 0,0150 0,0044 0,023
t = 2mm Nb + V + Ti = 0,195
No. 03 S690QL
0,110 0,027 0,0040 0,013 0,043 0,0031 0,017 0,0051 0,0082
t = 5mm

In general the weldability depends on the carbon content and should be less than
C = 0,20%. As shown in Table 2.2 and 2.3 all material fulfills these requirements.
The effect of other alloyed elements on the weldability can be reviewed by the
carbon equivalent PCM, based on the work of Ito and Bessyo. A good weldability
could be assumed, if the carbon equivalent is less than PCM = 0,45, calculated
according to Equation (2.1).

Si Mn + Cu + Cr Ni Mo V
PCM = C + + + + + + 5⋅ B (2.1)
30 20 60 15 10

The carbon equivalent varied between PCM = 0,20 for the stud material and
PCM = 0,29 for the 40mm thick steel plate made of S690QL, therefore a good
weldability could be assumed.

Table 2.3: Chemical compositions of the studs

material: 8MnSi7 C Si Mn P S V Cr Ni W
No. 04 studs M8
(w ire rod ∅ 7,06mm) 0,074 1,03 1,68 0,014 0,0052 0,018 0,028 0,017 0,034
No. 05 studs M20
(wire rod ∅ 18,15mm) 0,081 1,03 1,70 0,015 0,0051 0,018 0,024 0,014 0,033
The mechanical properties of the wire rod and the studs where measured in coupon
tests. The results are summarized in Table 2.4.
It is particularly noticeable, that the yield strength and ultimate tensile strength of the
studs is lower than the strength of the corresponding wire rod and the M20 studs did
not reach the minimum strength requirements of strength class 8.8 according to
EN ISO 898-1. Further investigations on PD-studs M20 have shown that the yield
and ultimate tensile strength did not depend on the diameter of the test specimen.
For this reason an inhomogeneous distribution of the yield and ultimate tensile
strength over the cross section could be excluded. The drop in strength can only be
assumed in the manufacturing process of the studs, but no further investigations
were made in the frame of this research project.

Table 2.4: Mechanical properties of the wire rod and the studs
measured values requirement acc. to EN ISO 898-1
Rp0,2 Rm fu / fy E Rp0,2 Rm
[N/mm²] [N/mm²] [-] [N/mm²] [N/mm²] [N/mm²]
wire rod
852 884 1,04 184.000
(∅7,06mm) 640 800
PD / RD stud M8 671 842 1,25 180.000
wire rod
770 824 1,07 175.000
(∅18,15mm) 660 830
PD / RD stud M20 627 777 1,24 178.000

2.2 Welding parameters and tension test setup

Previously to the VS – and VT – series a small series of test studs were welded in
the downhand position (Figure 2.1) using different welding times and peak currents.
In order to obtain suitable welding parameters these studs were subjected to
bending test according to EN ISO 14555 and if the studs did not fail by a brittle
fracture in the welding area, the used welding parameters are acceptable for the stud
type. Due to the different diameter at the cone shaped end of PD and RD studs the
welding parameters differ slightly. The average values for studs M8 are: tW = 300ms
and IW = 600A and for studs M20: tW = 750ms and IW = 1.400A. It should be noted
that all welding parameters are setting values at the stud welding system.

Figure 2.1: Sample picture from stud welding Figure 2.2: Hydraulic jack
The tests of the VS – series were carried out with a hydraulic jack as shown in
Figure 2.2. The elongations of the studs were measured by two displacement
transducers, which were placed oppositely. The tension force was applied on the test
studs by a threaded rod which was fixed at the top of the jack. To exclude effects of
load eccentricities, a hinge bearing was placed between the jack and the load cell.
All test of the VT – series were performed in a 630kN hydraulic testing machine with
a comparable measurement system.
In both tests series packing pieces were used with the aim to ensure a uniform ratio
of drilling diameter di and welding beat diameter d3, Figure 2.3. To avoid a significant
bending of the thin steel plates in test series VT a small drilling diameter was chosen
(d3/di ≈ 0,65). Due to the bending resistance of the 40mm thick steel plate in the VS
test series the drilling diameters of the packing piece does not need to be as small
as in the VT series, therefore a ratio of d3/di ≈ 0,30 was used.

Figure 2.3: Detailed sketch of the test setup

During the test the measurements were recorded by a data acquisition system from
HBM and stored in ASC II – files for further evaluations.

2.3 Results of VS test series

In the VS series 40 tests were performed with thread studs type PD and RD with
different length of the studs. With exception of one test stud M20x35-RD (No. 63) –
which failed by a brittle fracture in the welding area – all test studs shows the
expected failure modes: tensile fracture in the threaded part (PD – studs, see Figure
2.4) respectively tensile fracture in the shank (RD – studs). The test results and the
theoretical tension resistance are summarized in Table 2.5.
The theoretical tension resistance was computed based on EC3-1-8 by equation
(2.2) and (2.3). The comparisons of the ultimate test loads (mean value of five tests)
with the theoretical tension resistance indicate the applicability of both approaches.

Fu ,theo. = k 2 ⋅ ASp ⋅ f u fracture in the threaded part where: k 2 = 0,9 (2.2)

Fu ,theo. = A ⋅ f u fracture in the unthreaded shank (2.3)

In case of a failure in the threaded part the reduction factor k2 = 0,90 is needed to
cover the scatter in the tension resistance. If the failure occurs in the unthreaded
shank of the stud, a reduction factor is negligible.

Table 2.5: Test results of VS test series – thickness of the steel plate t = 40mm
geometry and cross sectional area material tension
test results comparison
of the studs strength resistance
stud F u,theo. acc. value standard
type ∅ d1 l2 ∅ d2 A A sp A sp / A f yb f ub Fu,m / Fu,theo.
to equation ultimate deviation
(2.2) / (2.3) load
[-] [m m ] [m m ] [m m ²] [m m ²] [-] [N/m m ²] [N/m m ²] [kN] F u,m [kN] SD [kN] [-]
20 30,8 0,76 1,11
M8 7,19 40,6 36,6 0,901 673 845 27,8
40 28,4 0,88 1,02
60 200,0 1,48 1,17
M20 18,38 265,3 245 0,923 634 774 170,7
100 190,9 0,87 1,12

20 28,8 0,78 1,14

M8 6,2 30,2 36,6 1,212 669 838 25,3
40 28,3 0,52 1,12
35 196,1 3,17 1,18
M20 16,5 213,8 245 1,146 619 780 166,8
100 192,6 1,70 1,15

Except the test stud No. 63, which failed by a brittle fracture caused by gas pore in
the welding area, all test studs shows a ductile load bearing behavior, Figure 2.5.
Possible explanations for the critical porosity in the welding area of stud No. 63 are
an insufficient preparation of the steel plate surface or a not perfect fitted ceramic
ferrule. This question could not be finally answered, but it was just one of more than
40 welded studs in the VS – series and therefore it should not be overrated. As
mentioned in chapter 2.1, the large thickness of the steel plate in the VS – series
was chosen in order to generate a disadvantageous thermal gradient in the heat
affected zone. The fast heat dissipation in the welding zone increased the local
hardness, which should be less than 380HV according to EN ISO 15614-1. To
measure the Vickers hardness macrosections were made on selected test studs
including stud No. 63, see Figure 2.6.

VS-series - PD / RD-Studs M8



Force F [kN]


M8x20-PD M8x20-RD
5 M8x40-PD M8x40-RD

0,00 1,00 2,00 3,00 4,00
Displacement Δu [mm]

Figure 2.4: Test stud M20x100-PD; failed in Figure 2.5: Load – displacement – curves from
threaded part of the stud selected studs M8-PD and M8-RD
Figure 2.6: Macrosection of test No. 63, Figure 2.7: Measured hardness of test No. 63,
M20x35-RD (location of measurements M20x35-RD (Measurement 01)

The Vickers hardness varied in all three measurements between 280HV01 for the
steel plate made of S690QL and maximum values of approximately 490HV01 in the
HAZ, as shown in Figure 2.7. Because the exceeding of the hardness limit value
given by EN ISO 15614-1 was detected in all measurements, it could be assumed,
that a local hardness above the limit did not reduce the load bearing capacity and the
ductility of the stud welding in case of studs made of 8MnSi7. This estimation should
not be assigned to stud welding in general without further investigations.

2.3 Results of VT test series

To verify the weldability of studs made of 8MnSi7 on thin steel plates 51 tension
tests were performed in the VT series. According to EN ISO 14555 the minimum
requirement for drawn arc stud welding using ceramic ferrules as weld pool backup
is tmin = 1/4d, therefore steel plates with a thickness 2mm (M8) respectively 5mm
(M20) were used.
In each stud welding of the VT series the penetration was less than the steel plate
thickness, see Figure 2.8. The required welding energy to achieve a cross sectional
joint for studs made of 8MnSi7 is comparable to studs of strength class 4.8 and due
to this the minimum thickness requirement of tmin = 1/4d is applicable.

Figure 2.8: Back side of steel plate A1 and macrosections of studs from the VT series

In general the studs failed by a shear fracture in the steel plate. Only in one subset
with studs M8x40-RD three tests failed in the welding area caused by gas pores,
which are a result of a slight underestimation of the peak current and the welding
time. Therefore ten additional studs M8x40-RD with modified welding parameters
were tested and all failed by a shear fractures in the steel plate.
The test results of the VT – series, excluding the first subset of M8x40-RD studs, are
summarized in Table 2.6. As a first approximation the shear resistance Fu,theo. was
computed by equation (2.4) using the diameter of the stud shank (d2) to define the
shear stressed area.

Fu ,theo. = Av ⋅ f u 3 where: Av = π⋅d2 ⋅ t (2.4)

A good accordance of the theoretical shear resistance and the test results was given
only for studs M20-PD. Depending on the stud type and nominal diameter the
theoretical approach leads to a significant underestimation (M8-PD, M8-RD) or
overestimation (M20-RD) of the shear resistance. By close examination of the
fracture pattern the reason for this is obvious, see Figure 2.9. For studs M8-PD the
shear fracture occurs along the outer edge of the welding bead and if the shear
resistance was calculated with d3 instead of d2 the deviation is less than 27%
(computed with the nominal yield strength!). In all tests with RD – studs the fracture
pattern scatter significantly. It is particularly noticeable in Figure 2.9, that the area of
the shear fracture surface decrease with an increasing stud diameter. For this
reason the theoretical approach leads to an overestimated shear resistance for studs

Table 2.6: Test results of VT test series – thickness of the steel plate t = 1/4d1,nom
material and geometry properties of the
geometry of the studs and the test results
work piece
welding bead mean comparison
material shear resistance
stud value standard
∅ d 3,nom strength Av= F u,theo. =
type ∅ d2 ultimate deviation
∅ d1 l2 (welding t
b ead) fy fu π *d 2 *t f y *A v / √ 3 load Fu,m/Fu,theo.
[− ] [mm] [mm] [mm] [N/mm²] [N/mm²] [mm] [mm²] [kN] F u,m [kN] SD [kN] [-]
20 31,4 0,69 1,77
M8 7,19 10,0 680 800 2 45,2 17,7
40 (1) 29,9 0,58 1,69
60 129,2 4,68 1,00
M20 18,38 24,5 776 834 5 288,7 129,4
100 132,5 9,24 1,02

20 18,8 2,35 1,23

M8 6,2 9,0 680 800 2 39,0 15,3
40 18,9 2,22 1,24
35 79,0 6,80 0,68
M20 16,5 23,0 776 834 5 259,2 116,1
100 84,1 6,15 0,72
3 of 5 studs failed by a tensil fraction in the threaded part of the stud

Figure 2.9: Detail photo from PD and RD studs tested in the VT series
The comparison of the measured ultimate loads of RD – studs with those of PD –
studs with the same nominal diameter reveals a constant ratio of approximately 0,62.
Therefore equation (2.4) could be enlarged by an additional coefficient k that covers
the reduced shear fracture surface of RD – studs:

⎧1,00 PD – studs
Fu ,theo. = k ⋅ π ⋅ d 2 ⋅ f u 3 where: k=⎨ (2.5)
⎩0,62 RD – studs

The modified approach given in equation (2.5) should be verified by additional tests
using studs with a nominal diameter between M8 and M20 to ensure that the
suggested linear interpolation did not overestimate the shear resistance.


In the course of the research project the weldability of high strength studs made of
8MnSi7 was verified. The basic principles for drawn arc stud welding according to
EN ISO 14555 could be utilized for the high strength studs.
Further statistical evaluations – which are not part of the presented paper – have
shown that the drop in strength from the studs with a nominal diameter of M20 did
not affect the safety level, even if the nominal ultimate strength was used to
determine the tensile resistance. Due to this, the high strength studs could be
classified as strength class 8.8. To cover shear failure in case of thin a thin steel
plate, a design approach was proposed, founded on the test results. By reason of
the scattering of the fracture pattern and the supposed linear interpolation for stud
diameters between M8 and M20 additional tests should be performed.


The research work was preformed in the course of a German research project with
the financial support of the FOSTA ( and KÖCO Köster & Co. GmbH
( and will be summarized in the report number P787, published by
the FOSTA. All studs used in the tests were produced and welded by KÖCO.

CEN (2010) EN 1993, Design of steel structures – Part 1-8: Design of joints; German
version EN 1993-1-8:2010
CEN (2002) EN 10263, Steel rod, bars and wire for cold heading and cold extrusion -
Part 2: Technical delivery conditions for steels not intended for heat treatment
after cold working; German version EN 10263-2:2001
CEN (2009) EN ISO 898, Mechanical properties of fasteners made of carbon steel
and alloy steel - Part 1: Bolts, screws and studs with specified property classes -
Coarse thread and fine pitch thread, German version EN ISO 898-1:2009
CEN (2000) EN ISO 4063, Welding an allied processes – Nomenclature of
processes and reference numbers, German version EN ISO 4063:2000
CEN (2008) EN ISO 13918, Welding – Studs and ceramic ferrules for arc stud
welding, German version EN ISO 13918:2008
CEN (2006) EN ISO 14555, Welding – Arc stud welding of metallic materials,
German version EN ISO 14555:2006
Trillmich, R., Welz, W.: Bolzenschweißen Grundlagen und Anwendung;
Fachbuchreihe Schweißtechnik, Band 133; DVS – Verlag, Düsseldorf; 1997
Ungermann, D., Schneider, S.: Welded threaded studs with a tensile strength of
800N/mm², Schlussbericht FOSTA Forschungsvorhaben P787; published by