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Edition 1 - 2002


training notes U N D E R S TA N D I N G S TA I N L E S S S T E E L A N D I T S P R O P E R T I E S

the welding and joining of stainless steels

THE NATURE OF addition of nickel or, more rarely, inherently less ductile than the face centred
manganese, to the steel as an additional cubic form and this is reflected in the greater
element to the chromium needed for level of difficulty found in mechanically
There are a large number of stainless steels
corrosion resistance. It is found that the forming this type of steel. The steel is also
but they all rely on one thing for their
nickel addition also gives a further, minor, more difficult to weld. The absence of nickel
stainless quality – a film of chromium oxide
increase in corrosion resistance. Its principal (Ni) also gives a steel with a slightly lower
on the surface. For a satisfactory, sufficiently
advantage is, however, the major atmospheric corrosion resistance.
corrosion resistant film, a minimum of
improvement in ductility it gives to the steel.
around 11% chromium (Cr) is required with The ferritic steels are also brittle at lower
These steels are the most common, they are
amounts of around 18% preferred for the temperatures.
also the easiest to fabricate by either
best atmospheric corrosion resistance. In the UNS system the basic steel is S40900
mechanical forming or welding.
The nature of this film is such that it inhibits with around 12% chromium and the most
The basic grade is UNS 30400 with the next
the corrosion of the steel. It has the other common being S43000 with around 18%
most common being one with around 2%
important quality of being self-healing. If it chromium. There are also some proprietary
molybdenum (Mo) added to improve marine
is damaged in a normal oxygen containing grades of this type of steel termed weldable
corrosion resistance, UNS S31600. Each of
environment it will quickly reform. ferritic steels, e.g. 3CR12®1 and 5CR12®2.
these has a low carbon grade, UNS30403
The steel supporting the film can be one of and UNS S31603. Older names for each of Duplex stainless steels
five main types – the differences between these four steels are 304, 316, 304L and This group of steels is designed to achieve a
these are mainly related to the mechanical 316L, but with the proliferation of names it higher strength and corrosion resistance by
properties of the steel although there can be has been found more effective to use one of combining the advantages generated by a
an effect on the protective film that can alter the two standard systems, either the United two phase structure. The phases are present
the way that film responds to different States based Unified Numbering System in approximately equal proportions. The
corrosive environments. (UNS), used above, or the European based steels solidify as ferrite and the austenite
ISO system – largely based on the German forms both at the grain boundaries and
The different types of stainless steel are: DIN terminology. This paper will use the within the grains on cooling.
UNS system.
Austenitic stainless steels Duplex steels have a higher strength than
These steels have a face centred cubic Ferritic stainless steels either the austenitic and ferritic grades and
crystal structure, referred to by metallurgists The ferritic steels have a body centred cubic are not as susceptible to the stress
as austenite. The structure requires the crystal structure. This type of structure is corrosion problems found with the

Figure 1: Typical double ‘U’ joint for plate Figure 2: Typical single ‘U’ joint for plate
t=19mm and over, A=1.6-3.2mm, t=19mm and over, A=1.6-3.2mm, Figure 3: Typical double ‘V’ joint
B=1.6-2.4mm, R=6.4mm B=1.6-2.4mm, R=6.4mm t=12.7mm max, A=0.8-2.4mm,
minimum minimum B=1.6-2.4mm, C=60-80˚

Rue Col. Bourg 120, B-1140 Brussels, Belgium Telephone: +32 (2) 702 8900 Facsimile: +32 (2) 702 8899 Email: issf@iisi.be Web: www.worldstainless.org
Figure 4: Typical ‘V’ joint for sheet and
plate Figure 5: Typical square butt joint for sheet
t=12.7mm max, A=0.8-2.4mm, t=3.2mm max, A=0.8-2.4mm
B=1.6-2.4mm, C=60-80˚ Figure 6: Use of a consumable insert to
help provide root penetration
common austenitic grades. Additions of There are three types of martensitic stainless
molybdenum and nitrogen (N) are normal steel: They are used for corrosion resistant
in duplex grades to further improve their tooling and surgical instruments.
• The basic grade, S41000 with carbon
general corrosion resistance.
limited to 0.15% for the lower strength The use of the term ‘surgical‘ in relation to
This group do not have the wide operating components. It finds applications in these steels should not be confused with the
temperature range of the austenitic steels, the steam turbine blading, golf club heads term surgical stainless steel. This is a
normal operational temperature should be and other relatively low strength items. vacuum melted electropolished S31603
between -50°C and 280°C. They lack For some applications where improved grade with an extremely low non-metallic
toughness below the lower limit and are corrosion resistance is required, about inclusion count designed for internal use in
likely to form harmful embrittling 1.25 to 2.5% Ni is added to improve the restorative surgery or implants.
intermetallic phases if held for prolonged corrosion resistance.
periods above the upper temperature limit. Precipitation hardening stainless
A sub-set of this grade is the super steels
The steels are also slightly more difficult to martensitic steels where molybdenum is
By adding alloying elements that precipitate
weld than the austenitic grades. added to further increase the corrosion
a large number of small particles throughout
resistance. Steels with up to 3~4%
Martensitic stainless steel the lattice, a marked increase in strength is
molybdenum are available e.g. S42300 has
achieved with only a small loss in corrosion
This group of steels is an extension of the Cr: 11.0-12.0 and Mo: 3.0-4.0.
ferritic grades – but with extra carbon. All
grades may be hardened and tempered with • Cutlery stainless, S42000. This has a The precipitating phases are either copper
heat treated hardnesses available up to higher carbon level, usually around rich or nickel-titanium-aluminium
60HRC for the highest carbon (C) grades. 0.25~0.30 %, It is used for shafting,
intermetallic compounds. Precipitation
They lack the corrosion resistance of the cutlery and surgical instruments.
hardening stainless steels are relatively
austenitic or straight ferritic grades but still • High carbon grades – S44002, S44003 expensive and are only used where their
may be considered as ‘stainless‘ compared to and S44004. These gave carbon ranging above average mechanical properties are
normal steels. from 0.6 to 1.0% depending on the grade. required. Cast precipitation hardening steels
are more common than the wrought variety
because of the ease of small scale
Table 1: Stainless steel cutting methods manufacturing that casting permits.There are
Method Thickness cut Comment three basic types:

Shearing Sheet strip, thin plate Prepare edge exposed to • Martensitic matrix, e.g. S17400 (17-4PH).
environment to remove tear crevices • Martensite + austenite, i.e. semi-
austenitic, matrix, e.g. S17700 (17-7PH).
Sawing & abrasive Wide range of thicknesses Remove lubricant or cutting liquid
• Austenitic matrix, e.g. S66286.
cutting before welding or heat treating
The expected strength from these materials
Machining Wide range shapes Remove lubricant or cutting liquid can reach as high as 2000 MPa for cold
before welding or heat treating
worked aged S17700.
Plasma arc cutting Wide range of thicknesses Grind cut surfaces to clean metal
Powder metal cut-ting Wide range of thicknesses Cut less accurate than PAC, must WELDABILITY
with iron-rich powder remove all dross ‘Weldability’ is defined as ‘The capacity of a
material to be welded under the imposed
Carbon arc cutting Used for gouging backside of Grind cut surfaces to clean metal fabrication conditions into a specific,
welds and cutting irregular
suitably designed structure and to perform
satisfactorily in the intended service3.’

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 2
Figure 7: Crevice corrosion associated with
a backing ring

This is not a definition that makes the

measurement of weldability possible but
implies that the base metal, the component
design, the welding process and the final
Figure 8: Pipe purging arrangements
welded joint must combine to produce an
item that is ‘fit for purpose’. In both the weld metal and the heat affected pool. This matter will be discussed further,
The function of this paper is to look at the zone there will be surface effects that can see Electrode coatings in this Training Note.
factors that control the welding process, the cause a marked change in the corrosion With bare wire electrodes there is no
problems and resultant defects that might resistance of the stainless steel. This will be provision for this type of control and the rod
arise and how all of this can be effectively dealt with later when the effect of surface will be ER308L.
controlled. oxides or ‘heat-tint’ are discussed.
With stainless steel there is not only the Welding standards
problem of achieving a sound weld, but the Preparation for welding
As a help to both designers and welders there
higher alloy content and the need to maintain Handling and cutting
are a number of useful Standards that can assist
corrosion resistance provide additional Stainless steel must be handled more
in specifying both materials and processes.
challenges. carefully than carbon steels. Surface quality
British Standard BS EN 1011-3:2000 is often important, but other types of
The welding zones Arc Welding of Stainless Steels damage, such as ‘pick-up‘ of carbon steel
The sections of a welded structure that are
BS EN 1011-3 covers issues such as: storage can help to initiate subsequent corrosion.
affected by the welding process are the weld
and handling, selection of welding The steel should always be handled with
metal itself and the heat affected zones in the
consumables, welding procedure definition equipment that is covered with material to
parent metal immediately adjacent to the
and quality acceptance standards. All types of prevent scratching and contamination from
weld pool.
stainless steels are covered by this standard. carbon steel.
The weld metal is a miniature casting with
American Welding Society Standards Cutting of sheet, plate or bar cannot be done
the attendant structure and properties that
The international nature of many industries by oxy-acetylene processes because of the
can arise with a casting, e.g. large grain size,
requires a knowledge of the specifications use possibility of carbon contamination of the
entrapped gases, inclusions, shrinkage cracks
in other areas. The AWS electrode specification cut surface. This would result in a decrease
and/or stresses. The heat affected zone,
system is widely used. In this system in mechanical properties and corrosion
sometimes referred to as HAZ will have a
electrodes are numbered to reveal the type of resistance – unless the damaged area is
non-uniform structure, different to the base
electrode, e.g. bare wire will have ER, EC or subsequently gouged out. Otherwise
metal and perhaps changed because of the
EQ for rods, cored or strip electrodes standard cutting procedures can be used
heating from the weld metal and the rapid
quenching provided by the surrounding mass respectively. Shielded metal arc welding
of cold metal. These effects can result in electrodes only have the initial letter ‘E‘.
cracking, stressing, with, most probably, This term is followed by a descriptor of the
distortion, as well as a change in grain size alloy involved, e.g. 308L would indicate the
and mechanical properties. welding consumable was 308 type material
with low carbon. Two further numbers are
frequently used to indicate the effect of the
coating type on free ferrite in the weld metal
(the reason why free ferrite is important will
be discussed later). Hence a rod for the
shielded arc welding of S30403 material
might be specified as E308L-16 where the
16 infers that the electrode coating is
Figure 9: Crevice formation at a pipe cross
section change designed to offer good cracking resistance Figure 10
when there is little ferrite present in the weld
08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 3
Figure 11

although it is still important to maintain the

surface cleanliness. A summary of stainless
steel cutting methods is shown in Table 14,
Figure 13
Pre-weld cleaning Piping design - Root penetration
Weld cleanliness is important in all welding It is essential that the condition of the root
processes but is especially so with stainless area in a pipe weld be such that there is no
steel. The cleaning operation should be possibility of crevice formation. Consumable
carried out for not less than 50mm either Figure 12
inserts set within the join are sometimes
side of the join. enter the flux, but will tend to be entrapped used to help ensure complete root
in the molten metal giving rise to non- penetration, Figure 6. Backing rings can
In order to prevent introducing impurities,
metallic inclusions that are usually too small sometimes accentuate this possibility and, if
particularly contamination from carbon steel,
to be detected by radiography but that can this is likely, they must be avoided, Figure 7.
by the cleaning operation the following rules
lower the strength of the weld.
should be followed:
Pipe design - Purging
Shop contaminants
• Never use carbon steel wire brushes, In many types of environments it is
These will result from sulphur and carbon
chipping hammers etc. All tools or brushes necessary to effectively purge the inside
from organic cleaning fluids, sulphur,
should be made from stainless steel. circumference of the pipe in the weld zone.
phosphorus and carbon from mark-up and
• The tools, brushes etc should be reserved Failure to do this could leave sufficient heat-
temperature indicating crayons and lead, tin
for the stainless steel fabrication area and tint to initiate corrosion. In cases where there
and/or zinc from shop tools. There is also a
never used on carbon steel. is the possibility of corrosion, e.g. pipes
• Grinding wheels should be used and, range of airbourne shop contaminants such
containing brackish or water higher chloride
again, reserved for the stainless steel as grinding dust that cause problems if
concentrations, or where zero corrosion can
fabrication area. entrapped in the weld.
be tolerated, e.g. pharmaceutical work, the
The cleaning operations are designed to Joint design removal of all heat-tint is essential.
remove two major types of impurity: A summary of the dimensions used for
This will generally require post-weld
Surface oxides typical joints for plate welds is given in
pickling but it also indicates the need for
These can arise from thermal cutting Figures 1 to 5. A principle that needs to be
pipe purging. It is uneconomic to provide a
operations. The melting points of chromium considered with all stainless steel welds is
protective atmosphere for the whole pipe, so
and nickel oxides are above that of the molten that the weld pool is not as fluid as that
purging dams are frequently used. Figure 8
weld pool. Chromium oxide melts at 2265°C, obtained with carbon steel so that wider
shows some disposable and reusable types of
nickel oxide at 1984°C but the weld pool bevels and thinner lands in butt welds are
dams that are used.
would probably not exceed 1500-1600°C. used than those that would be used with
This means that these oxides do not melt and carbon steel. Piping design - Debris build up
It is important to beware of situations that
Piping design – Alignment
can give debris build up. Microbiological
Pipe welding can generate crevices due to
corrosion (MIC) can occur in stagnant areas
poor alignment. The use of orbital welding
techniques helps to minimise this because of
the need for higher precision in set-up
procedures when using this type of equipment.
Automatic orbital welding processes are very
critical in their demands for edge preparation
and alignment. This process usually calls for
specialised pipe-end cutting and processing
equipment. In general pipe-wall thicknesses
and out of round characteristic should not
vary by more than 5%. In addition the gap
when the two pipes are butted together should
Figure 14: Generation of crevices in welds Figure 15: Backing plated design
not exceed 5% of the pipe-wall thickness5.

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 4
then boiling may occur with deposits should be such to ensure free drainage to
forming in these dead areas and the oxygen prevent buildup of fluid pockets and/or
concentration of the fluid decreasing relative damp areas that could form suitable sites for
to surrounding areas. crevice corrosion, Figure 13. It is generally
found that pockets such as this progressively
These could be a source of pitting corrosion.
increase in dissolved solids, generally
Tank design – Surface smoothness chlorides, and corrosion will result. The free
Smooth surfaces on the microscopic scale exposure to air also allows for continued
can improve corrosion resistance due to the repair to any damage to the oxide film
lower tendency for grime to adhere to the necessary for corrosion prevention.
surface and thus generate sites for crevice
corrosion or microbiological corrosion. Tank design – Tight crevice conditions
Electropolished stainless steel is therefore should be avoided
generally superior to mechanically polished Welded joints should always be designed to
Figure 16: Internal stresses formed in a
stainless steel in corrosive environments. It be completely sealed, i.e. there should be no
has the added advantage that the narrow crevices that can initiate corrosion.
as can pitting corrosion. Fluid velocity
should be kept high to avoid this. Debris can electropolishing process dissolves away a The crevice acts as a driving force to
also produce crevice conditions. Failure in small amount of the surface and would thus maintain corrosion by having a differing
heat exchangers is frequently caused by low remove any embedded iron or chromium oxygen concentration inside and outside the
flow rates allowing debris to settle and depleted layer. crevice. For this driving force to be effective
corrosion then occurring in the low oxygen there must also be a corrodent present.
Tank design – Containers should
region under this deposit where pipe
be designed to always be full In any joint the best solution for eliminating
diameters decrease, Figure 9, p3.
Full containers will minimise condensation the possibility of crevice corrosion is to
Tank design effects. Dissolved solids tend to concentrate completely seal any possible crevice by
There are a number of important features of in the condensate as it evaporates and can, welding, the second alternative is by a
design that can minimise corrosion failure of eventually, build up to a level where suitable flexible sealant that will ensure that
welded tanks. corrosion might occur. If complete filling is no moisture can seep into the crevice.
impossible then there should be adequate
It is also important in welds that undercuts
Tank design – Design for complete ventilation to provide the same end result,
and overlaps be eliminated because of the
Figure 12.
Surfaces should be kept smooth and possibility of them acting as sites for crevice
streamlined, Figure 10. Possible pockets Tank design – Internal splashing corrosion. The same applies to incompletely
where stagnant pools can collect and Splashing within tanks should be filled root runs, particularly in pipe welding
evaporate are likely sites for corrosion minimised. Splashed material can where there could be problems with post
initiation. The base of a tank should have concentrate as the fluid evaporates. This is weld inspections, Figure 14, p4.
rounded corners to ensure that debris does similar to the reason for keeping tanks full Backing plates are frequently necessary to
not get trapped in sharp internal corners This so that there is no condensate on the roof. ensure correct root run completion. These
also applies to brackets and angles. They Entry conditions should also be such that are usually made from copper and two
should be designed so as not to collect water, there is quick mixing of the incoming fluid designs are shown in Figure 15. Without a
Figure 11. to ensure that concentration differences are backing plate root defects such as uneven
kept to a minimum. penetration giving rise to crevices and voids
Tank design - Temperature uniformity
Tank design – Air circulation are more probable. Care must be taken to
The temperature within a tank should be
There should always be room for air ensure that the arc energy and direction is
kept as uniform as possible. If heaters are
circulation around equipment and the design such that the copper is not melted and any
placed in areas where circulation is difficult

Figure 18: Generation of stress corrosion

Figure 17: Area effect in galvanic corrosion under an insulation cover

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 5
Tank design – Design for minimum stress should have a large surface area compared
If there is any possibility of stress corrosion to the more noble one, Figure 17, p5.
then internal stress should be minimised.
The area difference that can be tolerated is
The most usual problem arises with
difficult to predict since it will depend on
austenitic steels in warm chloride solutions.
variables such as the actual area, resistance
This will apply to both the stress resulting
to the passage of the corroding current and
from the applied load as well as any internal
the electrolyte present. Ratios of 10:1 are
stress resulting from the fabrication process.
sometimes quoted but should not be taken
The residual stress is best removed by an
as authoritative because of the many other
annealing operation after fabrication.
variables that can interfere.
If the potentially damaging fluid can be
Tank design – Insulation materials
placed in contact with a surface under
Figure 19: Controlling distortion in tack These can frequently be sources of chloride
internal compressive stress this could be an
welds contamination. This can lead to pitting
and/or stress corrosion if the chloride
traces of residual copper must be removed
For example the use of cylindrical stainless contamination is coupled with damp and hot
from the weld surface.
steel hot water tanks has the advantage that conditions. Even though the overall
A less suitable method is the use of tapes or the internal surface of the tank will be under concentration of chlorides might be low, it is
ceramic pastes, but these must generally be a compressive internal stress because of the always possible that leaching and
considered as not as suitable. way it is formed, Figure 16. This will be in subsequent concentration of the residual salt
opposition to any tensile stresses present solution may occur. Small leaks in an
When using washers or packing, non-
from pressure or transients, such as water insulated tank can frequently give rise to
absorbent, non-metallic material should and
hammer, that could be an initiator of stress corrosion from the outside in. This results
welds should be designed not to leave crevice
corrosion. from the chemicals entering the insulation
conditions. Graphite containing washes or
from the tank remaining and concentrating
seals are to be avoided at all costs because of It is for this reason that rectangular austenitic
as the liquid component evaporates, Figure
the galvanic corrosion effect of graphite. stainless steel hot water tanks should be
18, p5. European practice in this area
avoided if higher chloride levels are possible.
The use of welds to replace fasteners is one includes specifying that the insulation must
sure way to eliminate crevices, provided The same effect can be obtained by shot have no more than 0.5% leachable chlorides
steps are taken to ensure that welding does peening the surface to build up a and wrapping the stainless steel with
not introduce new crevices, e.g. Figure 7, p3. compressive surface stress. Because the aluminium foil under the insulation.
This diagram refers to the use of a backing prediction of absolute values is complex,
plate. Backing plates should be avoided, even this can only be cited as an advantage in the Fixtures
in the form shown in the ‘good‘ group reduction of internal tensile stresses – not as Many larger designs frequently require the
because of the possibility that there could a statement that this will give a net preparation of jigs or other fixtures to
still be sites for crevices. It is also important, compressive force in this region. If there is firmly locate the components prior to
for the same reason, that misalignment in any doubt, then an alloy more resistant to welding. These can markedly reduce
circumferential pipe welds should never be stress corrosion, e.g. a duplex stainless steel, welding time but care must be exercised to
more than half of the wall thickness because or, in some cases, a high nickel alloy, must ensure there is no possibility of iron/carbon
of the tendency for debris to collect at the be selected. steel contamination resulting from these
step. fixtures.
Tank design – Galvanic effects
In larger components it may be that a carbon
Tank design - Avoid drainage from If other metals are in contact, such as from
steel jig or fixture may actually be welded
unprotected steel pipe fittings, ensure that they are of a
to the stainless steel components being
Drainage from unprotected steel can initiate compatible material on the galvanic series.
joined. If this is done, it is essential that all
corrosion from embedded iron, arising from In any essential contact, the less noble metal
trace of the welded structure, including any
rust run-off. It will be remembered that
embedded iron is a common form of Table 2: Thermal expansion and conductivity of some common stainless steels
corrosion staining.
Thermal conductivity Thermal Expansion
A similar problem can arise if water from Material W/mK (20-200°C) mm/mm/°C *10-6 (20°C)
mild steel pipes is allowed to run over a
stainless steel surface. A dripping tap from Mild steel 51.0 12.0
such a pipe into a stainless steel sink is an Aluminium alloy 180 23.6
example. The water from the pipe will
contain dissolved iron that will oxidise as the S30400 14.6 17.0
water on the steel surface evaporates and a Austenitic
residual layer of rust will form. This rust S43000 20.9 10.5
could then turn into ferric chloride as Ferritic
described with resultant corrosion of the S41000 25.1 11.0
stainless steel. Martensitic

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 6
‘pick-up‘ from the carbon steel be removed The corrosion resistance of stainless steel is Apart from surface scale, welding operations
by grinding prior to releasing the markedly affected by the nature of the oxide usually result in other defects that can
component. film. Tests on the corrosion resistance, as contaminate the surface with embedded iron,
measured by the number of pits that form e.g. weld spatter and arc strikes. These must
after immersion in a chloride environment, also be removed.
Because a welded structure has thermal
of the oxide scale on S30403 exposed for 2
stresses introduced by the uneven heating Pickling
hours at the temperatures indicated show that
and cooling inherent with welding, distortion Defects such as heat tint, scale, arc strikes
there is a marked increase for oxides
is a common problem with welded and weld spatter can almost always be
generated at around 300°C. This means that
structures. This is particularly pronounced removed by dissolving some of the surface
the metal under the heat affected zone in a
with stainless steels because of their higher away using acid, i.e. pickling. In some cases
weld is likely to have accelerated corrosion.
coefficient of thermal expansion, Table 26. of excessive damage, preliminary grinding
The problem is compounded with the The same applies, but to a lesser extent, for may be necessary but the most effective
austenitic steels because of their higher oxide scale/heat-tint formed at other processes rely on a final pickling operation
coefficient of expansion. temperatures. prior to delivery.

To avoid distortion, thin sections should be

adequately supported and tack welding
should be used. Tack welding should be done
in such a way as to minimise distortion.

Sequences for butt welding two flat plates

and for the welding of a cylindrical section
into a flat sheet are shown in Figure 19, p6.
As might be expected, distortion in sheet Figure 20: Weld melts contracts on cooling
material is especially noticeable and extra
care has to be used to minimise it, for 60
example, the welds in the circular section
may need to be smaller and closer together 50
than indicated in this diagram. Distortion can
Temperature ˚C

also be introduced during preparation. 40

Excessive localised grinding, particularly in
sheet material, can introduce sufficient
expansion to give an uneven surface. This is
especially noticeable with the high expansion
coefficient austenitic steels.

Tack welds should be ground to provide a 10

similar section to the parent plate otherwise
complete fusion may not be obtained on
thinner sections. It is also important that As Pickel Pickel Grind Grind SS 3M Sand
smaller welds should be ground clean and welded Bath Paste 380# 80# Brush Brush Blast
that any crater cracks be ground out.
Figure 21: Effect of weld scale/heat tint removal on the critical pitting temperature (i.e.
Metal shrinkage can also be a problem on the temperature at whcich pitting can occur in a standard electrolyte. The
repetitive welding of assemblies. This is lower the critical pitting temperature, the more corrosion resistant the surface.)
most usually encountered in pipe welding. A
series of butt welds, as shown in Figure 5, p2
can result in a final assembly that is S31803
considerably smaller than might be S31600
anticipated due to the shrinkage contraction 60
of the welds. Exact calculation of this
Temperature ˚C

allowance is difficult and suitable design

allowances to accommodate an imprecise 40
welded dimension must be allowed for.
Post-weld Cleaning
Effect of weld heat-tint/scale on
corrosion resistance 0
Parent Argon + Argon + Argon + Argon + Nitrogen +
Apart from the generally unacceptable visual Metal 5ppm O2 25ppm O2 50ppm O2 100ppm O2 10% H2
appearance of surface scale with stainless
steel, it also has a deleterious effect on Figure 22: The effect of the backing gas used during welding on subsequent corrosion
corrosion resistance.

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 7
Pickling is the usual, and preferred, surface damage. They should therefore only in food and biotechnology applications.
procedure for embedded iron and/or welding be used as a starting point when setting up a
There are chemicals other than hydrofluoric
scale or heat tint. Because these problems particular program.
acid that will accomplish the solution of the
will arise with almost every fabricating
Nitric acid is the basis for most stainless surface layers but the processing time is
process, there is a very good argument to
steel pickling solutions. Where the steel has considerably longer. For this reason
always pickle after fabrication.
been heated, by welding, heat treatment or hydrofluoric acid is most common where the
An example of the effect of this is given for a other means, to the point where a coloured final finish after pickling is not absolutely
welded plate for two grades of stainless steel oxide layer can be seen, there is a chromium critical. Where it is critical, less aggressive
in Figure 217. The method of evaluation is the depleted layer on the surface of the steel materials are used, e.g. phosphoric acid, and
critical pitting temperature. This is a term underneath the oxide layer. The lower processing conditions are accurately
used to describe the temperature at which chromium content gives lower corrosion monitored.
pitting corrosion is first found to develop resistance. To restore the best corrosion Citric acid is used in some specialised
after immersion for a standard time in ferric resistant performance, the damaged metal applications. It and others like it (e.g.
chloride. Tests are done at progressively layer must be removed, exposing a fully glycolic and fomic acids) have much lower,
increasing temperatures until pitting is first alloyed stainless steel surface. Hydrofluoric and therefore more controllable, corrosion
detected using a low magnification acid is added to dissolve away this low rates. Because of their chelating10 action,
microscope (20X). chromium metal, nitric acid alone will not they will also hold iron in solution.
remove this problem layer. Hydrofluoric acid
It can be seen that the pickling bath was the is also helpful, if not necessary, in removing In all cases pickling requires close control.
most effective in bringing the surface of the heavy oxide layers and has the added The more critical the process the greater the
stainless steel back towards its unaffected advantage that it forms stable complexes degree of control required.
value. This is followed by the finer of the with iron, chromium, aluminium, titanium Hydrochloric acid has been proposed as
two grinding operations. The coarser grind and silicon. The amount of metal removed another alternative but it is more difficult to
would give problems with the exposing of amounts to around 0.005 - 0.01mm. control, both because of its high pickling
more manganese sulphide and the
Nitric acid is not a unique acid for pickling. rate and also because of the effect of ferric
probability of micro crevices.
Other common pickling solutions for welded chloride build up with its harmful pitting
The nature of the oxide film can also be structures where close control over the characteristics. For this reason it is not a
significant, Figure 228 shows the effect of operation is required use phosphoric, citric recommended solution. Frequent cases can
oxygen concentration of the backing gas on or a range of other organic acids that are be cited of damage to stainless steel in
the surface corrosion resistance, again as capable of dissolving and sequestering9 the building construction where brick cleaning
measured by its critical pitting temperature. oxide products of welding. with hydrochloric acid has caused damage to
The gas variation would produce differing adjacent stainless steel – despite claims that
oxide conditions on the surface causing the The formation of these sequestered complexes effective washing was carried out.
change in corrosion resistance. prevents redeposition of the dissolved
components. For example iron salts could Although nitric-hydrofluoric acid mixtures
A listing of the common pickling solutions redeposit on the surface and initiate new are the most common, sulphuric acid may
from ASTM Standard A380 is given in Table corrosion sites. Other complexing, or also be used on some occasions as a
3. The concentrations, temperatures and chelating, materials are also employed. preliminary step. Because the scale on ferritic
times are only approximate values and are Ethylene diamine tetra acetic acid (EDTA) is a stainless steels can be more difficult to
inter-related. For example increased strength common addition to some types of pickling remove than that on the austenitic grades, it
or increased temperature would give solutions. It is available in both commercial is more usual to use a preliminary sulphuric
decreased time – but may cause excessive and high purity forms, the latter being required acid pickle or sand blasting operation with

Table 3: Pickling solutions for stainless steel

Material Condition Solution Temperature (°C) Time (min)
Austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, HNO3[67% strength]
maraging and precipitation Fully (6 - 25% by vol) As necessary
hardening alloys with ≥ 16%Cr. annealed only + 20 - 60 generally around
Except free machining grades HF [70% strength] 10 - 15
(0.5 - 8% by vol)
HNO3[67% strength]
Fully (≈10% by vol)
Free machining grades annealed only + 20 - 60 1-2
HF [70% strength]
(0.5 - 1.5% by vol)
Austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, Citric acid
maraging and precipitation Fully (1% by weight)
hardening alloys with ≥ 16%Cr. annealed only + 20 60
Except free machining grades NaNO3
(1% by weight)

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 8
these materials. If this is done, it should Table 4: Effect of time on passive film agents (surfactants) to lower the surface
always be followed by the more controllable formation energy at the interface and provide easy
nitric/hydrofluoric acid mixture. wetting by the cleaner.
Surface Time after
In general it can be said that neither sulphuric treatment treatment Surface
(hr) before potential Special care has to be taken with sulphide
nor hydrochloric acids are suitable alternatives testing (mv) type free machining steels. Not only do the
for the nitric-hydrofluoric acid mixtures. pickling solutions have to be less aggressive,
as received 0 -330
Other pickling solutions are listed in the 0 -560 as shown in Table 3, p8 but the sulphide
Pickled 1 -465 particles are attacked by the pickling
ASTM Standard A380, including one (pickle paste) 2 -430
specifically designed for carbon solutions and leave discontinuities on the
for 1hr and 3 -335
steel/stainless steel assemblies such as those rinsed clean 24 -330 surface. The best results are obtained if the
found in heat exchangers. There are also steel is immersed in a 5% sodium hydroxide
0 -865
some proprietary processes that are employed 1 -710 solution for about 30 minutes at 70-80°C
in specialised industry applications such as Abraded 80# 2 -640 both before and after pickling and the
3 -550 process finished by complete flushing before
super purity water for both semi-conductor 4 -445
application and biotechnology. releasing the component for service. It is
24 -340
always best to avoid the use of this type of
There are inherent dangers in handling acids Abraded 80# 0 -530
then pickled 1 -500 steel when corrosion might be a problem.
and special care is required with hydrofluoric
(pickle paste) 2 -480 In general, pickling with nitric/hydrofluoric
acid. Specialist advice should be sought for for 1hr and 3 -455
acid mixtures is usually done at around 50°C
the first aid treatments that should be on rinsed clean 24 -340
for about 15 minutes. A common acid
hand when using these materials.
Before pickling, it is essential to remove oil concentration would be between 5 and 25% of
Apart from the general precautions with the and grease from the surface. Failure to do 65% strength nitric acid and between 1 and
handling of acids, there are some this will result in patchy and uneven attack 3% of 50% hydrofluoric. The actual
metallurgical points that have to be on the surface. Cleaning can be done by concentrations, time and temperature generally
considered because of the effect the pickling alkaline, emulsion or solvent cleaning. A have to be trialled because of the variability of
can have on stainless steels that have been suitable test for the effectiveness of this scale type and amount, resulting from
modified during pickling. cleaning operation is the Water Break Test variabilities in the process and the material.
• Intergranular corrosion: If the stainless using high purity water. The final stage must always be rinsing, with,
steel has high carbon and has not been perhaps, a preliminary neutralising step.
It is also essential if chlorinated organic Rinsing must be complete and is usually done
stabilised there is a strong possibility that
solvents are being used that care be taken to with water at about pH 6-7.
intergranular corrosion will result. These
ensure there is no hydrolysis. This applies
steels must be heat treated to re-dissolve If sulphuric acid was to be used as a
particularly to vapour phase, solvent or
the carbides prior to pickling. preliminary treatment, about 8-10% by
emulsion degreasing where reaction of the
• Internal stress: If the steel is under high weight of concentrated sulphuric acid would
solvent with any water will produce free
internal stress there will be accelerated be used for about 5 minutes at 50°C, again
hydrochloric acid. In any solvent system the
attack in that region. Such steels should with the necessity to trial before settling on
presence of chlorinated solvents must be
be annealed prior to pickling. the final process. In general the straight
• Heat treatment condition: Carburised and watched, particularly if the component has
crevices or voids where the solvent could chromium grades will require about one to
nitrided steels as well as partially heat- two times the immersion time of the
treated martensitic stainless steels should austenitic alloys.
not be pickled. Carburised and nitrided Alkaline cleaners for this process are usually
steels could be attacked by the pickling Pickling pastes: Pickling can also be done
proprietary in nature and will consist of with pastes. The most common is a mixture
solutions as could martensitic steels that
materials such as soda ash, tri-sodium of the normal nitric/hydrofluoric acid in an
had not been fully hardened.
phosphate and sodium meta-silicate. The inert carrier to give a thixotropic paste. The
• Hydrogen embrittlement: Hardened
bath will also contain organic chelating paste has the advantage that it can be used
martensitic steels are susceptible to
agents Cleaner formulas will frequently on large structures that could not be
hydrogen embrittlement and should not
feature one or more of these. The cleaning immersed or on isolated weld areas,
be pickled unless steps can be taken to
solution will also contain surface active particularly side walls or on the underside of
subsequently remove the hydrogen by
• Surface finish: Pickling can be expected
to damage polished surfaces. It would not
be normal to attempt picking on such a
surface other than with one of the less
aggressive acids – very careful control of
the composition balance and operating
conditions would be required. If possible
polishing should not be done until after
any pickling that might be required.
Figure 23: Passive film formation times

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 9
horizontal components. Pickling pastes can solution must be mixed freshly for each test. applications called water for injection (WFI),
be applied by painting, spraying or roller The Standard should be referred to for test there may be a need to use additional
coating and are left in contact with the steel details for all three procedures as well as the chemicals, including chelating agents to tie
for times between 10 minutes and 2 hr. necessary precautions that must be carried up critical ions in harmless complexes, to
Pastes may be coloured to assist in seeing out with each test. provide an especially prepared passive film.
that coverage is complete. They are also It has been suggested that inclusions such as
There is also an electrochemical test for the
available in a range of strengths. alumina and manganese sulphide, both
presence of embedded iron. This test
normal inclusions in stainless steel to a
After the required time the pickling paste measures the electrode potential of the
greater or lesser extent, can act as sites for
must, as with normal pickling, be removed by stainless steel and the normal value is found
pitting corrosion initiation.
washing, at this time any loose scale should be to be lowered by around 300-500 mv if iron
sponged away. If there is still weld scale/heat is present. In summary, the function of the pickling
tint present, the process should be repeated. solution is essentially to remove welding
Welding scale will produce the same
scale as well as the top surface of the
Embedded iron: Pickling is the process most problems as embedded iron with the scale
stainless steel to restore the surface
usually used to overcome this problem. As changing to ferric chloride resulting in
chromium to the base level for the steel. It
described earlier, embedded iron arises from subsequent pitting of the steel.
dissolves more iron than chromium from the
contact with forming tools under the high
Welding scale also has the added surface thus building up, or in the case of
pressure that is used during forming
disadvantage that it will have removed some welding, restoring the chromium
operations such as bending, drawing etc. or
of the chromium as an oxide from the concentration of the surface layers and
iron that has been picked up from
surface of the steel and thus lowered the restoring the corrosion resistance of the
contaminated grinding wheels. Steel splatter
corrosion resistance of the steel. Pickling can material.
from welding operations and fragments of
minimise the effect of both of these
iron from shot blasting are also likely sources.
problems. In the former case by removing Passivation
The function of the pickling process is the iron oxide, in the latter case by Although the passive chromium oxide film
basically to remove this iron that has become dissolving away the outer layer of chromium will spontaneously re-form if a new stainless
embedded into the surface and thus to depleted steel. steel surface is exposed to oxygen, this, like
increase the ability of the surface film to all chemical reactions, takes time.
Heat tint, colouring rather than loose scale, is
resist corrosion.
a special case. Heat tint can range from straw Additional, more rapid and, possibly,
Embedded iron can be very hard to detect on yellow to black. Tuthill and Avery suggest that superior passivation can be achieved by a
a normal stainless steel surface prior to it if the surface is exposed only to water, passivating process using nitric acid.
rusting. The simplest test is to wet with water alkaline environments or mild industrial
Tuthill suggests that passivation is rarely
and allow the surface to dry, usually over an atmospheres then it is not necessary to
required and that the majority of the
8 hr period. Rust colouration will indicate remove it11. They point out that this does not
protection is provided by the pickling
embedded iron that will have to be removed. apply with acid environments, high purity
operation – provided it is done correctly12.
ASTM A380 describes two more sensitive water systems, nuclear piping,
tests for detecting embedded iron. The first pharmaceuticals, electronic chip washing and It is possible to test for the level of passivity
uses an acid copper sulphate solution and brewery equipment where heat tint can electrochemically, commercial meters are
after swabbing a copper colouration can be provide a problem. For example the available for this. Freshly abraded surfaces
detected if there is any embedded iron. A phenomenon of rouging often seen with high show a movement towards the less noble end
more sensitive, and generally preferred, test and ultra high purity water can often be traced of the electromotive series by about 400 mv.
uses a solution of potassium ferricyanide in back to iron oxide generated from heat tint. These progressively return to the normal
nitric acid. This gives a blue stain which is an value after a short period. Bukovinsky13
Where extreme conditions apply, such as this
indication of the presence of iron. This suggests this is about 24 hr, Table 4, p9.
super purity water, in pharmaceutical
Table 5: Passivating solutions
Material Condition Solution Temp (°C) Time (min)
Austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, Annealed or cold worked HNO3(67% strength):
maraging and precipitation with a non-reflective surface 20 - 50% by volume 50-70 10-30
hardening alloys with ≥ 16%Cr. Annealed or cold worked NHO3(67% strength):
Except free machining grades with a bright surface 20-40% by volume plus 50-70 10-30
Na2Cr2O72H2O: 2-6% by weight
Ferritic, martensitic, maraging Annealed or hardened with NHO3(67% strength): 45-55 20-30
and precipitation hardening a non-reflective surface 20 - 50% by volume
alloys with <16%Cr. Annealed or hardened with HNO3(67% strength):
Except free machining grades a reflective surface 20-25% by volume plus 50-55 15-30
Na2Cr2O72H2O: 2-6% by weight
Annealed or hardened with HNO3(67% strength):
Free machining grades bright machined or 20-50% by volume plus 20 - 50 25-40
polished surfaces Na2Cr2O72H2O: 2-6% by weight

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 10
Using the increase in weight as a measure, Table 6: MMAW electrode coating materials
periods as long as ten days have been
Carbonates These have two functions:
suggested, with the time being decreased • to generate a protective atmosphere of carbon dioxide and
with oxidising additions, Figure 2314. The carbon monoxide; and
change is hyperbolic with a rapid change at • to provide the basic oxides CaO, MgO and Na2O, that help
first, slowing down as the solid state from the protective slag and react with the molten metal to help remove
diffusion required to build up the film impurities from the metal into the slag. Other oxides that can increase the
becomes more difficult. basic nature of the electrode are lithium, iron and manganese.

Passivation is a type of pickling operation Rutile (TiO2) This is an acidic oxide and is used to generate a slag with the
but should not be confused with pickling. It required basic/acid balance. It is also an excellent ‘ionizer’ (i.e. it provides a
is possible that some minor amounts of heat stable arc in both AC and DC welding). Other oxides that can increase the
tint or embedded iron could be removed by acidic nature of the coating are aluminium and zirconium.
the passivating solutions given without a
preliminary pickle but it would be better to Ionizers Sodium and potassium salts have a low ionisation potential
and thus help in promoting arc stability – particularly in AC welding.
clean the surface by pickling to ensure that
there was no contamination of areas that Fluorides Most usually added as calcium fluoride as a means of
could have been depleted in chromium decreasing the slag melting point and thus help to raise its fluidity. They
through excessive oxidation. provide the reverse function to an ioniser and are thus not usually found in
electrodes for AC welding.
A summary of some passivating solutions is
given in Table 5, p10. The conditions listed Additives This can include a range of proprietary additions that used as
are only approximate and are interactive so binders, extrusion aids, colourants etc.
that trials on any particular component could
Electropolishing would, by the nature of the their strength with use. Checking for
be made using these values as a starting
process, remove any embedded iron and contamination and strength is therefore
point. Apart from using these solutions for
other contaminants and impurities thus essential.
immersion, passivation may also be done
providing a very clean, smooth, surface that
using a passivating paste. Like the pickling Final disposal will necessarily require
would be more effective for self cleaning.
paste, this is a passivating solution made up effluent treatment to an approved level.
The process would dissolve away any
to a thixotropic paste with an inert carrier
depleted chromium layer and an argument Fusion Joining Processes
and is designed to be sprayed, brushed or
could also be proposed that the All of the common welding processes, with
rolled onto the component. Again, as for
establishment of the stainless steel as an the exception of oxy-acetylene gas welding
pickling and conventional passivation, all
anode during the polishing process could are applicable to stainless steel. Gas welding
traces of the paste must be removed by
assist in building up a more stable oxide can give problems with carbon pick-up and
rinsing as soon as passivation is complete.
layer although no evidence has been brought is hence avoided.
Passivating, like pickling, will produce a forward to support this latter proposal.
change in surface colour that may require Electrocleaning is a ‘minimised’ form of Manual Metal Arc Welding MMAW
subsequent polishing. Care would have to be electropolishing. It is designed largely to General Characteristics15
taken to ensure that there was no anodically dissolve impurities on the surface The MMAW process is well understood but
contamination with polishing abrasive that as well as remove some of the steel. there are some special aspects applicable to
could re-introduce the problems removed by stainless steel welding that should be
The most usual electrolyte is phosphoric acid
the original pickle. considered.
(approx. 10% by vol.) with a copper cathode
Electropolishing and Electrocleaning and current densities of around 10 A.dm2.
It is a versatile welding process applicable to
Electropolishing is frequently cited as having Areas where electropolishing has become virtually all grades and thicknesses of
improved corrosion resistance and as a virtually obligatory include piping for stainless steel and in all positions: flat (i.e.
method of overcoming contamination. pharmaceutical and electronic component down hand), horizontal, vertical and
Although much of the evidence is anecdotal manufacturing high purity water supply overhead. It is also amenable to virtually all
there does appear to be grounds for systems. It is also widely used in the types of joint preparation.
accepting this argument. It has been finishing of yacht fittings and other small
suggested that non-metallics in the surface marine components. A wide range of consumables is available.
film, such as manganese sulphide and the Applications also include chemical plants Close control of the composition of the
alumina from polishing compounds, could such as the pulp and paper industry where consumable, and hence the resultant
provide initiation points for film breakdown surface smoothness, to avoid deposit build composition and metallurgical crystal
and subsequent pitting. Whereas this is up, is required along with overall corrosion structure or the weld metal, is possible. Non-
possible there would need to be further minimisation or fluid flow resistance standard or modified electrodes can be
investigation into the relative damage this minimisation. produced by varying the components
would occur, i.e. does the particle contained in the flux coating, for example
Checking and disposal of pickling and the loss of chromium that can occur across
significantly accelerate pitting, or is it a
passivating solutions the arc at higher arc currents (and therefore
marginal effect with the film being
marginally weaker at this point? Cleaning and passivating solutions will temperature) can be counteracted. Storage of
become contaminated by iron and will loose

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 11
electrodes however can be a problem. For A slag blanket covers the weld pool and thus contain fluorides to help increase fluidity.
quality welds the electrodes must be kept minimises metal loss. There is a danger of They have the suffix ‘-15’ in the AWS
and used in prime condition. It is also slag entrapment and the slag must be classification system.
possible to add components to the flux completely and thoroughly removed between Their particular advantages are:
coating that can lower the amount of some weld passes. The slag is, however, not • They give a dense gas cloud that helps to
fume constituents that can be considered sufficient to give complete metal protection protect the metal particularly under
harmful to health. and subsequent cleaning will be required. difficult conditions; and
The consumables can be: • The welds tend to be convex,which helps
The process is sensitive to welder skill and
• Matching core wire: The core wire has to minimise weld cracking, probably due
technique and cannot be automated. This to the ‘riser’ effect provided by the weld
the same composition (i.e. is the same
will give a variation in weld quality. bead standing proud of the surface. The
grade) as the parent material to be
welded. Only a limited alloy content is It is a short run process, requiring frequent refining action of the slag produces a
therefore added to the flux coating to electrode changes. Welds in thick materials weld with superior mechanical properties
compensate for losses across the arc. require multi-pass welds. These discontinuities with the lowest nitrogen, oxygen and
• A stainless steel core wire with alloyed can present problems with inclusions and inclusions of all MMAW welds.
flux: The composition of the stainless inadequate remelting on restarting. This coating is usually specified for the more
steel core wire is of a lower order than critical jobs and these electrodes are usually
Electrode coatings
that of the parent metal. The alloys
The electrode coating can be either basic or offered with a lower Ferrite Number (see later,
necessary both to enrich the composition
acid in its general characteristic. This is Section ) than either of the -16 or -17 grades.
to that of the parent metal, and to
compensate for losses across the arc, are controlled by altering the ratio of the various The disadvantages are:
contained in the flux coating. In general, constituents found in the coating. Cellulose • There tends to be more weld spatter;
this is the most common. based coatings should never be used because • The weld surface tends to be more
• Plain low carbon steel core wire with of the possibility of carbon pick up from the rippled; and
alloyed flux: All the alloys necessary to give coating. A summary of the constituents • The solidified slag is powdery and this
a weld deposit of the required composition found in these coatings is given by powder is difficult to remove from the
are contained in the flux coating. Rowlands17. ripples thus giving an increased possibility
• Flux and metal cored electrodes: A range of inclusion for subsequent runs.
Electrode coatings – Basic coatings
of electrodes is available where the flux is
These are also referred to as lime or lime- Electrode coatings – Basic-rutile coatings
generated from material in the core of a
fluorspar coatings. These will applicable to This coating has some rutile additions made
tubular electrode. These wires have the
virtually all grades and thicknesses of but is still on the basic side. They have the
ability to give a high deposition rate.
stainless steel and in all positions; flat (ie suffix ‘-16’ in the AWS.
Around 50% of the core is devoted to slag
forming ingredients, the balance to metal down hand), horizontal, vertical and
These electrodes may be used with AC, but
components for higher deposition rate16. overhead. It is also amenable to virtually all
DC positive (DCEP) is preferred. Under
types of joing preparation. consist of a
Another related group are metal cored these circumstances they exhibit a stable
higher proportion of the basic oxides. These
electrodes where the core consists of alloying running arc with little tendency to spatter,
tend to be less fluid and therefore can
additions designed to combine with the outer
sheath to give the required weld deposit. Table 7: Comparison of GMAW arc transfer conditions for stainless steels.
Note 1: These are indicative of US practice, other gas mixtures are used, however, the
Power sources are readily available. shielding gas should contain at least 97.5% inert gas, i.e. argon, helium or a mixture of
Consumables are available for both AC and the two.
DC machines. With DC welding Electrode Spray arc welding Short circuiting Pulsed welding arc
Positive or Reverse Polarity is generally type transfer
preferred. This polarity concentrates the Typical thickness 3mm-6mm and 1.6mm and up 1.6mm and up
welding heat at the electrode tip, permitting welded thicker normal
larger diameter electrodes, and thus faster Welding positions Flat & horizontal all all
deposition rates, and does not give
Relative highest lowest intermediate
overheating of the weld zone. This lack of deposition rate
overheating tends to give a narrower weld
with deeper penetration. Typical wire 1.16mm 0.8 or 0.9mm 0.9 or 1.2mm
The equipment is simple, of moderate cost Typical welding 250-300amps 50-225amps up to 250amps peak
and easily transportable. current
Shielding gas argon – 1% oxygen 90% helium, 7.5% 90% helium, 7.5%
Good control of the process variables is
(Note 1) argon – 2% oxygen argon, 2.5% carbon argon, 2.5% carbon
possible. The energy, i.e. heat, input dioxide OR 90% dioxide OR 90%
associated with the process is low and can argon, 7.5% helium, argon, 7.5% helium,
therefore be easily held below the required 2.5% carbon dioxide 2.5% carbon
maximum limits for the parent material. dioxide OR argon, 1%

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 12
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
This process is widely used for stainless
steel welding and most sheet metal welding
is done with this process. Welds in material
greater than 6~7mm are usually done by
other welding processes.

The arc is struck between a tungsten

electrode (generally W-2%Th) and the work
and the electrode and weld pool are shielded
with an inert gas (see Shielding Gases in
this Training Note) to protect the metal from
oxidation. The filler metal, where used, is
provided as a bare wire - the AWS
classification for bare wire consumables
commences with ER.

The particular advantages are:

• There is no slag to remove.
• Welding can be done in all positions. This
Figure 24: Adhesive bonding of stainless steel to a wooden back is particularly useful in the orbital
welding process applied to pipe welding.
and produce a smooth weld metal surface. There are disadvantages. The shielding is, for In this process a weld head unit is
The weld bead tends to be flat. instance, less effective. Therefore long arc clamped to one pipe and the second pipe
lengths or conditions, such as wind gusts that is aligned and clamped in the same unit.
The solidified slag is thinner and glassy and might occur in ‘on-site’ welding must be The welding head then automatically
relatively easy to remove. Good integrity avoided. The deposits are also higher in moves around the joint providing the
welds are produced, especially in multipass silicon and lower in manganese than the other ‘orbital‘ motion to produce the weld. This
welding, and these electrodes have an grades. They are also more prone to nitrogen method is now standard for most small to
established usage to meet high radiographic pick-up and thus loss of ferrite, particularly medium pipe welds in food and
standards Mechanical properties are good, with long arc lengths. This grade therefore pharmaceutical pipe work because of the
and toughness, although slightly lower, is not usually has a high ferrite number offered. superior weld contour it produces.
a significant problem. This means that they • There is next to no weld spatter.
have a slightly higher tendency to crack and The weld deposits also have a tendency to
• There is virtually no alloy loss in welding
the ferrite number offered is therefore exhibit porosity, because the flux coating is
more hygroscopic (i.e. tends to absorb since the filler does not pass through the arc.
generally slightly higher than that of the -15
grade. The toughness is not significantly moisture) and due to the less efficient arc During welding the tungsten electrode
affected at temperatures to around -100°C. shielding. should not come into contact with the weld
pool or undesirable tungsten contamination
This has been overcome to a large extent by
Electrode coatings - Acid rutile coatings could result. For this reason a high frequency
moisture resistant coatings the development
This group is probably the most common arc strike facility is usually part of the power
of adequate for normal storage and handling,
with their advantages outweighing the supply. Power supplies for larger welding
as well as greater attention being paid to
disadvantages. These coatings still contain operations usually have some form of remote
storage and handling of electrodes.
basic carbonates with a larger proportion of control available to the welder to allow him
the acidic constituents – rutile and silicates . The integrity of the weld metal is adequate to correctly control the heat input during the
These electrodes have the AWS suffix ‘-17’. for normal service, but is not recommended weld. Automatic power supplies also have
for supercritical components, nor for provision to gradually decrease the heat
They may be used on AC with low open cryogenic (very low temperature) service. input as the arc stops to help avoid crater
circuit voltage, because of the ionising effect cracks.
of the rutile, as well as DC positive (DCEP). Electrode coatings - Flux cored
Welding is done with DC electrode negative,
The electrodes are easy to use, contact electrodes
perhaps with pulsed current where there is
(touch) welding is possible, and are very A range of electrodes is available where the
thin material.
easy to restrike. A good smooth weld profile flux is generated from material in the core of
is easily produced. The bead is usually a tubular electrode. These wires have the Autogenous welding is possible but if there
concave which, because of this profile, is ability to give a high deposition rate. Around is hot cracking of the weld pool or thicker
more susceptible to hot cracking (the subject 50% of the core is devoted to slag forming components are being welded, a filler wire
of hot cracking will be discussed further in ingredients, the balance to metal components would be used. The filler wire will be from a
this Training Note in welding of austenitic for higher deposition rate. material that will generate the required weld
stainless steels). structure both to minimise hot cracking (see
Because it is possible to obtain a range of Hot Cracking in Austenitic Steel Welds in
In addition, the slag is very glassy, and is fluxing materials the chemistry and surface this Training Note) and, if necessary, give
easy to remove. conditions of the weld can be more easily
controlled. This is a considerable advantage.

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 13
Cladding may be done by roll bonding but
for ‘one off’ applications it can be more
economical to provide a layer of corrosion
resistant material through shielded metal arc
weld deposition. To get maximum deposition
rates the metal electrode is frequently in the
form of strip.
Resistance welding
The common resistance welding processes,
spot, seam, projection and flash butt welding
can be applied to stainless steels.

The austenitic steels are especially suited to

this type of welding because of their high
electrical resistance. This means that the
localised heating and melting required for
these processes can be readily achieved.

In the case of ferritic steels, although the

Figure 25: Dendritic segregation in a cast weld pool indicating the need for higher alloy
resistance is lower, the low energy input
content in the weld metal
means that there is less likelihood of large
sufficient overalloying (see Welding defects Plasma Arc Welding (PAW) grain sizes with the consequent loss of
applicable to all stainless steel in this This process is very similar to GTAW. The mechanical properties.
Training Note) to minimise corrosion. difference lies in the constriction of the arc With all processes care has to be exercised to
to give a greater degree of ionisation. The ensure that any melting of the copper contact
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
very high heat concentration produced electrodes must be avoided. Stainless steel
This processes uses a consumable welding
allows better control over the welding of thin can suffer from grain boundary penetration
electrode, either as a rod but more usually as
materials. Its major disadvantages rest in the from molten copper with a consequent major
a coil. The weld is protected with an inert
higher cost of equipment, short life of the loss in strength.
gas shield.
body and higher inert gas consumption.
In spot welding thinner sheets it is also
As with other metals, the metal transfer There is also a high level of UV light and
possible to get ‘print through‘ from the
mode in GMAW is of significance. Avery noise, frequently in excess of 100dB.
welding electrodes that can destroy flat
and Tuthill18 summarise the effect of metal
Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) finishes demanded in architectural type
transfer as shown in Table 7, p12.
stainless steel finishes. When dealing with
This process is used where there is a
The welding current is almost always DCEP sheet materials where these electrode ‘prints‘
requirement for a high deposition rate and/or
but where shallow penetration, such as in may not be acceptable, it is necessary to
high welding speed. Because the process
overlaying applications, is required DCEN have minimum sheet thicknesses of
finds wide application for the welding of
can be used. approximately 1.6-2.0 mm. It is possible to
heavier sections (usually greater than
Because of the facility of controlling the minimise, or even eliminate the print through
5~6mm) there is more chance of hot
welding process through power supply and if the two materials being welded are
cracking if the amount of ferrite must be
feed rate variations, many power supplies supported by a large copper heat sink acting
kept low, see the Welding of Austenitic
have a wide range of controls that can be as one electrode on the surface where the
stainless steels in this Training Note.
pre-set so that the operator needs to pick print cannot be accepted. This will distribute
This problem can be accentuated by the the current flow but may make the weld’s
only one setting on a master control. This
segregation that can occur with the slower nugget shape unacceptable.
arrangement is frequently termed a
cooling and the higher silicon picked up by
synergistic pulsed arc unit. The electrode Non-Fusion Joining Processes
the weld under the slag cover.
material may be a wire designed to give the
Because there is usually a greater mass of Soldering
required final structure or it can be
weld metal that can remain molten for a Soldering is frequently used as a method of
fabricated steel tube with a mixture of
longer period, backing plates are common, to sealing mechanical joints in plumbing and
alloying elements packed into the inner
minimise copper pick-up problems the root roofing applications.
core19. With stainless steel, the outer sheath
run may be done by GTAW before moving to
is frequently a simple alloy, e.g. type 304 Soldering with soft solders presents few
the SAW process.
material, with the additional alloys packed in problems provided the stainless steel has
the core. This means that short runs can be SMAW is also useful in cladding operations. been cleaned to ensure the removal of all
made of a range of different alloy grades. Corrosion resistant alloys are expensive and grease, dirt and mill scale from the surface.
it is frequently more economical to only have It is essential that great care be exercised
There may, in some cases, also be gas
the corrosion resistant alloy where it is when preparing for soldering because of the
generating components within the core.
needed - i.e. in contact with the corroding poor ‘wetability‘ provided by the chromium
material. oxide film. It is sometimes preferable to

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 14
give problems both through ‘burn through’ It is essential if copper or high copper alloy
and less problem from distortion compared brazing austenitic stainless steel is being
to fusion welded. attempted, that no stress is applied during the
process. If during brazing the steel in the
Brazing also has the advantage that it can be
joint zone is stressed, or the component is
semi-automated by placing the components
subjected to over, or prolonged heating,
in a jig and then passing them through the
copper from the brazing alloy can penetrate
brazing furnace.
into the metal grain boundaries and cracking
Brazing can be done in a furnace, immersion will result. The same can apply to brazing
in a salt bath or by a gas torch. fillers containing zinc or cadmium.
Furnace brazing is more usually done in a Adhesive Bonding
hydrogen atmosphere or, after cleaning and Adhesive bonding is a significant fabrication
coating with a chemical flux, in a vacuum. tool, particularly in architectural panelling.
Figure 26: Un-mixed zone formation at a
weld pool-parent metal Commercial fluxes are available for
interface atmospheric brazing but these must be Successful joints require a sound bond and
carefully removed prior to the part going into this in turn dictates a clean surface. This
service. means that the surface must be free of oil
and/or grease and this point is probably the
There is little to choose between either the
most important part of providing a
vacuum or the hydrogen atmosphere process.
successful joint.
Successful brazing relies on removal of the
oxide film and this can be more difficult for Surfaces to be joined are usually grit blasted
some grades of stainless steel, particularly or roughened uniformly with an abrasive
those containing titanium, aluminium, and, disk. Sixty mesh wheels or disks are normal
to a lesser extent, niobium since the oxides for this operation but care must be taken not
Figure 27: Crater crack at improperly of these metals are more difficult to reduce. to press heavily when grinding in this way to
terminated weld avoid local over-heating that can result in
Salt bath brazing requires the component to
roughen or etch polished surfaces prior to local sheet distortion. It is for this reason
be pre-assembled, preferably self jigged,
soldering before applying the soldering flux. that most designs call for a minimum of 0.9
cleaned, coated with flux and then immersed
Phosphoric acid (15%) is a common flux mm sheet when it is to be glued to some
in a neutral salt bath.
although there should be some hydrochloric form of backing.
Torch brazing is also common and useful
acid added if the steel contains any
because of the limited equipment
requirements. The parts are again cleaned
Examination of the galvanic series shows and flux coated. In most cases a neutral to
that the corrosion potential of 50/50 Pb-Sn slightly reducing flame is used. If the
solder is very little different to that of the stainless steel is being brazed to copper, the
stainless steels. It is however important to balance should be closer to neutral.
note that it is slightly more electronegative Excessively reducing flames can remove
and the area of the solder is usually small oxygen from the copper and can give
relative to the larger area of stainless steel hydrogen embrittlement.
that it is in contact with so that corrosion
The most usual brazing alloy is BAg3 (AWS
may still be a problem. If a better colour
A5.8, BAg3, Ag: 50; Cu: 15.5; Zn: 15.5; Cd:
match is required then higher tin solders
16, Ni: 3) but, if this alloy is used, it is
would be used, e.g. Pb: 30; Sn:70. It is not
important that there be adequate ventilation
desirable to use a solder containing less than
to remove any cadmium fumes. In addition, Figure 28: Corrosion resulting from high
50% tin with stainless steel if corrosion is to
zinc and cadmium containing silver alloys temperature oxides
be minimised.
cannot be used in components that are
The final step in any soldering operation subjected to high bending stresses.
must be the removal any residual fluxes. If
Higher melting point nickel brazing alloys
washing is carried out in hot running water,
can also be used. These fillers, and others
neutralising is generally not necessary.
that operate in the same temperature range,
Brazing20 can cause problems associated with a
Brazing is used both for joining stainless decreased corrosion resistance and an
steel to stainless steel but also where increase in brittleness caused by precipitates
stainless steel has to be joined to other that form in the range 400 - 900°C. This
metals and there might be some form of effect can become apparent after only a few
incompatibility if the parent metals mix in minutes within the critical temperature range
Figure 29: Surface oxide and chromium
the molten state. There is no problem in and then it would have the potential to give
depletion layers in the weld
joining thin walled components that might problems in subsequent service. zone

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 15
Figure 31: The relation of weld
penetration pattern to
shielding gas thermal

do this will mean that the surfaces will have

a wavy appearance. The size of this
clearance can be judged when it is realised
that a 3m length of stainless steel will
expand approximately 2 mm in heating
Figure 30: Possible weld defects associated with stainless steel
between 20 and 60 °C. This temperature
A similar treatment must be given to the applied to help remove any entrapped air. range would be quite normal for panels
panelling onto which the steel is to be fixed. Clamping times are between 12 and 24 hours. exposed to daily temperature variations in
The most usual material is plywood and this sunlight, Figure 24, p13.
Contact adhesives may also be employed but
surface must also be roughened. External
there is more care required in joint Bolting
panels may require marine ply but correct
preparation. Failure to adequately degrease To ensure minimum corrosion it is essential
panel design should ensure that the plywood
and to provide sufficient early pressure to that stainless steel be joined with compatible
would remain dry. Marine ply, as delivered,
ensure that the contact adhesive adequately stainless steel fasteners. Particular care must
is usually given a very fine sanding and this
flows to wet the two surfaces being joined be exercised with the use of grades of free
would have to be roughened before bonding.
will result in failure. In some site fixing machining stainless steel in external
Both sides of the joint must be completely operations or complex curvatures, contact environments where the free machining
free of grease, oil or any other contaminant adhesives may be all that is possible. The characteristics are generated by sulphide
that could affect the joint strength. availability of double sided tape has also particles, e.g. S30300. This grade is anodic
been found effective for difficult fixing jobs to conventional stainless steel and is not
Many plywoods, although smooth can still
– particularly if the surfaces are correctly recommended for external application.
have a gentle waviness in the surface. This
cleaned and sufficient pressure is applied.
does not show with the wood surface but Similar precautions must be taken with other
becomes apparent when the more reflective Expansion of the glued joint is also fastener materials to make sure that the
stainless follows this waviness when is stuck important. Plywood on the average would fastener is more noble than the base material.
to the wooden surface. expand at about one quarter that of S31600 Corrosion of the base material is limited
stainless steel thus generating a major shear because of the large area of the base material
Gluing must be done in such a way that there
stress to the bond. There is the compounding compared to the fasteners, Figure 17, p5.
are not pockets of glue that will cause a ripple
effect of moisture on the plywood. As
to develop in the steel. For this reason it must
plywood dries out it can shrink, thus Because of the inherent problems with the
be applied evenly and thinly. Epoxy type
applying stress to the structure. free machining grades of stainless steel,
glues are normal with clamping pressures
some suppliers have now developed
high enough to ensure even and uniform All of these thermal effects mean that panel
improved machining grades that conform to
contact. The type of glue used should be lengths must be kept to around 3m or less to
compositional and property specifications of
chosen in conjunction with the adhesive minimise the stress on the interface, Figure
the standard grades and that offer equivalent
supplier to ensure compatibility with the 24, p13. It also means that there must be
formability and corrosion resistance. This
materials being joined and the corrosive and clearance between adjacent panels. Failure to
has been achieved by special melting
temperature environment in which the joint
will be expected to operate. The supplier Table 8: Shielding gas properties (Density of air at 750°C = 0.444kg.m-3)
should also nominate any special surface
Ionisation potential Thermal conductivity Density (kg.m-3)
preparation and curing conditions. Gas (eV) (W.m-1.°C-1) at 750°C
The glue must also be selected to maintain Argon 15.7 0.0436 0.452
its strength over the operating temperature of Helium 24.5 0.367 0.0467
the panel. External stainless steel facades
Hydrogen 13.5 0.445 0.0237
can reach temperatures close to 100°C in
direct sunlight.
Nitrogen 14.5 0.0644 0.333
Oxygen 13.2 0.0720 0.380
In some cases the wooden backing may have
Carbon dioxide 14.4 0.0685 0.523
small holes drilled through it and a vacuum is

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 16
Welding defects applicable to all
stainless steels.
Weld Metal Corrosion
Over-alloying requirements
This is a problem that occurs mostly with the
higher alloyed stainless steels, i.e. the super
alloys with higher molybdenum.

When a weld pool solidifies there is a non-

equilibrium, segregated structure formed. This
is equivalent to the dendritic segregation, or
coring, that occurs in normal castings.

The end result here is that the centre of the

dendrite is lower in chromium and
molybdenum compared to the outside,
Figure 25, p14. This means that there could
Figure 32: Time temperature relationships for the precipitation of carbides in 304 type
stainless steels be micro corrosion cells set up because of
the possibility galvanic corrosion between
techniques at the steel mills resulting in Treated surfaces, e.g. nitriding or these two areas. The problem is easily
improved forms of micro-inclusions within carburising are less susceptible to galling. overcome by using alloys with higher nickel
the steel structure and by careful control of This can, however, decrease the corrosion and molybdenum when welding these super-
the rolling process to ensure an optimum resistance of the steel. austenitic, or other highly alloyed, stainless
grain size. • Lubricants can, if selected correctly, steels. All of the highly alloyed weld pool is
decrease the possibility of galling. The then cathodic to the parent plate and is thus
Bolts are normally made in each of the
danger here arises from moisture seeping protected. Any resultant corrosion of the
common grades with the price generally being
down between the lubricant and the steel parent plate can be ignored because of its
higher than for steel or brass bolts because of
generating a crevice. Special greases, larger surface area.
the higher machining costs. Typical price
ratios for 8Mx40 hex bolts would range from similar to the familiar stop-cock grease
Unmixed zone
used in chemical apparatus, have been
approximately 1 for S30400 material to 1.4 for A similar problem with the potential to
developed for this purpose. It is also
S31600 and S32434. generate micro-corrosion cells arises if there
important that the lubricant be copper free.
A problem frequently found with bolted • Hardness: There is an improvement are areas of unmixed metal, Figure 26, p15.
structures is galling. This is defined as the obtained by using two different stainless This is a region where the parent metal has
seizing between two mating surfaces. steels across the interface. This is largely melted but has solidified without the benefit
Galling results from excessive pressure related to the magnitude of hardness of mixing with the more highly alloyed filler.
between mating surfaces causing the two difference between the two steels Dendritic segregation will occur in this
surfaces to weld together. concerned. A wide difference, as is unmixed zone and corrosion could result.
obtained between the common austenitics The most likely location for this is in the
Some factors that can minimise galling are:
and the higher strength 200 series root run of a weld where there is insufficient
• Surface pressure: Galling is minimised if
manganese containing alloys is one path, filler added. Lower welding speeds to permit
the surface pressure is decreased. It is
UNS S21800 is a common nut material more puddling can help overcome this but
always desirable to use the correct torque
that uses this concept. there is no complete cure for this problem.
to avoid over-tightening.
• Thread form: Threads should be carefully Arc strikes
An alternative is to use a special non-galling
examined to ensure there are no burrs It is sometimes difficult to strike the arc with
alloy such as Waukesha 88 containing tin
present. Punched washers should be MMAW, particularly with basic electrodes.
and bismuth. This provides a surface where
avoided for this reason. Although highly
welding is less likely to occur. Waukesha
polished surfaces are to be avoided (see
metal is said to equate to the corrosion
next point) electropolishing can ensure no
resistance of UNS S31600.
burrs are present and it may therefore
provide an improved result. Accurate A third alternative is to use an aluminium
thread sizing and contours will also bronze nut. Although aluminium bronze is
minimise excessive pressure. more anodic than stainless steel in the
Rolled threads are preferred to machined galvanic series, corrosion is not that great in
threads because of the lower possibility of many applications.
Other processes used have been: electroless
Highly polished surfaces (<0.25mm) or nickel plating; nickel powder embedded in a Figure 33:: Effect of grain boundary area
very rough surfaces (>1.5 mm) tend to silicone oil; polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) on impurity distriubtion. Each
gall more. film or to place an inert inorganic powder on diagram has the same number
of impurity particles
the threads to act as a barrier.

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 17
It is important with stainless steel welding Root Penetration Run outs and crater cracking
that the arc be struck on the joint itself. If it Full penetration to the root of a weld is Incorrect termination of a weld can generate
is struck on an area that is not remelted there important for three reasons: defects in the weld pool.
will be both damage to the surface that may
• It ensures the full cross section of the If the arc is extinguished at the bottom of the
not be accepted for aesthetic reasons. There
weld area is available to take the load. bead solidification will occur with
will also be an area with an oxide coat that
• It ensures that there is no likelihood of a
will be more likely to corrode unless it is insufficient metal available to overcome
stress concentrator that could help shrinkage contraction and a crack may result
ground out.
initiate failure. at the bottom the bead. This is referred to as
Heat tint • It ensures that there is no crevice
crater cracking, Figure 27, p15.
The oxide film that forms on stainless steel introduced that could cause corrosion (see
at temperatures accompanying welding is Root Penetration). To overcome this it is desirable to complete the
less corrosion resistant than the normal low weld outside the normal run by providing a run
Because of potential problems with the root
temperature passive film, oxide formed at out tag that can be subsequently removed.
area, an unwelded area of approximately 1-2
room temperature.
mm is left in the root area and, after grinding Post fabrication cleaning
This oxide layer is much less resistant to back to bare metal, a sealing run is made It is probably more important to provide post
corrosion as indicated by the corrosion of from the reverse side. weld cleaning with stainless steel welding than
stainless steels exposed to various any other metal because of the significance
temperatures in air. Figure 28, p15 shows the Where it is not possible to ensure root
welding defects can have on the corrosion
effect of the oxide formation temperature for penetration by this method the ollowing
resistance of the finished component.
S30403 exposed for 2 hours and then procedure will help to achieve full
immersed in a mixture of chlorides in a penetration from the front of the weld: Tuthill and Avery22 have summarised
glycerol/ethanol mixture. diagramtically the various types of defects that
• Firmly clamp and preferably tack weld to
can be obtained, Figure 30, p16. The cleaning
hold the joint at the required width.
The oxide film can have microcracks in it operations required to remove these have been
that can absorb and hold corroding ions. It is • If possible, use basic electrodes because discussed previously in Post weld cleaning,
important that this type of oxide, sometimes of their greater penetrating power in and rely principally on effective pickling.
referred to as heat-tint, is removed to ensure narrow welds.
maximum corrosion resistance. • Use a short arc length. This lowers the SHIELDING GASES
overall electrical resistance and hence The selection of the correct shielding gas is
It should also be remembered that heat tint
increases the current across the weld. an important part of nominating a correct
will also be present on the underside of
welding operations and care has to be taken • The electrode should point as closely as welding procedure. There are specified gas
to either prevent its formation or remove it possible into the root gap to take mixtures for most welding operations but, to
subsequent to welding. advantage of the higher penetration along help understand these, the individual
the electrode axis. characteristics of the gas will be examined.
As discussed earlier in this Training Note,
heat-tint is usually removed by pickling Shielding gas properties
although mechanical operations can be of The important properties of a shielding gas
An undercut at the weld pool parent metal
some assistance. used for arc welding are:
interface can occur as shown in Figure 14,
The surface layer of the steel will be p4. • Chemical reactivity – the ability to
depleted with respect to the more readily protect the metal (e.g. inert gases), reduce
An undercut can act as both a stress
oxidised chromium, Figure 29, p15 this is oxides (e.g. hydrogen) or oxidising (e.g.
concentrator and as a site for the initiation of
distinct from any chromium lost from a filler carbon dioxide or oxygen). Hydrogen is
crevice corrosion. limited to austenitic steels. If it is used
rod in the arc area. It is considered that this
is significant with anything more than the Undercutting is generally associated with: with the ferritic grades hydrogen
palest yellow heat-tint. embrittlement can occur.
• Excess current.
• Density – the denser the gas, the easier it
This depleted layer will have a lower • An electrode gauge size which is too
is to protect the work and the lower the
corrosion resistance and must be removed. large for the items being welded.
gas cost because of the decreased loss of
This is done in a pickling solution that is • Faulty weaving during the welding run gas from the work area.
capable of dissolving away some of the steel.
so that there is uneven melting of the
Nitric acid pickles will not remove this • Thermal conductivity – high thermal
parent plate.
depleted layer, it is therefore necessary to conductivity gases tend to conduct heat
have some hydrofluoric acid present or to Undercutting is more prevalent in vertical or across the surface of the weld pool and
electropolish the surface. overhead welding where gravity pulls the affect the penetration pattern, Figure 31.
molten metal away from the parent plate Helium and hydrogen have high thermal
These two problems high temperature oxides before it solidifies. conductivity.
and depleted chromium layers, will also
occur if the steel is heated in air, either as
part of a furnace or during welding.
08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 18
Figure 35: Idealised impact strength
curves for the various types of
stainless steel

GMAW: The gas chosen is important in

determining the type of metal transfer that
Figure 34: Phase diagram for Cr-Fe-Ni alloys with 70% Fe showing the solidification zones
In general the main gases used are argon
and the area where sigma phase could form
and helium.
• Ionisation potential – the ease of The usual arrangement is pure argon at about
initiating and maintaining an arc. Table 2 x 10-6 m3.s-1. In piping or similar systems a In spray transfer mode the gas used is
823 shows the ionisation potentials for the backing gas is also required at about 1/4 to usually argon. This can give an erratic arc
common shielding gases. The lower the 1/2 this flow rate. This was discussed earlier with metal spattering and it is found that a
potential, the easier it is to create and in the section on purging. small amount of carbon dioxide or oxygen
maintain an arc. The higher the potential, can stabilise the arc and produce less splatter
Argon gives good penetration at low flow rates although the consequent possibility of the
the greater will be the arc energy and
because of its lower thermal conductivity. introduction of oxides can make this an
hence a hotter arc will result. The
Helium, because of its higher conductivity, will unsatisfactory option.
resultant higher possible welding speeds
have a wider penetration pattern.
when using helium makes the higher
price of this gas less of a problem. Because of helium‘s higher ionisation With short circuit and pulsed GMAW a gas
potential the arc voltage will be higher for a mixture is usually recommended. A common
• Surface tension of the gas/weld pool given current thus giving a greater energy one is argon 75%, helium 25%, and, possibly,
interface. Surface tension is important in dissipation in the arc and therefore a hotter carbon dioxide 2.5%. Other combinations can
controlling bead contour – helium arc. The high ionisation potential gives be used but the mixture should always
additions for example give superior poorer arc initiation and stability. contain at least 97.5% inert gas.
wetting and changes the bead shape from
convex to flat in short circuited GMAW. Hydrogen can be added in amounts of about
Oxygen is sometimes preferred to carbon
5% to help remove oxides. In addition,
Oxygen will also lower surface tension and dioxide24 but it not usually recommended.
molecular hydrogen absorbs energy from the
can be added for the same purpose, in Carbon dioxide and oxygen will both oxidise
arc forming atomic hydrogen that recombines
controlled amounts to ensure there is no the weld surface and it may be necessary to
on the cooler weld surface liberating heat and
oxidation of the surface. A flat or perhaps in include de-oxidising elements in the filler
generating a hotter arc pool.
some cases a slightly concave fillet can be rod to overcome this. Carbon dioxide is also
It will be remembered that a convex bead
is less likely to crack but a flatter bead
can provide a weld that is easier to grind
down and that has a saving in weld metal
for no loss in strength.

Gas mixtures used

The gases used are based on the two inert gases
argon and helium. Argon is about one third the
price of helium so it finds greater favour.
GTAW: This system will use either argon or
helium or mixtures of the two. Because of its
expense, helium is only employed in high
speed mechanised welding systems. There
should be no oxygen or carbon dioxide
added to gases for GTAW or rapid
deterioration of the tungsten tip will result.
Figure 36: WRC 1992 diagram for predicting ferrite number in stainless steel welds

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 19
like hydrogen in that it disassociates at the
arc and recombines on the weld surface
liberating heat and giving a hotter weld pool.
Carbon dioxide also decreases the surface
tension of the molten metal promoting easier
wetting of the weld surface. Apart from the
oxidation effect of carbon dioxide, the
possibility of carbon pick-up in the weld
pool also limits its use. It is the carburising
effect that generally limits the use of carbon
dioxide to a maximum of around 5%, with
3% being a more usual figure.
The function of helium is to allow the
greater energy transfer across the arc
required for the higher deposition rates
expected, particularly in the pulsed process.
Nitrogen is not normally a component of
shielding gases but it is added in amounts of Figure 37: Schaeffler deLong diagram for predicting ferrite number in stainless steel welds
around 3% to gases used for the welding of
duplex or other nitrogen containing stainless
steels. Excessive amounts of nitrogen can Sensitisation is minimised by using low solidify, sulphide inclusions will separate out
form insoluble nitrides with titanium or carbon steels and welding consumables and be pushed ahead of the advancing
niobium added for carbide stabilisation. and/or ensuring the carbon remains in crystal to form a line of weakness when two
With the higher alloy steels it is sometimes solution by quenching the steel from around crystal faces intersect.
desirable to use higher helium levels (70Hw- 1000°C and then avoiding the re-heating in
If, on the other hand, ferrite is the first phase to
30Ar) to give a higher heat input and, the critical temperature range where they
crystallise out, the sulphur remains in solution
because of the higher thermal conductivity, form. Figure 32, p17 is an indication of the
and there is no line of sulphide inclusions.
better bead characteristics. time and temperature required for the
formation of these carbides for various Dixon27 has summarised three supporting
THE WELDING OF AUSTENITIC characteristics that will promote cracking:
carbon contents in the conventional 18-8
STAINLESS STEELS type stainless steels. For this reason welding • Austenite-austenite boundaries are more
In the welding of carbon and alloy steels grades would generally have less than 0.03% easily wetted by liquid impurities than
there is always a danger that martensite will carbon. These grades are sometimes referred austenite/ferrite boundaries and will
form on cooling in the heat affected zone. It to as ‘L‘ grades. The common 304 and 316 therefore be weaker during contraction.
will be remembered that pre-heating is one type materials have the UNS numbers • Large grain size.
method of minimising this possibility. S30403 and S31603 respectively. • Cracks can easily pass through the single
Because austenitic stainless steels consist of Sensitisation can also be overcome by the phase structure.
a single phase over the entire solid use titanium stabilised steels, e.g. UNS
In addition to these points, bead contour and
temperature range, there is no tendency to S32100, although there is some thought that
overall weld constraint must also be regarded
change to martensite on cooling. There is these steels can accelerate corrosion from
as contributing factors although overall weld
therefore no need to preheat the steel prior to the titanium rich inclusions if the steel is
constraint should not markedly affect hot
welding. There may even be a disadvantage cold worked26. Niobium additions also
if the steel is susceptible to carbide provide the same function as titanium.
precipitation since the band where this would It is also important to realise that titanium The method used to overcome cracking of
occur would be wider with pre-heating. will be lost from the electrode and weld pool this type is, ideally, to control the chemical
due to its ease of oxidation. For this reason composition, so that solidification occurs
Carbide precipitation - only niobium containing consumables should through the ferrite zone, as well as the bead
sensitisation be used when welding this material. shape, as explained in Electrode coatings.
Carbide precipitation, or sensitisation, is If the composition of the weld is chosen to
where the carbon in the steel combines with Hot cracking in austenitic
give a completely ferritic structure, it is found
the chromium to form chromium carbide. steel welds
that there is excessive ferrite in the final weld
This, in effect, removes the chromium from Austenitic steels do suffer from hot
so that a compromise must be reached.
the system and the alloy can loose its shortness, i.e. a tendency to crack at high
corrosion resistance in this region. temperatures. This is attributed to a number The most appropriate composition to provide
of causes both during and after solidification. least cracking results in around 4-12% ferrite
Carbide precipitation occurs when the alloy in the weld deposit, more usually at the 4-
is heated in, or slowly cooled through, the Of these, probably the most important is the 6% range, at room temperature.
range 425-900°C. sequence of events during solidification.
This is used as a control function for the
Sulphur has a very low solubility in austenite finished weld with design specifications
so that if austenite is the first metal to

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 20
• High levels of ferrite are also dangerous corrosive conditions. Higher levels will be
in metal to be exposed to cryogenic used in welds where complex design or
temperatures and/or where high levels of cooling conditions could accentuate the
notch toughness are required. The ferrite effect of any weld cracking.
decreases the toughness of the material, High nickel electrodes can also help to
Figure 3528. In these cases it is normal to eliminate the formation of ferrite through
find ferrite numbers of no more than 2,
their effect on the solidification pattern.
and frequently 0, specified.
• High levels of ferrite can also accelerate Ferrite number calculations
corrosion by selective corrosion of the It will be remembered that although a ferritic
ferrite in acid or highly oxidising structure would give the minimum likelihood
atmospheres. The ferrite is anodic to the of cracking, the resultant structure would
surrounding austenite and, since it is
have too much ferrite for both corrosion and
present as a continuous film, weld failure
strength requirements. The amount of ferrite
could result. For this reason ferrite levels
can be controlled by carefully balancing the
are usually nominated as zero in the super
composition of the weld metal to give the
austenitics where this grade of steel is
desired compromise.
chosen because of its superior corrosion
resistance. Ferrite is also specified as zero The WRC diagram, Figure 36, p19 is used to
Figure 38: The iron chromium phase in very aggressive conditions with other predict the amount of ferrite provided the
diagram austenitic steels, e.g. in galvanising baths. composition of the weld metal is known. It is
• Ferrite must be eliminated in welds that a development from the earlier Schaeffler
calling for a particular amount of ferrite in are to be used because of the non- and De Long diagram, Figure 37, p20.
the weld. magnetic characteristics of the austenitic The ferrite content is expressed as Ferrite
stainless steels. Zero ferrite welds are also Number. The Ferrite Number is a term
The resultant structure ensures that the
specified where maximum notch
damage from sulphur is controlled and other developed to be used with the WRC diagram.
sensitivity is required, e.g. for cryogenic
impurities that form at grain boundaries are The relationship between ferrite number and
applications, or where maximum
also distributed over a large area and thus percentage ferrite is given in Table 9, p20.
corrosion resistance is needed, e.g. with
their harmful effect is limited. Figure 33, The WRC diagram is a more realistic
nitric acid containers.
p17. There is an equal number of impurity approach since it shows the conditions at the
areas in each of the two areas shown in this Where it is necessary to have minimum, or
solidification point, where hot cracking is
diagram. zero, ferrite this can be achieved by using
more likely to occur, rather than the structure
consumables and parent plate with very low
In addition to this the propagation of a crack at room temperature, which is the nature of
impurity levels – in particular sulphur.
will be more difficult both during and after the Schaeffler De Long Diagram.
Welding procedures should be aimed at
solidification because of the more complex The thinner lines show the expected ferrite
minimising the size of the weld pool, to
two phase structure. It is also thought that number at room temperature and the thicker
minimise grain size. The same result can be
ferrite lowers the overall shrinkage – and lines on the diagram show the different
achieved with a low heat input. It is also
thus minimises shrinkage stresses – because solidification mode:
desirable to minimise weaving to less than 2
of its lower coefficient of thermal expansion.
times the wire diameter and to eliminate any • A: solidifies as primary austenite and is
The effect of variations from the 4 - 12% constraints that could turn a contraction likely to show hot cracking.
ferrite are: stress into a crack. Any cracks that do form • AF: solidifies as primary austenite with
• Values lower than 3~4 can, because of the must be ground out prior to the next run. an austenite+ferrite eutectic.
heterogeneous nature of weld metal, lead Summarising, the specified level of ferrite • FA: solidifies as delta ferrite with ferrite
to small areas that could have no ferrite. will be low with thicker sections, higher heat and austenite forming subsequently by
Micro-cracks could form in these regions. input and multi-pass welding or especially peritectic and eutectic reactions
• Values above 12% mean that the large
amount of ferrite can lower the overall Table 10: Weldability classification of ferritic steels
mechanical strength of the alloy due to
the formation of sigma phase. Grade C Cr Ni Other
Group 1 – Welding reduces toughness
Sigma phase is a brittle constituent formed S43000 0.12 max 16.00-18.00
in high chromium ferrite in the temperature S44600 0.20 max 23.0-27.0 Ni 0.25 max
range 500-900°C, Figure 34, p18. This can Group 2 – Improved weldability
occur in multi-pass welding, particularly in S40900 0.08 max 10.5-11.5 0.50 max Ni0.5, Ti 6x%C to
the heavy sections and high heat input 0.75 max
welding that these sections require. It is 3CR12 0.03 max 11.0-12.0 1.5 max 0.6 Ti max
generally accepted that values of ferrite Group 3 – Martensite not formed after welding
below about 10% are not harmful when S44726 0.01 25-27 0.30 max Ni 0.15 max, Mo 0.75-
considering the probability of sigma (E-Brite 26 - 1) 1.5, Nb 0.05-20,
formation. Mn 0.40 max

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 21
of this property is that these steels are not
suited to low temperature service in either the
welded or unwelded form.
Grain size: The ferritic stainless steels also
have a tendency to form very large grains in
the heat affected zone, again with a
deleterious effect on impact strength. This is
apparent in nearly all types of ferritic stainless
steels. The exception is the low chromium
alloys where the alloy is deliberately designed
to pass through the a-g region, Figure 38, p21
i.e. There must be sufficient austenite forming
additions to permit this, 0-1.5% nickel is a
common addition.

475°C Embrittlement: High ferrite steels are

also susceptible to an additional form of
embrittlement, This occurs when the steel is
held between 400-550°C and gives a
Figure 39: Tempering curves for UNS41000 and S42000
lowering of tensile strength. This is thought
to be due to a very fine precipitate of a
• F: solidifies as delta ferrite, the best area chromium rich phase in the lower, undefined
lengths will drag more air into the weld pool
region of the system, Figure 3830. The
to ensure there is no cracking but would and this in turn increases the nitrogen
give a structure with too much room problem can be resolved by a brief time at
content of the metal. Nitrogen is an austenite
temperature ferrite. around 675°C when it is assumed the
stabiliser and thus limits the ferrite content,
precipitate redissolves. Rapid cooling
This can be seen in the Nickel Equivalent
It is considered that the alloy will only be prevents it reforming.
axis in Figure 37, p20.
crack resistant if it solidifies as ferrite first,
i.e. either F or FA. If austenite forms first THE WELDING OF FERRITIC Ferritic steel groups
then cracking is more probable. STAINLESS STEELS The ferritic steels can be divided into three
These steels are more difficult to weld than classes relating to their weldability.
It will be seen this correlates with the expected
room temperature ferrite number of about 4 to the austenitic grades. Some examples of each group with their
12 recalling that higher ferrite counts give a The problems arise from several causes. compositions are give in Table 10, p21.
decrease in mechanical properties. Sigma phase: This occurs predominately in
The most common steels, S43000 and
The values of the two equivalents for the steels containing more than about 20% Cr, as
S44600 with their higher carbon values,
WRC diagram are29: shown in Figure 38, p21. This phase can
would be expected to require a post weld heat
form between about 500-900°C or higher
treatment to achieve the original mechanical
Nickel Equivalent: with molybdenum containing steels. It is
properties. This treatment would temper any
%Ni+35 x%C+20 x%N+0.25 x%Cu more likely to be a problem with this grade
martensite and also spherodise any grain
Chromium Equivalent: of steel than with the small amount of ferrite
boundary carbides. This, in turn, will help
%Cr+%Mo+0.7 x%Nb present in the austenitic steel welds.
restore mechanical and corrosion properties.
These equations have been derived by Martensite formation: This is more likely to Cooling after tempering is critical. Slow
balancing the amount of ferrite formers occur in the higher carbon steels such
measured as the chromium equivalent and S43000 (C: 0.12%) or S44600 (C: 0.2%). A
the austenite formers measured as the nickel pre-heat in the range 150-250°C will help to
equivalent. prevent damage from this problem but joint
Ferrite levels can also be determined in the restraint and high dissolved hydrogen may
weld metal by measuring its magnetic require a higher pre-heat temperature or at
strength. Gauges have been developed to the heating temperature. Steels where the
give a direct reading of ferrite number. austenite zone is not entered on heating will
Ferrite content can also be determined not produce martensite on heating.
metallographically. This can be done on Tough-brittle transition: The high tough-brittle
small samples removed from a weld where transition temperature of these steels, Figure
the other two methods may not be practical. 35, p19 requires the steel to be pre-heated
It does, however, require an experienced prior to welding, values of 150-250°C are
metallographer to be able to judge these again usually chosen. This ensures the steel is
small percentages accurately. in the higher impact strength region so that
cracks will be less likely to form during Figure 40: Heat affected zone toughness
Another factor that can affect the ferrite
welding or cooling after welding. It must also in welded S32760 with
content is the arc length used. Long arc increasing amounts of
be remembered that one of the consequences

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 22
weld zone prevents the formation of the
large ferrite grains.
Where colour matching or equivalent
mechanical or physical properties are
required then an equivalent ferritic grade
would be preferred. The general rule for
corrosion resistance is that the chromium and
molybdenum content must at least be equal
to that of the parent metal after welding.

General ferritic weldability

Because of the problems with steels there is
reluctance to specify welding as a fabricating
procedure. When it is necessary then the
procedure should be thoroughly trialled to
ensure that the process produces a satisfactory
final result. Because of the effect on grain
size, energy input has to be strictly controlled.

When the martensitic steels go into service
they will be in a heat treated quenched and
tempered condition. Welding will soften this
structure in regions adjacent to the weld.

Closer to the weld, and in the weld deposit,

there is a strong likelihood that martensite
Figure 41: Solidification zone for duplex stainless steels will reform on cooling if the cooling rate is
fast enough. In high alloy steels such as these
cooling to around 600°C minimises the re- this steel to minimise sensitisation corrosion the structure is generally air hardening so
introduction of stresses but more rapid has tended to change because of the there is every possibility that martensite will
cooling is required through the 475°C difficulties associated with production in the form. When this happens in localised regions
embrittlement range. This can be done by mill and titanium can now be absent from such as the weld pool or an adjacent heat
water or air sprays. The same conditions these steels. This could help to give affected zone, there can be cracking due to
would also apply to cooling after annealing. sensitisation although the lower carbon will the expansion associated with the martensite
A group of ferritic stainless steels with lower help to minimise this. To further assist with formation coupled with the constraint
carbon was developed to provide a low cost weldability, another range of steels with very provided by the surrounding metal.
‘rust resistant’ material – such as S40900, low nitrogen and carbon has been
To overcome this there needs to be
used extensively in automotive exhausts and introduced. These are termed ELI – Extra
considerable attention paid to inter-pass
the weldable low chromium steels such as the Low Interstitial – steels. These have carbon,
temperatures as well as pre- and post-weld
proprietary grades 3CR13® and 5CR12®31. nitrogen and oxygen levels at less than 150
heating. These will minimise the variation in
These form the second grouping. ppm (0.015%) in total. Because martensite
internal stress that cause the cracking by
will not form in these steels the need for pre-
The composition of these weldable ferritic ensuring that the transformation to
and post-weld heat treatment is eliminated.
stainless steels is carefully controlled to martensite is as slow and uniform as
ensure that there is some austenite present at Consumables possible. Higher interpass temperatures also
the welding temperature. This two phase The ELI steels require either autogenous allow dissolved hydrogen, generally regarded
structure limits the possibility of grain welds or consumables with the same level of as a major contributor to cracking, to diffuse
growth in the ferrite and thus ensures the purity. Special care has to be exercised with out. If cracking is very prevalent, holding the
normal excessive grain size found in the gas control to avoid nitrogen and oxygen weld at around 200°C for a few minutes
welding of straight ferritic steels does not pick up. Because of this difficulty could assist in allowing the hydrogen to
occur. It is possible that some of the consumables should have (C+N+O)< diffuse out.
austenite formed in this two phase region 0.012%. The usual preheating temperature is around
will transform to martensite on cooling but 100-300°C. Post weld heat treatment should
For ferritics other than the ELI grades, either
this martensite is low in carbon and does not be done as soon as possible after welding
a matching grade or an austenitic electrode
reach the high hardness and brittleness This is designed to both convert the weld
is used. This can range up to around 20% Ni
normally associated with this phase. and heat affected zone to the optimum
although lower nickel levels as found in
It is interesting to note that the earlier W30813 (308L), W30900 (309) or W30913 metallurgical structure and to minimise the
custom of always having some titanium in (309L) are used. Having a largely austenitic internal stress.

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 23
With the common martensitic stainless structure in the heat affected zone will also be Table 11: Melting ranges and specific
steels, S41000 and S42000, post weld ferritic and, because of the temperature, there heats for a number of common
heating is to allow the material to cool to will have been considerable grain growth. materials
around 150°C, so that all transformation to Alloy Approx Approx Specific
Transformation to austenite only occurs after
martensite is essentially complete. The metal Liquidus Solidus Heat
solidification. At these lower temperatures
is then reheated to within the range 650- Temp Temp (20°C)
and because the reaction must occur in the
750°C. The lower the temperature the higher (°C) (°C) (J/kg.°C)
solid phase, diffusion is slow and unless
the hardness. A graph of hardness versus 0.2% carbon 1500 1490 480
conditions are favourable only a small steel
tempering temperature for these two steels is
amount of transformation will occur. 0.4% carbon 1500 1490 480
given in Figure 39, p22. These graphs are
derived from material that has been Because of these problems, the welds formed
Nickel-chrome- 1500 1490 495
quenched from 950°C and as such are only were essentially brittle. molybdenum
indicative of the effect of post-weld heating steel (4140)
Later generation duplex steels have largely
on these alloys. Stainless steel 1450 1405 500
overcome this problem by using higher basic
type S30400
If the component was to be completely re- nitrogen content in the steels and nickel Stainless steel 1440 1395 500
hardened then this should be done enriched consumables to better control the type S30403
immediately after welding to avoid the solidification and subsequent phase changes. Stainless steel 1510 1510 460
possibility of any cracks developing as it type S43000
These austenite stabilisers tend to hasten the
finally cools down. pronounced problem below 800°C and
formation of austenite in the heat affected
When large components are to be welded the zone and the weld. A normal weld in a embrittlement above this temperature.
edges of each part to be welded are sometimes duplex material using filler metal of the
Harmful precipitating phases
covered, or buttered, with a layer of an same composition as the base metal resulted
Sigma phase formation is more likely in the
austenitic deposit. The parts are then heat in welds having up to 80% ferrite. With
higher alloyed super duplex steels than
treated to restore the original structure and the correct steel and filler combinations the
normal duplex grades. Bowden and Ward
components then welded. The heat affected structure can more nearly approach the
have suggested that provided there is less than
zone will be contained in the austenitic layer desired 40~50%.
2.5% volume fraction of sigma phase the
and will not be transformed. There will still be
The steels still, however, can suffer from the toughness and corrosion resistance of welded
transformation in the weld metal but this
relatively high tough-brittle transition S32760 duplex steels is within tolerable limits
should be more easily contained.
temperature inherent with structures with failure occurring by tearing rather than
THE WELDING OF DUPLEX containing ferrite, Figure 35, p19. Nitrogen brittle failure at this level. There is, however, a
has a very low solubility in ferrite, probably considerable drop-off in Charpy impact
between 0.03 and 0.05%. Higher amounts in strength with increasing amounts of sigma
The control of the α-γ ratio the ferrite can result in the formation of phase, Figure 40, p22 so that an evaluation
Early alloys in this series had considerable chromium nitrides with a greater possibility for specific projects may be necessary.
problem in maintaining the corrosion of cracking and a lower corrosion resistance.
Another problem sometimes seen with high
resistance and strength of the weld.
Nitrogen is more soluble in austenite, a value ferrite contents is the precipitation of
The lower nitrogen of the weld pool and the of 2.8% is quoted in the Fe-N phase diagram secondary austenite within the ferrite grains.
diffusion of nitrogen from the parent metals but with lower austenite proportions this This again decreases corrosion and
was thought to be one reason for the means the majority of the nitrogen will end mechanical properties This secondary
decreased corrosion resistance. up in a relatively small amount of austenite. austenite has a lower amount of chromium,
Other problems centred around the formation With steels containing 0.3% nitrogen and as molybdenum and nitrogen compared to the
of a large grained ferrite structure in the heat low as 40% austenite, the nitrogen could primary austenite and this would account for
affected zone with only a small amount of reach as high as 0.6-0.7%. Austenite its lower corrosion resistance
this transforming to austenite on cooling. proportions as small as this could be
obtained in the heat affected zone adjacent to
It can be seen from Figure 41, p23 that these a weld. High levels of nitrogen in austenite
welds solidify as delta ferrite. At these make it susceptible to brittle cleavage. Apart
temperatures it will be expected that the from brittleness it is also very strong and this
can upset the mechanical balance between
the ferrite and austenite grains.
High ferrite levels and/or holding in
intermediate temperature ranges can lead to
sigma phase formation. It can be expected
that sigma phase formation will occur
around 800°C but that below that
temperature R phase will form with similar
Figure 43: Variation in melting point in a
problems concerning corrosion and
Figure 42: Expansion stresses in a welded weld pool with a variation in
joint embrittlement. Corrosion is the more component melting points

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 24
Table 12: Melting ranges of some common brazing alloys THE WELDING OF
Brazing-soldering alloy Liquidus (°C) Solidus(°C) PRECIPITATION HARDENING
50-50 Sn-Pb solder 421 361 STAINLESS STEELS
60-40 Sn-Pb solder 374 361 The welding conditions for these steels
depend on whether they belong to the
60-40 Cu-Zn brazing alloys (AWS A5.27 RBCu-ZnA) 900 890
martensitic, semi-austenitic or austenitic
Silver solder (Ag 45, Cu 30, Zn 25) [AWS A5.8 BAg5] 843 743
BNi1 Nickel brazing alloy (B 3.4, C 0.7, Cr 14, Fe 4.5, 1040 970
Although all grades may be welded, they all
Ni Bal, Si 4) [AWS A5.8 BAg5]
require careful control over weld chemistry
Quench annealing compounding effect of the long time at and it is probable that an investigation of the
There are many interacting factors but a temperature permitting the formation of weld procedure based on more detail than
usual figure for the proportion of ferrite sigma and other intermetallic phases. For can be provided in this course would be
would be not more than 40-50%. this reason heat inputs are restricted to required.
around 1~1.5 kJ/mm in the more highly
If an abnormal structure is obtained, the Martensitic group
alloyed grades.
correct ferrite ratio can be restored by a This steel is similar to a simple martensitic
quench anneal from 1100°C but this is In the lower alloyed grades, such as S32304 steel but the very low carbon, 0.07 max,
frequently impossible because of the and S31803, heat inputs as high as 2.5 means that the martensite is not that brittle.
distortion it would give in welded assemblies. kJ/mm can be tolerated with no restriction It has a hardness of around HRC30 when
on interpass temperature. fully hardened. The high strength of this
By correctly balancing the composition of
steel results from a copper rich precipitate
the steel, the effect of the large grain size The same problem arises with interpass
that forms on ageing generating a final
and excess ferrite is overcome by rapid temperatures and this is frequently limited to
hardness of around HRC 45.
transformation to austenite both around and a maximum of 100-200°C with temperatures
within the austenite grains. The resultant nearer 100°C being preferred. The weldability of the group is very good.
structure then has the toughness associated Welds can be made using MMAW, GTAW
Preheating is not normally required although and GMAW.
with fine grained material.
the parts should be above the dew point to
The ease of welding results from a
Consumable selection and ensure there is no water that could affect the
combination of low carbon, which lowers the
energy input weld.
possibility of cracking resulting from the rapid
To assist in maintaining this correct balance, If the weld has a particularly low heat input cooling in the heat affected zone and the free
consumables high in nickel and nitrogen are (<0.6kJ/cm) a preheat can prevent very rapid ferrite in the structure that resists hot cracking.
used. It is also common to have nitrogen cooling and the consequent prevention of
present in the shielding gas. Welds are usually made with a similar
ferrite decomposition into austenite.
material. The deposit can be hardened by
Care has to be exercised with respect to Preheating can also help minimize weld
reheating to the ageing temperature. Multi-
nitrogen in that it is possible, with larger cracking in heavy sections or constrained
pass welds are less uniform in their response
amounts, to change the solidification pattern welds.
than single runs because of the multiple
to give ferrite in a matrix of austenite, rather Post weld heating is also not usually required ageing that occurs during the subsequent runs.
than the normal widmanstatten austenite in although if there is any doubt a quench
ferrite. The former structure gives a lower It is usual to adjust the consumable
anneal would restore the structure. If the
toughness and a decreased threshold stress composition to give both retained austenite
steel is in a dissimilar joint then it is
for stress corrosion cracking. as well as free ferrite in the deposit. It has
important that it is not heated at the 600°C
been found that this gives optimum
To assist in this problem the filler material normally used for stress relieving mild steel.
toughness and ductility.
should also be substantial to avoid any This would cause embrittlement in the
dilution problems that could occur with duplex steel.
respect to the added nickel if only a small Table 13: Thermal expansion coefficients of a number of common materials
amount of filler is present.
Alloy Coefficient of thermal Applicable temp
Because of the sensitive nature of the phase expansion µm/m/°C range (°C)
reactions that occur during solidification and 0.2% carbon steel 13.37 0-1000
0.4%carbon steel 13.59 0-1000
shortly after, it is also important that
Nickel-chrome-molybdenum 13.86 0-1000
contamination from elements that could
steel (4140)
affect the structure be avoided. Carbon is Stainless steel type S30400 20.0 0-1000
one source but other tramp elements that Stainless steel type S30403 20.0 0-1000
could act as either austenite or ferrite Stainless steel type S43000 11.9 0-650
stabilisers would act in this way. Stainless steel type S31803 18 0-300
N08800 18.0 0-800
The weld temperature can also be
N08330 17.64 0-800
significant. High weld temperatures can
N06600 16.4 0-900
ensure there is more time for the ferrite to
A04430 Al-5% Si casting alloy 24 0-300
transform into austenite but there is the

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 25
It is common to use a dissimilar filler metal. Martensitic castings require pre-heating to
Table 14: Thermal conductivity
coefficients for a number 310 type material has been used where age avoid cracking and should be given either a
of common materials hardening is not required and a precipitation post-weld temper or full heat treatment to
Coefficient of hardening high nickel alloy such as obtain the required properties.
thermal ERNiCrFe-641 where extra weld metal
Alloy conductivity If the casting has been in service, rather than
strength is required.
W/m the foundry repairs described above, and the
at 100°C at 500°C THE WELDING OF CASTINGS service has been at elevated temperatures
0.2% carbon steel 51.1 39.1 The welding of castings can be required to there could have been changes in the
0.4% carbon steel 50.7 37.9 microstructure that will cause cracking
attach another component to a casting or to
Nickel-chrome- 42.7 36.4 during welding. For this reason it is good
molybdenum steel repair a defective casting. The majority of
castings can have shrinkage tears or other practice to heat treat this type of casting to
Stainless steel type 16.3 21.5 surface defects that may need to be ground restore its original structure prior to any
S30400 out and repaired by welding. This should not form of repair welding.
Stainless steel type 16.3 21.5 be seen as abnormal. A properly welded
S30403 Welding to castings
casting should have similar properties to an
Stainless steel type 24.9 28.8 Similar conditions apply to those for casting
S43000 unwelded one.
repair although pre- and post-weld heat
Stainless steel type 15 18 Casting repair treatment may be more difficult.
S31803 (300°C)
The large grain size found in castings is
N08800 13.0 19.5 Hot cracking of austenitic steel castings can
N06600 15.9 22.1 likely to cause cracking during
again be prevalent and must be guarded
solidification. Higher nickel and carbon
against. Selection of a consumable where
contents will tend to favour this.
It is usually found that the welding process primary solidification as ferrite occurs rather
does not seriously affect the mechanical Austenitic castings are usually welded than austenite lowers the possibility of
properties of the parent metal although this without pre-heating but it is desirable to cracking. Higher sulphur and phosphorus
would not be the case if there was a quench anneal them after welding. The and, to some extent, silicon are also found to
particularly heavy weld deposit or a large normal presence of ferrite in these castings promote cracking.
amount of repeat welding in the one area. can assist welding. As with weld repair, guarding against
If the material is to be welded to austenitic Where corrosion resistance is to be retained, heating in the critical 400- 900°C range must
steels 308, 309 or a high nickel electrode the prevention of sensitisatioin must be be avoided where resistance to sensitisation
such as ENiCrFe-240 would be used. watched. This is one of the reasons for corrosion is important.
avoiding pre-heating and interpass In general all welding of stainless steel
Semi-austenitic group
temperatures must be kept low for the same castings should be done at as low an energy
These steels have the normal precipitation reason. This may require water cooling input as possible to minimise partial melting
hardening characteristic of being easy to form between runs. If stress corrosion is possible, of the heat affected zone where the more
after an annealing treatment. To harden the stress relieving should be undertaken.
steel it is given a sub-zero quench to around - segregated and larger grain sizes found in
75°C and then aged at around 500°C. castings accentuate this type of failure.

Welding can be done using any of the Table 15: Variation in weld pool composition with varying amounts of parent
normal processes although the close control metal A, parent metal B and filler metal C. Compositions:
of the steel chemistry required to achieve the Parent metal A: Mild steel: C 0.2%, Cr 0%, Fe Bal, Ni 0%
heat-treated properties can mean that alloy
loss in the weld pool can give low weld Parent metal B: S30400 stainless steel C 0.06%, Cr 19.0%, Fe Bal, Ni 10%
mechanical figures. Filler metal: S30900: C 0.10%, Cr 23.0%, Fe: Bal, Ni 13.5%

It is possible using specially designed Weld pool ratio Weld pool composition
consumables and shielding gases to achieve Parent metal A Parent metal B Filler metal C Cr Ni
satisfactory results but this generally requires a 0.00 1.00 0.00 0.06 19.00 10.00
0.25 0.75 0.00 0.10 14.25 7.50
post weld homogenisation and heat-treatment.
0.50 0.50 0.00 0.13 9.50 5.00
Austenitic group 0.75 0.25 0.00 0.17 4.75 2.50
1.00 0.00 0.00 0.20 0.00 0.00
This material is austenitic at all temperatures 0.50 0.50 0.00 0.13 9.50 5.00
with the precipitating phase being formed on 0.45 0.45 0.10 0.13 10.85 5.85
ageing at around 700°C. 0.40 0.40 0.20 0.12 12.20 6.70
0.35 0.35 0.30 0.12 13.55 7.55
The steels are highly alloyed and can give
0.30 0.30 0.40 0.12 14.90 8.40
problems with cracking in both the weld
0.25 0.25 0.50 0.12 16.25 9.25
and heat affected zones but by keeping the 0.20 0.20 0.60 0.11 17.60 10.10
heat input to a minimum cracking is less 0.15 0.15 0.70 0.11 18.95 10.95
likely to occur. 0.10 0.10 0.80 0.11 20.30 11.80
0.05 0.05 0.90 0.10 21.65 12.65
0.00 0.00 1.00 0.10 23.00 13.50

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 26
The possibility of using a buttering layer of a The coefficients of thermal expansion for a necessary has led to failures that can be
non-crack sensitive material should also be number of common materials are shown in related in part to the differential expansion
considered for the more difficult applications. Table 13, p25. from dissimilar metal welds44.

DISSIMILAR METAL WELDING Differential expansion can also produce a It is for this reason that the operating stress
problem during service. The following on dissimilar metal weld joints between
Controlling factors in dissimilar
example illustrates this: stainless and carbon steels should be kept at
metal welding
a minimum.
Melting Temperatures • Metal A: S30400 stainless steel –
expansion coefficient = 20.0 µm/m.°C To avoid undue stressing the weld metal
It is clear that a difference in melting
• Metal B: 0.2% carbon steel – expansion should, if possible, have an expansion
temperatures can present a problem in fusion
coefficient = 13.4 µm/m.°C coefficient intermediate between the two
joints. A table of the melting temperatures of
parent alloys, i.e. providing a buttering layer.
a range of common alloys that could be If an assembly containing these two If this path is chosen, the high nickel alloys,
welded together is given in Table 11, p24. materials, Figure 42, p24 is heated, the N08800 or N08330 are likely materials for
The effect of dissimilar metal welding can before and after conditions would be: this buttering layer.
depend on whether the joint is a fusion or
non-fusion join. It is clear that the lower • Metal A: cold length = 0.05m Thermal expansion can be altered by
melting point alloy will form a greater part of hot length = 0.05050m42 alloying. Nickel is a particularly interesting
the weld pool than the higher melting point expansion = 0.00050m example since alloying with copper increases
one. Where there is not a great deal of • Metal B: cold length = 0.05 m its thermal expansion but iron, chromium
difference, the welder can help this hot length = 0.05033 m and molybdenum will reduce the expansion
distribution to some extent by the direction of expansion = 0.00033m coefficient.
his arc.
This will mean that there will be a compressive Brazing
The problem can be illustrated when a joint internal stress, σ, induced in the component. When dissimilar metals with differing
is such that considerably more of one metal This can be calculated from the expansion, i.e. expansion coefficients are brazed, the
is melted compared to the other. As this joint strain, and the elastic modulus, E, as: clearance required for correct capillary
action during brazing must be calculated. For
solidifies contraction stresses are more likely σ = E x strain
to cause a hot-tear to develop in the low example if a tube with a high thermal
It is possible to consider the difference in expansion is a press fit at room temperature
melting point alloy at or close to the parent -
strain on either side of the weld, assuming around another with low thermal expansion,
weld interface since this will be the last
the weld to be a ‘fixed‘ point. it is probable that the clearance at the
section to solidify. A plot across the weld
junction would show the solidification The strain in the mild steel component will be: brazing temperature will be too much to
temperature generally decreasing as the permit the correct capillary action. If the
σMS =211.9 x 0.00033 reverse arrangement of tubing is used, the
amount of the lower melting point metal
= 69 MPa clearance will be too small.
increased in the alloy, Figure 43, p24. The
and in the stainless steel it will be
wider area of the lower melting point If two solid components of differing
σSS = 215.3 x 0.00050
material will be constrained on both sides expansion coefficients are being brazed, the
= 107 MPa
and thus the solidification contraction and brazing alloy should have an intermediate
stresses are likely to generate a crack. It must be appreciated that there have been brazing coefficient.
several approximations in these calculations,
Where there is a wide divergence in melting not the least being the temperature Thermal conductivity
temperatures, and this can be as low as distribution selected The main point to be The effect of thermal conductivity variation
100°C, then it may be necessary to include a made is that there will be expansion, it will is similar to both melting point and thermal
material with an intermediate melting be different to that expected with expansion problems. The problems arise
temperature as an interface between the two. homogeneous welds and it will generate
This will most usually be one of the brazing internal stressing, distortion or both. Table 16: Filler materials for stainless
alloys. The melting ranges of some of the - carbon steel dissimilar welds
common brazing alloys are given in Table Stress analysis of joints between the chrome- Stainless Consumable Also
12, p25. This process is known as buttering molybdenum steels used in steam service steel known as
and is a common solution for a lot of and either S30400 or S31600 austenitic S30400 S30900 306
dissimilar metal welding problems. stainless steels shows that the thermal S30403 S30983 309L
expansion stresses occurring across the joint S31000 S30900 309
Expansion S31600 S30903 309L
are nearly double that caused by the
S31603 S30986 309MoL
Fusion welds operating pressure43. S32100 S30982 309Mo
Differential thermal expansion over a S34700 S30900 309
dissimilar metal weld can introduce stresses Where this stress produces a fluctuating load S31803 W39209 2209
additional to those normally accompanying – as it would in a thermal cycling situation – S32750 2510 or
welding. It is possible that these stresses it is possible that fatigue loading could 25.10.4
occur. The welding of boiler tubes to S43000 S30900 309
could be sufficient to induce a crack either
minimise in cost by using the higher alloyed S44400 S30982 309Mo
during cooling, after welding or in service. S41000 S30900 309
stainless steels only where these are

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 27
when one half of a joint has a markedly The normal considerations in mixing that metal B then the composition of the pool
different coefficient of thermal conductivity apply to all welding operations will also must be an equal mixture of each alloy.
compared to the other. Directing the welding apply to dissimilar metal joints.
In the case of a three component system, it
heat source can qualitatively allow for this,
Six zones are usually identified: will be remembered that the composition of
preheating the high conductivity metal can
• Composite zone where there has been the weld pool will depend on the ratio of
also assist this.
maximum, if not complete, mixing. each metal. On the phase diagram the three
Thermal conductivity changes with alloy lever rule is used for graphical
• Unmixed zone where the parent plate has
temperature. A tabulation of some metallic calculation of the weld pool composition.
melted but not mixed with the metal of
thermal conductivities with the applicable
the composite zone. This zone can give Referring again to a binary alloy. If it
temperature range are given in Table 14, p26.
phases that might not be present in the
contains one quarter of metal A and three
It is interesting to note that conductivity overall structure and that could markedly
quarters of metal B, the composition must
increases with increasing temperature for alter the weld structure.
reflect this.
some metals, e.g. UNS S30400, but • Fusion line
decreases with others, e.g. carbon and low • Partially melted zone: This can give If there is a third alloy introduced as a filler
alloy steels. corrosion problems due to dendritic material then the composition of the weld
Components where distortion is critical may solidification on cooling but also can pool will be controlled by the amount of filler
require procedures to counteract the effect of have penetration by the weld metal into present. As an example of this, the effect of
a thermal conductivity that could cause the parent plate – i.e. liquid metal the ratio of parent metals and filler metal for a
problems. This may require heat input on corrosion. mild steel/UNS S30400 weld with and
• Heat affected zone: The normal area of without S30900 filler is shown in Table 15,
some occasions – or extraction on others.
the parent plate where heat from the weld p26.
Pre- and post-heating can affect the parent plate structure.
If pre-heating or post-heating is required on • Unaffected base material For example, assume that each component
one half of a joint for metallurgical reasons, has the following composition of metal A.
It is probably the composite zone and the
this must also be the case for the whole of a
partially mixed zone that can give Parent 1: 10%
dissimilar metal joint containing that alloy.
unexpected results in a dissimilar metal Parent 2: 20%
Pre-heating is frequently important for higher weld. The reasons for this are essentially Filler wire: 30%
carbon and/or restrained plain carbon steels to related to the effect of mixing on the phases
Also assume that the weld pool contains the
prevent post-weld cracking. This will not that will be present.
following proportion of each component:
present a serious problem with most Dilution calculation
dissimilar metal joints although in some cases Parent 1: 35%
The basic concept behind calculation of weld
where pre-assembly or jigging is required, Parent 2: 40%
pool composition relies on the lever rule so
there may be some handling difficulties. Filler wire: 25%
familiar to metallurgical calculations.
Post-weld heating is not as simple. It is The amount of metal A in the weld pool will
If it is assumed, as a simple situation, that a
conceivable for example that a carbon steel therefore be:
weld pool between two dissimilar metals, A
welded to a UNS S30400 stainless steel may (0.35 x 10%) + (0.4*x 20%) +
and B, contains half of metal A and half of
accentuate the possibility of sensitisation
(0.25 x 30%) = 19%
corrosion due to the combination of welding
heat input plus the post weld heating.
Sensitisation is the decrease in aqueous
corrosion resistance due to carbide

Heat treatment can be considered as a post

weld heating operation. If one side is to be
heat treated by, say ageing, then the effect on
the other side must be considered, e.g. two
different age hardening alloys may have
different ageing treatments. Clearly other
types of heat treatment could cause concern.

Weld pool properties

Metal mixing
Metal mixing is essentially a mechanical
process and for any mixing to occur, the
metals must be wetted by the filler metal.
This could require specialised fluxes.

Figure 44: Schaeffler De Long diagram superimposed with alloy regions

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 28
martensitic structure with its attendant
undesirable properties would occur.

If a higher alloyed consumable, such as UNS

S30900, were used and it was assumed that it
would form 1/3 of the weld pool then the final
structure would be as shown in Figure 46, p30.

These conditions are also demonstrated in

Table 15, p26 where it can be seen that the
composition of the weld pool approaches a
satisfactory combination with progressively
higher proportions of the higher alloyed
consumable – alloy ‘C’ in this table.

The Schaefller diagram does not accurately

display the ‘real’ situation since it deals only
with the room temperature result. The
solidification pattern is considerably different.

There have been a series of modifications to

Figure 45: Probable weld pool composition from a mild steel – S30400 weld with no filler the Schaeffler diagram to allow for this with
material. This pool will be martensitic region with a high probability of the WRC 1992 diagram, Figure 36, p19
being the most recent.

This calculation assumes the unlikely dissimilar welding and joint metallurgy This diagram does not include manganese as
situation that there has been no loss by reference be made to NiDI 14018 Guidelines an alloying addition and as such is unable to
oxidation during welding. If necessary, an for Welding Dissimilar Metals. predict the possibility of martensite
estimated correction could be made for this. formation. Manganese has little effect on the
Austenitic stainless steel - high temperature formation of ferrite or its
All of the above assumed relatively simple carbon steel transformation to austenite and therefore is
ratios of each of the contributing materials.
The choice of consumable with these alloys of little significance in the fundamental use
There are a number of factors that will affect
is largely related to the effect of of the WRC diagram, i.e. the prediction of
these proportions:
contamination of the weld pool by the room temperature ferrite.
• Thin materials: The low heat input carbon steel.
Manganese does, however, have an effect on
required to melt for thin materials
Low temperature applications the lower temperature transformation of
together with the low cross sectional area
For low to moderate temperature service it is austenite to martensite and thus the inclusion
to conduct heat away will be expected to
usual to use a stainless steel filler. Fillers are of this element in the diagram can allow
generate a higher proportion of these in
listed for most stainless steels in BSEN prediction of martensite regions. It is for this
the weld pool.
12072 Welding Consumables Wire reason that the original Schaeffler diagram
• Location relative to the weld face: The Electrodes and Rods for Arc Welding, with still finds application in dissimilar weld
closer the weld run is to the parent metal 2312L type stainless steel being the most structure prediction43.
face, the greater will be the common. A listing of grades suggested for One particular area of usefulness of the
contamination from the parent. Root runs some of the more common steels is given in Schaeffler diagram is to indicate the type of
will have the most contamination. Table 16, p27. behaviour that can be expected with welds of
• Weld run placement: Placing a second run Consumable selection can be understood by various compositions.
on top, rather than between previous runs reference to the Scaeffler DeLong diagram,
High temperature applications
should produce less contamination from Figure 44, p28.
underlying runs. Because of the problems with microstructure
It is possible to predict the type of alloy that stability, it is usual to use one of the high
• Penetration: Factors that would normally will be obtained in the weld pool by relating nickel alloys in joints expected to operate
be expected to give more penetration can these to the approximate ranges of the over around 400°C. This is because of the
be expected to give more dilution, e.g. particular alloy groups superimposed on this higher tolerance to carbon and their
GTAW, higher current, slower travel rate. diagram. favourable coefficient of thermal expansion.
Joint design For example, Figure 45, shows what type of These alloys also have a higher inherent creep
The major considerations with dissimilar alloy would be expected in a weld pool with strength and oxidation resistance to assist
metals are related to correct filler material equal amounts of S30400 and mild steel their survival at these higher temperatures.
and eventual joint serviceability. However, present in the pool, a condition that would be
The consumables usually employed are AWS
because many dissimilar metal welds are expected in an autogenous weld.
5.14 ERNiCr-3 or 5.11 ENiCrFe-3.
associated with one of the stainless steels, it This condition would not usually be
is recommended that for general advice on acceptable since it can be seen that a

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 29
Ferritic/Martensitic stainless as the low alloy steel, provided that it
steels - carbon steel meets the service requirements of the
The principal point of concern here is the application. With any low alloy steel filler
hardenability of the combined joint. metal, the chromium that is picked up by
the dilution with the chromium steel base
There are a large number of possible
metal must be considered.
combinations but almost all will generate a
hardenable steel through the combination of For welding any chromium steel to a carbon
chromium and carbon that w in the weld pool. steel, carbon steel filler metal can
alternatively be used, but it is preferable to
This can be minimised by using a filler
use a less filler metal.
metal with the same composition as the
carbon/low alloy steel but it is still probable WELDING FUME CONTROL
that there will be sufficient chromium pick-
Occupational health and safety regulations
up from the stainless steel to give a
require that a workplace will meet specific
martensitic weld pool.
If hardenability is a problem, then it may be
This is of particular interest to welders since
better to use a buttering layer of high nickel
many of the airborne materials regarded as
stainless steel on both components. Types 309
dangerous arise during welding.
or 310 can be used. These may then be heat
treated to obtain the desired properties. The Those that are significant during the welding
weld can then be completed with an austenitic of stainless steel are ozone, chromium and
alloy such as type 308 stainless steel. nickel. All of these have specific limits
The following general rules have been placed on them, both in relation to peak
proposed for joining the 4xx series stainless (instantaneous) levels and time weighted
steels44: average levels.

• For welding one hardenable chromium Welding in the open or in a well ventilated
steel to another with a higher chromium workspace with the operator keeping his
content, filler material with chromium head away from the weld plume can
content equal to that of either steel may generally be sufficient to keep contact with
be used. Furthermore, any filler material the contaminants below the critical levels. If
whose chromium content lies between this is not possible, some exhaust system is
these limits is equally satisfactory provide required.
the weldment is properly heat treated.
• A general rule for welding any chromium Exhaust systems range from general work
steel to any low alloy steel is to use a area fans to localised fans or the provision of
filler metal that has the same composition filtered air to the operators hood.

Figure 46: Probable weld pool composition from a mild steel – S30400 weld with 309 type
filler material. This pool will be in the austenitic region with around 4% free

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 30
END NOTES Stainless Steel Development Association corrosion resistance in chemical process
1 3CR12 is a registered trademark of Stainless Steel Information Series No 10 applications - NACE Corrosion ‘94
Middleburg Steel and Alloys (South Africa) (1993) p1 Baltimore USA p385/3
2 5CR12 is a registered trademark of 16 Svetsaren Vol 51 No1-2 1996 Several 32 ASM Metals Handbook - Vol 3 Alloy
Sandvik Steel (Sweden) articles on cored electrodes - ESAB Group Phase Diagrams 10th Ed 1992
3 AWS ANSI/AWS 3.0 Standard Welding 17 Rowlands D P, The welding of stainless 33 Karlsson L, Ryen L and Pak S,
Terms and Definitions and AS 2812 steels - welding processes and other Precipitation of intermetallic phases in
Welding Brazing and Cutting of metals - practical considerations South African 22% Cr duplex stainless weld metals.
Glossary of Terms Stainless Steel Development Association Welding Journal - Welding Research
4 Avery R E and Tuthill A H, Guidelines Stainless Steel Information Series No 10. Supplement January 1995 p82s
for the fabrication of nickel-containing (1993) p2 34 Bowden P L and Ward J L, Experience in
stainless steels for corrosion resistant 18 Avery R E and Tuthill A H, Guidelines welding 25Cr super duplex stainless steel
service. Nickel Development Institute for the fabrication of nickel-containing for topsides hydrocarbon piping Stainless
Publication No 11007 (1992) p5 stainless steels for corrosion resistant Steel World 7(2) March 1995 p46
5 Horn P, Applications for welding stainless service. Nickel Development Institute 35 Gooch T G and Gunn R N, Welding
steel using automatic orbital GTAW, WTIA Publication No 11007 (1992) p18 duplex stainless steels for maximum
seminar The Welding Technology of 19 Svetsaren Vol 51 No1-2 1996 Several corrosion resistance in chemical process
Stainless Steel, Melbourne, October 1995 articles on cored electrodes - ESAB Group applications - NACE Corrosion ‘94
6 ASM Specialty Handbook – Stainless 20 ASM Specialty Handbook - Stainless Baltimore USA p385/4
Steels (1994) p490 steels (1994) p402 36 Nilsson J O, Karlsson L and Andersson J
7 Coleman D C and Evans R W, 21 Bianchi G et al Localised Corrosion O, The formation and effect of secondary
Fundamentals of passvation and passivity NACE (1974) p399. Reproduced in austenite in duplex and super duplex
in the pharmaceutical industry. Sedricks Corrosion of Stainless Steels stainless steel weld metal. International
Pharmaceutical Engineering March/April John Wiley (1979) p85 Conference Processes & Materials,
1990 22 Avery R E and Tuthill A H, Guidelines for Innovation Stainless Steel
8 Ödegård L and Fager S, The root side the welded fabrication of nickel- 37 Widmanstatten is a structure where the
pitting resistance of stainless steel welds containing stainless steels for corrosion austenite forms along preferred
Australiasian Institute of Metal Finishing, resistant service. Nickel Development directions within the ferrite grains
27th Annual Conference, Sydney 1995 Institute Publication No 11007 (1992) p20 38 Karlsson L, Pak S and Andersson S L,
9 Sequestering agent. This is a chemical 23 ASM Welding, Brazing and Soldering. Microstructure and properties of super
that forms a complex with a metallic ion Metals handbook, Vol 5, 10th Edn, 64 and duplex stainless weld metals
and thus removes it from other possible Ozisik M N, Basic Heat Transfer International Conference on Stainless
reactions. McGraw Hill (1977) Steels Chiba Japan 1991
10 Chelate compounds. These are 24 Inco Alloys International Incoweld 686CPT 39 ENiCrFe-2: Nominal composition:
compounds that can sequester metal ions Data Sheet Publications IAI-118 (1993) Cr:15, Fe:12, Mn:2, Mo:1, Nb + Ta:2,
by locking them into a complex structure. 25 Boulton L H and Betts A J, Corrosion Ni:62min, V:1
A common chelating agent is performance of titanium and titanium 40 ERNiCrFe-6: Cr:16, Fe:8 max, Mn:2,
ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) stabilised stainless steels Br Corros J Ni:67min, Ti:3
11 Tuthill A H and Avery R E, Specifying 1991 26(4), 287 41 To calculate expansion: L1 =
stainless steel surface treatments 26 Dixon B F, Control of magnetic L0(1+αt) where α is the coefficient of
Advanced materials and Processes Dec permeability and solidification cracking thermal expansion and t is the
1992. Reprinted as NiDI publication 10068 in welded non-magnetic steel. Welding temperature rise. Assuming an average
12 Tuthill A H, Stainless steel: surface Journal - Research Supplement May 1989 temperature rise over the 5cm of 500˚C,
cleanliness Pharmaceutical Engineering p171S L1 = 5(1+20.0*10-6*500)) = 5.05 cm
14(6) p34 November 1994 p35 27 Welding Technology Institute of Australia 42 American Welding Society Welding
13 Bukovinski S, Some case histories of Technical Note 16 Welding Stainless Handbook 7th Ed Vol 4, Chapter 12
stainless steel usage in the food industry Steels (December 1985) Dissijmilar Metal Welding p 523 (1982)
Sustained by Stainless, Annual Conference 28 American Welding Society - 1992 WRC 43 Avery R E, Pay attention to dissimilar -
of the Australian Stainless Steel diagram metal welds – Guidelines for welding
Development Association, August 1995 29 ASM Stainless Steel Speciality Handbook dissimilar metal Chemical Engineering
14 Racky W, Optimising the corrosion (1994) p51 Progress May 1991. Reprinted as NiDI
behaviour of austenitic chromium-nickel 30 3CR12 is a registered trademark of publication 14018
steels Stainless Steel Europe 6(8), Middleburg Steel and Alloys (South Africa) 44 ASM Specialty Handbook - Stainless
October 1994 p22 5CR12 is a registered trademark of Steels p 342 (1994)
15 Rowlands D P, The welding of stainless Sandvik Steel 45 American Welding Society Welding
steel - welding processes and other 31 Gooch T G and Gunn R N, Welding Handbook 7th Ed Vol 4, Chapter 12
practical considerations South African duplex stainless steels for maximum Dissimilar Metal Welding p528 (1982)

Edition 1
© 2002 Australian Stainless Steel Development Association

Acknowledgment: The contribution of the Australian Stainless Steel Development Association’s Technical and Education Committees in preparing this
course is acknowledged with thanks. Some material in this course originated from the Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association.
Disclaimer: The technical data and views expressed in this publication are for the general information of interested persons and should not be relied
upon in specific applications without first securing competent advice. Whilst all care is taken to ensure that the information contained herein is accurate
and up-to-date, the ISSF does not warrant its accuracy or completeness and does not accept liability for errors or omissions.

08 the welding and joining of stainless steels ISSF training notes page 31