Weldability and toughness evaluation of pressure vessel quality steel using the shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process
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The present study was carried out to assess the weldability properties of ASTM A 537 Cl. 1 pressure-vessel quality steel using the shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) process. Implant and elastic restraint cracking (ERC) tests were conducted under different welding conditions to determine the cold cracking susceptibility of the steel. The static fatigue limit values determined for the implant test indicate adequate resistance to cold cracking even with unbaked electrodes. The ERC test, however, established the necessity to rebake the electrodes before use. Lamellar tearing tests carried out using full-thickness plates under three welding conditions showed no incidence of lamellar tearing upon visual examination, ultrasonic inspection, and four-section macroexamination. Lamellar tearing tests were repeated using machined plates, such that the central segregated band located at the midthickness of the plate corresponded to the heat-affected zone (HAZ) of the weld. Only in one (no rebake, heat input: 14.2 kj cm-1, weld restraint load: 42 kg mm-2) of the eight samples tested was lamellar tearing observed. This was probably accentuated due to the combined effects of the presence of localized pockets of a hard phase (bainite) and a high hydrogen level (unbaked electrodes) in the weld joint. Optimal welding conditions were formulated based on the above tests. The weld joint was subjected to extensive tests and found to exhibit excellent strength (tensile strength: 56.8 kg mm-2, or 557 MPa), and low temperature impact toughness (7.4 and 4.5 kg-m at-20 °C for weld metal, WM, and HAZ) properties. Crack tip opening displacement tests carried out for the WM and HAZ resulted in δm values 0.36 and 0.27 mm, respectively, which indicates adequate resistance to brittle fracture.
Keywordscold cracking crack tip opening displacement impact toughness lamellar tearing restraint intensity sheilded metal arc welding
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