Carbide precipitation

1. Austenitic grades are non-hardening type and welding usually does not adversely affect weld strength and ductility. There is one detrimental effect of heating of Ni-Cr steel i. e., carbide precipitation at the grain boundaries resulting in reduced corrosion resistance. A fine film of Cr-rich carbides containing upto 90% Cr taken from metal layer next to grain boundary gets precipitated along the grain boundary. Precipitation of intergranular chromium carbides is accelerated by an increase in temperature within the sensitized range and by an increase in time at that temperature.

2. Carbide precipitation can be controlled by :

• Using stabilised steels, by adding columbium and titanium which have greater affinity for carbon than does chromium. Columbium is exclusively used for the purpose in welding electrodes as titanium gets lost in transferring across the arc.

• Rapid quenching may minimise carbide precipitation, but this may not always be possible specially in thick sections.

• Limiting carbon content to a maximum of 0.03% avoids carbide precipitation

• Post-weld solution annealing.

3. Solution annealing puts carbides back into solution restores corrosion resistance. Austenitic S. S. with stabilization using Nb + Ti or Tantalum and welded with stabilised filler metal gives good strength and corrosion resistance properties.

4. SMAW process is widely used. A large number of electrodes available make the process widely acceptable. Some examples are given below:

• E308-16 electrode—metal transfer is spray type-smooth bead (AC or DCRP)

• Lime covered basic electrodes (only DCRP)-E308-15-globular transfer rough bead

• For heavy flat pieces SAW is used

• For thin sections TIG is excellent

• For sheets spot welding can be used.


Interdendritic cracking in the weld area that occurs before the weld cools to room tem­perature is known as hot cracking or microfissuring. Weld metal with 100% austenite is more susceptible to microfissuring than weld metals with duplex structure of delta ferrite in austenite. Susceptibility can be reduced by a small increase in carbon or nitrogen content or by a sub­stantial increase in manganese content.

To avoid solidification, cracking, weld metal should have a ferrite content of at least 3­5 ferrite number (FN) and hence filler metal of suitable composition is to be selected. For this purpose Schaeffler diagram is made use of; A modified version of it is h shown in Fig. 7.3 which takes care of nitrogen in the metal.

Nitrogen strengthened austenitic stainless steels offer the advantages of:

• Increased strength at all temperatures (cryogenic to elevated)

• Improved resistance to pitting corrsion




16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Chromium equivalent = % Cr+%Mo+1.5*%Si+0.5*%Nb


Fig. 7.4 De Long diagram They differ from conventional austenitic steels in that

• Mn substitutes a part of Ni, this allows more nitrogen to get dissolved in matrix of the alloy.

• Nitrogen acts as solid solution strengthener with increased annealed strength to approximately twice that of conventional austenitic steels.

Control of nitrogen content is important.

• Very low nitrogen lowers strength and corrosion resistance.

• Very high nitrogen causes porosity and hot cracking.


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