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Austenitic Cr-Ni(-Mo)-Steels

Where stainless materials are concerned by far the greatest importance is attached to the group of austenitic chrome-nickel-(molybdenum) steels. Basically these chemically resistant steels may be classified as very readily weldable. They are not quench-hardenable as a result of which there is no occurrence of hardness increase and essentially no grain coarsening in the heat-affected zone. However, three problems may possibly arise in both the base metal and in the weld metal as a result of inexpert fabrication. These are: Sensitisation, i.e. reduction in the resistance to corrosion due to the formation of chrome carbide. Hot cracking, i.e. intergranular separations during solidification or in the high temperature sections of the heat-affected zone with rigid restraint of the weld area. Embrittlement, i.e. precipitation of intermetallic phases such as -phase due to application of high temperature or annealing. When welding fully austenitic steels it is also necessary to take into consideration their constitutional tendency toward the formation of hot cracks. Notes on the welding technology of austenitic Cr-Ni-(Mo) standard steels, weld dressing and information on filler metals may all be found in the appropriate sections.

Welding Technology
Only qualities corresponding to the respective base metal with weld deposits exhibiting -ferrite contents ranging from 5 - 15 FN (ferrite number) should be used for welding. This ensures adequate resistance to hot cracking. Filler metals of the same composition as the base, which result in fully austenitic weld metal, are available for highly corrosion-resistant special steels. Care should be taken to ensure that austenitic steels are only fabricated with a clean and dry surface. The arc should be kept as short as possible to prevent absorption of nitrogen from the air. When performing gas-shielded welding care must be taken to ensure perfect gas shielding and, with the exception of flux-cored welding, only shielding gases with a low CO2 content should be used to keep carburisation of the weld deposit as low as possible. Preheating to 100 - 150C is only advisable for a thick base metal but is not necessary on principle. An interpass temperature of 150C should not be exceeded. The recommended current intensity ranges must be complied with. If re-welding of the root is not possible during gas-shielded welding then there must be provision of gas shielding from the underside when welding the root bead (e.g. with forming gas or pure argon). Dilution with the base metal should be less than 35% if possible. If it is greater than this due to the welding procedure used, the ferrite content in a test bead should be determined by means of a calibrated ferrite gauge or should be estimated by calculation from the chemical composition e.g. with the help of the WRC-92 diagram. The ferrite content or the FN should not lie below the minimum value referred to above. Postweld annealing treatments should be avoided whenever practicable. If this is not possible then allowance must be made for a possible reduction in corrosion resistance and/or ductility. In this case it is advisable to consult the manufacturer of the steel and the filler metal. It is not generally possible to use unstabilised, low-carbon filler metals for stabilised steels and vice versa although the respective maximum temperature of intergranular corrosion resistance should be observed. Greater distortion than when welding ferritic steels must be taken into account and allowance must be made for appropriate corrective measures such as the weld shape, increased tacking, pretensioning, back-welding, etc. Flame straightening should not be carried out if possible as it can adversely affect corrosion resistance. In connection with this it is also particularly important to point out the damaging effect of arc strikes outside the welding groove. Only de-slagging hammers and brushes of stainless Cr or Cr-Ni steel may be used for cleaning austenitic weld joints.
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Bhler Schweitechnik Austria GmbH. - Mat-Austenitic CrNiMo Steels.doc

Weld Dressing
A completely bare metallic surface must be mentioned as the prerequisite for achieving optimum corrosion resistance. Not only must every trace of welding scale, slag and all spatter be removed but all bloom as well. Weld dressing may be performed by means of grinding, pickling, sandblasting, brushing and/or polishing. The finer the surface the greater the corrosion resistance (e.g. coarse grinding finish-grinding polishing). Pickling is the most often used method. There are various pickling solutions or pickling pastes commercially available for this purpose that are applied to the surface and rinsed off thoroughly with water after the recommended reaction time. The removal of so-called "bloom on welds sometimes causes a problem. It is also possible to remove this bloom by washing with silica sand or brushing. If the pickled component is rapidly subjected to corrosion, as is usually the case with repairs for example, then passivation is recommended subsequent to the pickling treatment. The appropriate manufacturers also offer suitable agents for this. The component must be rinsed thoroughly again after passivation treatment. It must be expressly mentioned in connection with the use of pickling agents that these are highly caustic substances and it is therefore imperative that protective items such as rubber gloves, rubber aprons, protective goggles and possibly breathing equipment are worn when handling them. Local environmental regulations must also be observed. Sandblasting is used when grinding or pickling cannot be considered. This procedure may only be performed with steel grit made from rust and acid-resistant steel or silica sand. Although the surface obtained is bare metal it is somewhat rougher. Passivation should also be performed after sandblasting.

Filler Metals
The following table shows various BHLER filler metals suitable for welding the materials listed: base material X5CrNi18-9 X2CrNi18-9 X5CrNiMo18-12 X2CrNiMo18-10 X10CrNiNb18-9
Bhler Schweitechnik Austria GmbH. - Mat-Austenitic CrNiMo Steels.doc



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