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Welding International

ISSN: 0950-7116 (Print) 1754-2138 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/twld20

Mechanical and microstructural properties of

submerged arc weldments with high heat input

Jorge Carlos Ferreira Jorge, Luis Felipe Guimarães de Souza, Erick de Souza
Marouco, Olavo Ribeiro dos Santos Filho & Jorge Luiz Coutinho Diniz

To cite this article: Jorge Carlos Ferreira Jorge, Luis Felipe Guimarães de Souza, Erick de Souza
Marouco, Olavo Ribeiro dos Santos Filho & Jorge Luiz Coutinho Diniz (2017): Mechanical and
microstructural properties of submerged arc weldments with high heat input, Welding International,
DOI: 10.1080/09507116.2016.1218618

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09507116.2016.1218618

Published online: 22 Feb 2017.

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Download by: [The UC San Diego Library] Date: 02 March 2017, At: 20:59
Welding International, 2017

Mechanical and microstructural properties of submerged arc weldments with

high heat input
Jorge Carlos Ferreira Jorgea, Luis Felipe Guimarães de Souzaa, Erick de Souza Maroucoa,
Olavo Ribeiro dos Santos Filhob and Jorge Luiz Coutinho Dinizc
Directorate for Research and Post-Graduate Study, Celso Suckow da Fonseca Federal Center for Technological Education – CEFET, Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil; bArinque Engineering Ltd., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; cJDiniz Consultants and Engineering, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The purpose of this work is to present a study of the mechanical and microstructural properties of Mechanical properties;
welded joints in carbon steel obtained by the automated submerged arc process with high heat microstructure; heat input
input, with the aim of increasing productivity in the fabrication of pipes for mooring equipment.
Joints were welded in ASTM A-572 Gr.50 steel with thickness of 25  mm by the single-pass
submerged arc process, with heat input varying from 7.8 to 14.0 kJ/mm. The joints were assessed
by Charpy-V impact testing at a temperature of 0 °C, Vickers microhardness with 1-kgf load, and
metallography of test specimens taken from the weld metal and the heat-affected zone. The
results showed that the welded joints had impact toughness above the minima required for use
in the welding of C-Mn and low-alloy steels with impact requirements of 34 J at 0 °C. A significant
increase in productivity was observed, without impairing the mechanical properties, allowing
fabrication of pipes for oil equipment with a significant reduction in fabrication time.

1. Introduction the technical requirements of strength and toughness,

combined with productivity, examines establishment of
The increase in maritime activities in the area of
the process that is able to offer the best combination of
petroleum has required larger volumes of supply of
quality and productivity. From the standpoint of produc-
high-strength materials to meet the needs of deep-water
tivity, the great advantage of the submerged arc process
exploration and production operations, where semi-
compared to the other processes is associated with better
submersible platforms are used. Gonçalves and Costa
efficiency and deposition rate, as well as the possibility of
[1] emphasize that these platforms for offshore operation
fully mechanized welding operations, avoiding the lim-
are floating units whose mooring system consists of long
itations of dependence on skilled labour [6]. However,
sections of steel mooring lines, steel cables or polyester
the advantage of the submerged arc process from the
cables, according to whether the mooring system is the
standpoint of productivity must be accompanied by an
conventional catenary system or the vertical system
analysis of the mechanical properties of the weld metal
(Figure 1) and anchors of various types for securing the
and the heat-affected zone (HAZ) produced by this pro-
lines [2–4].
cess, since improvement of productivity involves the use
Various possible types of anchors are available for
of high heat inputs, which is normally associated with
selection, such as drag anchors, vertical load anchors,
lower values of toughness in the welded joint [8–12]. In
suction piles (Figure 2). More recently, torpedo piles
this context, toughness is very important for welds in
(Figure 3) have become an important alternative in
equipment for mooring offshore production platforms,
this area of activity [1], owing to the advantageous
as a low level of toughness indicates the route for occur-
conditions for installation. Welding is the main fab-
rence of brittle fracture at low levels of stress.
rication process for this last-mentioned equipment,
The aim of the present work is to analyze the mechan-
which consists of tubular structures weighing up to
ical and microstructural properties of joints welded by
120 tons.
the submerged arc process with high heat input, to
The search for optimization of costs and time for fab-
increase productivity in the fabrication of pipes for
rication of naval and offshore equipment [5–8] has been
application in equipment used in accessories of mooring
one of the main questions in discussion of the selection
systems for oil platforms.
of welding processes and procedures, which, among

Selected from Soldagem & Inspeção. 2015 20(3) 347–358.

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
2   J. C. F. JORGE ET AL.

Figure 1. Diagram of the mooring system for a semi-submersible platform [1].

Notes: Sistema convencional (em catenária) = Conventional (catenary) system; Sistema para ancoragem vertical  =  Vertical mooring system; SISTEMA

Figure 2. Types of anchors [4].

Notes: Poita = Mooring stone; Estaca = Pile; Estaca de sucção = Suction pile; Ȃncora de arraste = Drag anchor; Ȃncoras instaladas por gravidade = Gravity-
installed anchors; Ȃncora vertical = Vertical load anchor.

2.  Materials and methods 2.2.  Welding procedure

2.1. Materials So that it would be possible to obtain welded joints in a
single pass with a weld bead profile suitable for removing
Sheets made of steel of ASTM classification A-572 Gr.50
Charpy-V impact test specimens with the notch posi-
[13] with dimensions of 500 × 250 × 25.4 mm, with the
tioned entirely in the weld metal, preliminary tests were
microstructure consisting of ferrite and pearlite shown
carried out, which indicated the use of the characteristics
in Figure 4, were used as the base material for produc-
of groove geometry shown in Figure 5.
tion of the welded joints. Table 1 presents the chemical
The sheets were preheated to a temperature of 80 °C
composition of the base material used. The filler material
and then welding was carried out in a single pass, direct
used was a combination of wire + flux of type AWS 5.17
current (DC+), stick-out of 45 mm, in the flat position
EM12K – F7A4 with solid wire, 4.0 mm in diameter.
and with the welding parameters shown in Table 2.

Figure 3. Torpedo mooring pile [3].

Notes: PARA O GUINCHO = TO THE WINCH; Guia da linha = Line guide; Solo submarine = Seabed.

results. The notch was positioned in the plane of the

thickness and at the centre of the weld bead, as shown
in Figure 6.
Tests were also carried out with the notch positioned
on the fusion line for some selected conditions in order
to assess the behaviour of the base metal when submit-
ted to high heat inputs. As in the previous case, three
tests were carried out at a temperature of 0 °C for each
condition analyzed, on test specimens with dimensions
of 10 mm × 10 mm, taken transversely to the weld bead
and 2 mm from the surface of the joint (Figure 6).
Metallographic analysis of the welded joints consisted
of obtaining macrographs, light microscopy (LM) and
scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Specimen prepa-
Figure 4. Microstructure of the base metal. ration consisted of the conventional technique of rough
Note: Etched with 2% nital. polishing and fine polishing, followed by chemical etch-
ing with the reagent 2% nital. The microstructures, both
2.3.  Characterization of the welded joint in the weld metal and in the HAZ, were assessed in a
Chemical analyses of the weld metals were performed position corresponding to the tip of the Charpy-V notch.
by optical emission spectrometry. Quantitative analysis for microstructural constitu-
Vickers microhardness tests were carried out with a ents of the weld metals was performed by LM, and for
1-kgf load on test specimens transverse to the weld bead, microphases by SEM. The point counting technique was
with hardness scanning taking in the weld metal, HAZ used in a metallographic grid with 100 points superim-
and base metal at intervals of 0.5 mm, for assessing the posed on the microscope screen, counting at least 10
behaviour of the different regions of the welded joint, fields selected at random for each condition, giving a
considering a variation of 5% in the results of the tests total of 1000 points per specimen.
for comparison.
Charpy-V impact tests were carried out at a tem- 3.  Results and discussion
perature of 0 °C, on normalized test specimens accord-
3.1.  Analysis of properties
ing to standard ASTM A-370 [14] with dimensions of
10 mm × 10 mm × 55 mm, taken transversely to the In the present work, an analysis was undertaken with
weld bead and 2 mm from the surface of the joint, three a focus on toughness, owing to the reduced variation
tests being conducted for each condition analyzed, and of mechanical strength with increase in heat input for
obtaining the mean and standard deviation of these C-Mn weld metals [6,15].

Table 1. Chemical composition of the base metal used.

Element C Si Mn P S Cr Ni Cu Nb V Ceq
wt% 0.13 0.24 1.29 0.020 0.008 0.007 0.012 0.007 0.028 0.003 0.381
4   J. C. F. JORGE ET AL.

Figure 5. Geometry of the welded joint.

Table 2. Welding parameters used.

Joint Current (A) Voltage (V) vs (mm/min) HI (kJ/mm)
A 850 34 120 14.3
B 850 34 150 11.7
C 850 34 180 9.7
D 750 31 120 11.7
E 750 31 150 9.4
F 750 31 180 7.8

Note: vs – welding speed; HI – heat input.

Figure 6. Positioning of the test specimens for impact testing.

Note: Metal de solda = Weld metal; ZTA = HAZ.

Table 3. Chemical analysis of the weld metals.

Joint C Si Mn P S Cr Mo Ni Cu Nb V Ceq
A 0.108 0.336 1.510 0.024 0.011 0.023 0.005 0.012 0.045 0.023 0.006 0.370
B 0.103 0.329 1.485 0.021 0.009 0.022 0.005 0.010 0.039 0.020 0.005 0.360
C 0.106 0.319 1.466 0.022 0.010 0.022 0.005 0.011 0.040 0.021 0.005 0.360
D 0.112 0.326 1.523 0.022 0.010 0.024 0.005 0.012 0.048 0.019 0.005 0.377
E 0.113 0.331 1.523 0.023 0.010 0.024 0.005 0.012 0.041 0.019 0.005 0.377
F 0.113 0.338 1.489 0.027 0.009 0.031 0.005 0.018 0.044 0.018 0.007 0.374

Figure 7. Macrograph of the welded joints.

Note: Etched with 2% nital.

Table 3 shows the chemical composition of the weld is increased somewhat, which is attributed to the effects
metals, where it can be seen that no significant variations of dilution with the base metal, and that the manganese
in the alloying elements were found, despite the differences content shows results around 1.40–1.50%, a value that is
found for the dilution with the base metal, which varied considered to be adequate for C-Mn weld metals [19,20].
from 47 to 69% (Figure 7), notably for the elements C, Si, It can be inferred from these results that the heat
and Mn, the contents of which may have been reduced input will be the main factor contributing to formation
by oxidation with increase in welding current [16–18]. In of the microstructure and consequently to the mechan-
addition, it should be pointed out that the carbon content ical properties.

Figure 7 shows the macrograph of the welded joints

with the highest and the lowest heat input, where it can
be seen that it was possible to produce defect-free joints,
meaning that Charpy-V impact tests can be performed
in the regions of interest.
Figure 8 shows the variation in microstructure of the
weld metal with increase in heat input, together with
a weld metal obtained at 4.8 kJ/mm, which represents
the welding procedure regularly used for the welding
of mooring structures. As expected [11,16,21,22], the
proportion of acicular ferrite is at very low levels for
high heat inputs, this decrease in acicular ferrite being
accompanied by an increase in primary ferrite and fer-
rite-carbide aggregates (FCA). Moreover, as expected
Figure 8. Effect of the welding heat input on the microstructure [10,11,23–26], coarser structures are observed at higher
of the weld metals. heat inputs (Figure 9). A final important aspect was the
Notes: Constituent microstructural (%)  =  Microstructural constituent finding of a low proportion of A-M (<3.0%) in these
(%); AFC  =  FCA; Ferrita Primaria  =  Primary ferrite; Ferrita com segunda
fase = Ferrite with second phase; Ferrita acicular = Acicular ferrite; Energia weld metals (Figure 10).
de soldagem (kJ/mm) = Welding heat input (kJ/mm).

Figure 9. Microstructure of the weld metals (LM).

Note: Etched with 2% nital.

Figure 10. Presence of A-M constituents in the weld metals.

Note: Etched with 2% nital.
6   J. C. F. JORGE ET AL.

Figure 11. Microstructures in the different regions of the HAZ.

Notes: Etched with 2% nital. Where: CGR – coarse-grained region; FGR – fine-grained region; ICR – intercritical region; SCR – subcritical region; FP – grain-
boundary ferrite; P – pearlite; FI – intragranular polygonal ferrite. Posicao/Condicao = Position/Condition; RGG = CGR; RGF = FGR; RIC = ICR; RSC = SCR.

Figures 11 and 12 provide evidence that the HAZ constituents that are normally observed in the HAZ of
showed similar behaviour to the weld metal, with a carbon steels and low-alloy steels [8], replacing bainite
more refined microstructure for lower heat inputs. for higher heat inputs (Figure 12). In the other regions
Furthermore, it is observed in the coarse-grained region of the HAZ, fine-grain regions, intercritical regions and
of the HAZ (CGR) that the refined bainitic microstruc- subcritical regions, we should point out the increase in
ture (FS) is replaced by another with a higher proportion the proportion of intragranular polygonal ferrite (FI),
of constituents with a higher transformation tempera- notably in the last-mentioned region.
ture for higher heat inputs. In fact, we observe the pres- This same behaviour was found for the results of the
ence of grain-boundary ferrite (FP) and pearlite (P) at hardness tests (Figure 13), both for the weld metal and
the grain boundaries of the prior austenite, intragranular for the HAZ. It is noted that the highest hardness values
Widmanstätten ferrite (FN) and FCA within the grains, occur for the coarse-grained region of the HAZ (CGR),

Figure 12.  Microstructures of the coarse-grained region of the HAZ observed by light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron
microscopy (SEM).
Notes: Etched with 2% nital. Where: FS – bainite; FP – grain-boundary ferrite; P – pearlite; FN – intragranular Widmanstätten ferrite; FCA – ferrite-carbide
aggregates. MO = LM; AFC = FCA; MEV = SEM.

higher heat inputs (Figure 9), it can be inferred that there

is a decrease in toughness with increase in heat input
[6,9,11,15,19,22,23,27]. In this connection, Figure 14
shows a significant decrease in this property starting
from 4.8 and up to 14.3 kJ/mm. However, it is also found
that at around 7.8 kJ/mm the reduction is less significant
with a tendency towards stabilization of the toughness.
This behaviour made it possible to obtain results above
the minimum requirements [28,29] for using these weld
metals in the welding of mooring components for off-
shore platforms, despite the large dispersion found in
the results for Charpy-V impact.
These results are important, since the weld metal is
considered to be the region of the welded joint that is
Figure 13.  Effect of welding heat input on hardness of the
of greatest concern, as it shows toughness values lower
welded joint.
Note: Microdureza Vickers  = Vickers microhardness; Distancia da linha de than for the base metal [8,15,23,27].
fusao = Distance from fusion line. To assess this question, since the performance of
the component depends on the behaviour of all of the
with a tendency for this property to decrease in the other regions of this welded joint, Charpy-V impact tests were
positions of the HAZ, which is in agreement with the also carried out in the HAZ for some analysis conditions.
literature [8,10,13,25]. This behaviour can be attributed The results of this experiment, shown in Figure 15, con-
to the microstructural change noted earlier (Figure 11), firm the foregoing, since the values of absorbed energy
due to the increase in polygonal ferrite in the regions of the HAZ are higher than for the weld metal, which
farther from the fusion line. presumably is associated with the microstructure that
Based on the microstructural changes, particularly formed. In fact, it is reported in the literature [8,23,30,31]
the significant decrease in the proportion of acicular fer- that C-Mn and low-alloy steels with microstructural
rite (Figure 8) and the presence of coarser structures for constituents similar to those in the present work may
8   J. C. F. JORGE ET AL.

conditions different from those found in serial produc-

tion. In this situation, the constant need for movement
of personnel and change of layout for fabrication and
provision of services for various items with particu-
lar characteristics makes investment and training in
special processes economically unviable. Thus, assess-
ment of the mechanical properties of joints welded
with high heat inputs by the conventional submerged
arc process still requires more experimental evidence,
bearing in mind that the literature available for these
conditions relates to the use of the TANDEM process
In this connection, along with an analysis of pro-
ductivity, a metallurgical study was undertaken for the
Figure 14. Effect of welding heat input on impact strength of toughness-microstructure relation of weld metal with
the weld metal.
Notes: Energia absorvida (joules) = Energy absorbed (joules); Minimo de 34
high heat input (up to 14 kJ/mm), so as to give technical
J a 0 °C = Minimum of 34 J at 0 °C; Energia de soldagem (kJ/mm) = Welding support for effective conclusions on adoption of relia-
heat input (kJ/mm). ble welding procedures, based on results of Charpy-V
impact tests, besides those required by qualification
standards. In this respect, it must be borne in mind that
the weld metal is still the region of greatest concern,
since, as commented by Zhang et al. [33], the changes in
technologies for steel fabrication and rolling have given
rise to an additional challenge for welding consumables
and for joining technology.
The results for impact toughness obtained allowed
adoption of a new approved procedure, with a significant
gain in productivity. In addition, it shows that there is
also a field of research in the industrial area for C-Mn
and low-alloy weld metals, where process productivity
and automation are key points.
As already noted in earlier work [6], where a similar
procedure was assessed for welding ASTM 36 steel, it
Figure 15. Effect of welding heat input on impact strength of was possible to obtain a significant improvement in pro-
the weld metal. ductivity, of the order of 58%. In addition, it is important
Notes: Energia absorvida (joules) = Energy absorbed (joules); ZTA = HAZ;
Metal base = Base metal; Metal de solda = Weld metal; Minimo de 34 J a
to point out that the change-over from the manual weld-
0 °C = Minimum of 34 J at 0 °C; Energia de soldagem (kJ/mm) = Welding ing procedure to the fully mechanized procedure gave
heat input (kJ/mm). indirect advantages as there was no risk of human error
or even lack of skilled labour for welding the root of the
display results for toughness in the HAZ higher than in joints, a critical point for occurrence of defects, which
the weld metal, notably when high heat input is used, allows more effective production planning. Finally, an
which according to Borba et al. [23] reinforces the need additional fact is that there is no need for pauses in pipe
for a suitable choice of welding consumable not only as a welding for changing the process, which greatly facili-
function of the design requirements, but also in relation tates specification of an optimized layout for industrial
to the base metal and the welding procedure applied. installations.
All these questions were also verified in the present
case, it having been possible to change from an earlier
3.2.  Practical implications of the results
procedure with manual welding with hollow wire in the
It is important to note that despite the existence of root passes to welding entirely by the submerged arc
established techniques for increasing the deposition process, with a guaranteed improvement in productivity
rate in the submerged arc process, for example the of around 50%.
TANDEM technique and addition of iron powder, the
purpose of the present work was to conduct a broader 4. Conclusions
analysis of the possibility of guaranteeing quality of
structures welded by the conventional high-productiv- Based on the results presented in this work, it can be
ity submerged arc process for industrial purposes, in concluded that:

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strength low-alloy columbium-vanadium structural
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