The weld metal produced from a series of high productivity welds of 316LN austenitic stainless steel plate was examined to evaluate the effects of the use of a higher heat input process (> 2.5kJ/mm).This high heat input process was aimed at maximising single sided weld metal penetration in a single pass using simple square edge preparations and minimising time consuming handling operations. The evaluation was undertaken by correlating the local microstructure with the local toughness and microhardness of the cap, middle and root of the weld. It was established that the intermetallic phases / carbides present did not appear to have a significantly adverse effect on either corrosion or toughness. The phases observed and confirmed by the use of SAED were predominantly chi (χ) with some sigma( σ). No identifications were made of M23C6 which was observed in other studies of 316LN welds. A series of impact tests with variations in the notch positions showed that the thickness of the delta ferrite had an effect on the weld metal toughness. As a result of this work it was established that similar volume fractions of delta ferrite did not necessarily produce similar levels of weld metal toughness, but ferrite thickness did appear to have a contributory effect. Welding of 316LN stainless steel with a single sided single pass submerged arc welding process was satisfactorily undertaken up to 20mm plate thickness without preheat or post weld heat treatment. The ability to achieve this resulted in significant economic savings within the process for ship panel production combined with satisfactory weld metal properties.
- austenitic stainless steel
- materials science