Aug 11, 2010


A. Effects of Ferrite Content. Fully austenitic stainless steel weld deposits have a tendency to develop small fissures even under conditions of minimal restraint. These small fissures tend to be located transverse to the weld fusion line in weld passes and base metal that were reheated to near the melting point of the material by subsequent weld passes. Cracks are clearly injurious defects and cannot be tolerated. On the other hand, the effect of fissures on weldment performance is less clear, since these micro-fissures are quickly blurted by the very tough austenitic matrix. Fissured weld deposits have performed satisfactorily under very severe conditions. However, a tendency to form fissures generally goes hand-in-hand with a tendency for larger cracking, so it is often desirable to avoid fissure-sensitive weld metals.

B. The presence of a small fraction of the magnetic delta ferrite phase in an otherwise austenitic (nonmagnetic) weld deposit has an influence in the prevention of both centerline cracking and fissuring. The amount of delta ferrite in as-welded material is largely controlled by a balance in the weld metal composition between the ferrite-promoting elements (chromium, silicon, molybdenum, and columbium are the most common) and the austenite-promoting elements (nickel, manganese, carbon, and nitrogen are the most common). Excessive delta ferrite, however, can have adverse effects on weld metal properties. The greater the amount of delta ferrite, the lower will be the weld metal ductility and toughness. Delta ferrite is also preferentially attacked in a few corrosive environments, such as urea. In extended exposure to temperatures in the range of 900 to 1700°F (482 to 927°C), ferrite tends to transform in part to a brittle intermetallic compound that severely embrittles the weldment.

C. Portable ferrite indicators are designed for on-site use. Ferrite content of the weld deposit may indicated in percent ferrite and may be bracketed between two values. This provides sufficient control in most applications where minimum ferrite content or a ferrite range is specified.


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  2. Very Helpful. In the absence of clients specifications on SS 316L weldment what is the range of delta ferrite % that can be considered as acceptable.

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