For condensate and feed water piping in nuclear power plants, it is desired to mitigate the pipe wall thinning risk due to Flow-Accelerated Corrosion (FAC). In aspect of material selection, low alloy steels are generally applied to improve FAC resistance. However, low alloy steels are inferior to carbon steels from the point of material cost and construction efficiency due to requirement of post weld heat treatment (PWHT). On the other hand, chromium is known as the most effective element to improve FAC resistance, and it is reported that a certain improvement of FAC resistance is also expected for carbon steels by increasing chromium content to over 0.10 wt%.
Such chromium controlled carbon steels are manufactured within the chemical composition range specified by material code of carbon steels, such as ASME B&PV Code Sec.II. Therefore, the amount of alloy content is lower than those for low alloy steels. The authors expect that PWHT can also be exempted for a certain thickness range of chromium controlled carbon steels, according to the exemption condition for normal carbon steels by ASME B&PV Code Sec.III. Furthermore, the chromium controlled carbon steels are generally cheaper than low alloy steels for base materials such as pipe and plate.
However, since chromium content of normal welding materials for carbon steels is generally lower than 0.05 wt%, chromium controlled carbon steel welding materials are specially-produced material. It makes the procurability worse compared to normal carbon steel welding materials. Additionally it should be confirmed if the increased chromium content affects the soundness of welded joint.
From the above reasons, it is necessary to decide the appropriate welding materials and methods for the chromium controlled carbon steel piping, considering the procurability of welding materials and the soundness of welded joint. In this study, the authors prepared the test pieces which simulate the assumed circumferential butt welded joints, then conducted the mechanical test such as tensile, impact, bend and hardness test to evaluate the soundness of welded joints. Furthermore, the authors evaluated the chromium content distribution of welded joints by using the Electro Probe Micro Analyzer (EPMA), in order to confirm if the chromium content is maintained over 0.10 wt% within the whole expected area.