Many pipe mills may not be familiar with a Crack Tip Opening Displacement (CTOD) requirement on the pipe seam weld, nor will they find easily relevant information in open literature. Influencing — and certainly not independent — factors are: welding parameters, base material and consumable selection. Out of these, the welding parameters such as heat input and cooling rate cannot be varied over a wide range during the pipe production, which means that the leverage is rather limited at the given welding process. The properties of the heat affected zone will be mainly affected by the base material, while the properties of the weld metal will be affected by both, base material and filler wire selection. In particular with respect to the weld metal properties it will be difficult to obtain general quantitative information. For example, a welding consumable supplier will readily provide the properties of the filler wires but would be unable to predict the changes caused by the dilution from any base material in the weld pool and specific welding procedures that may have been used.

To support the pipe mills in the selection of the consumables for submerged arc welding, an experimental program was launched with the aim to provide recommendations on how to optimize CTOD toughness of the spiral weld seam. For this, a large number of welds were produced on 20 mm thick X70 coil samples, with eight different filler wire combinations, using a 2-wire (tandem) set-up for both the inside and outside weld. Welding parameters were kept constant. The welding program was applied to two different X70 steels to determine a potential influence of the micro-alloying elements, particularly Nb.

The results show clearly that a careful consumable selection is required for obtaining acceptable CTOD toughness in the weld metal. Ni-Mo and Ti-B additions to the weld metal are found to be beneficial with both steel concepts. Mo addition alone both to the ID and OD welds was clearly not a suitable selection.

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