This paper examines alternative, improved materials for truck castings. The first part looks at steels that would not require post-weld heat treatment after repair welding. The second part investigates specific applications for temperatures below −50 °F.
The rapid, dramatic temperature changes that occur during welding can form brittle phases or cracking in some steels. The weld has three areas of differing structure: the weld, the heat affected zone (HAZ), and the parent metal. The maximum hardness occurs in the HAZ and is the limiting factor in determining weldability. An ultraweldable steel is a steel that does not require post-weld heat treatment. Many steels were evaluated for their chemical composition and susceptibility to cracking; those that were likely to form brittle phases were eliminated from consideration. Four low alloy steels and one carbon steel were selected as being potentially ultraweldable.
To evaluate the ultraweldability of these steels, groove welds and two types of spot welds were made on the five candidate alloys. The welds were then sectioned and prepared for microstructural and microhardness evaluation. Microhardness readings were taken across the weld, spanning the weld, HAZ, and base material.
Three of the steels formed hard, brittle phases during most of the tests. This indicates these materials are not ultraweldable. Two of the low alloy steels did meet the requirements for ultraweldability. Future work in this area would include producing truck castings from these materials.
At low temperatures, plain carbon steels, such as the types used in truck castings, can fracture in a brittle manner, with no visible deformation. The material property of deforming without fracture is toughness or ductility. Using materials that retain their toughness in low temperatures could prevent brittle failures of truck castings. Six grades of steel currently used in low temperature applications were selected for this research.
Specimens from each of the six materials were evaluated for tensile properties at multiple temperatures. Charpy impact specimens were tested at temperatures ranging from −20 °F to −120 °F. The measured room temperature tensile properties of each of the six steels met or exceeded the requirements for Grade B+, the steel currently used for truck castings. Four of the steels showed impact energies far above that of the current Grade B+, but two of them gave consistently higher impact energies than all others. These would be the best candidates for future work in this area. Future work would involve producing full size truck castings from one or more of these alloys, then testing them for fatigue performance, preferably at low temperatures.