Stainless steels are considered to have very good resistance to general and localized corrosion due to their chromium content. This property of corrosion resistance constitutes the main criterion for selecting austenitic grades of steels for service in the chemical, nuclear and aerospace industries although their mechanical properties are relatively modest. However, this resistance can degrade when structural components manufactured from these steels are used in a chemically aggressive environment, especially when service involves exposure to high temperatures like in welding. This exposure gives rise to precipitation of chromium carbides producing chromium depletion at grain boundaries that brings about the inter-granular corrosion or sensitization of these materials. Austenitic stainless steel (316L) is one of the corrosion resistance material used extensively in the oil production, chemical and power generation industries for transportation and reservoir of corrosive products. In spite of its corrosion resistance property there exist severe problems of sensitization. In the present work an effort has been made to reduce the effect of sensitization in Tungsten Inert Gas welding of Austenitic stainless steel (316L). Three welding procedures (namely conventional, back step and skip welding) in Tungsten Inert Gas welding have been used to control exposure time of the weld pool to higher temperatures, in order to study the effect of sensitization on mechanical properties (such as tensile strength, yield strength, percentage elongation and hardness). The results of this study suggested that the better mechanical properties were attained by the skip welding procedure and recommended welding parameters are 90 Amp current and 10 L/min of gas flow rate for a 5 mm thick work piece. Noticeable change in amount/extent of sensitization was observed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis within the various welding specimens prepared using the various procedures. Further mechanical properties (like strength and hardness) have been correlated with the extent of sensitization, which show remarkable decreases when the amount/extent of sensitization increases.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.