ASME Section XI Nonmandatory Appendix Q and Code Case N-504-4 are routinely used to install full structural weld overlays in the nuclear power industry for repair or mitigation of stress corrosion cracking in austenitic stainless steel weldments. Both Appendix Q and N-504-4 specify a Ferrite Number (FN) and carbon content requirement for the stainless steel weld metal used for the weld overlay to ensure acceptable resistance to stress corrosion cracking. The Ferrite Number (FN) is used in the ASME Code for establishing the delta ferrite content in the deposited weld metal.
Field experience indicates there is often confusion and differing opinion concerning how the Ferrite Number and carbon content requirements of Appendix Q and N-504-4 are satisfied. This is in part due to unavailability of the original technical basis for these requirements. This paper provides a background for the delta ferrite and carbon content requirements, information on influence of delta ferrite and carbon content on stress corrosion cracking and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) guidance on the issue. Finally, this paper details a proposed revision of Nonmandatory Appendix Q and N-504-4 to clarify the FN and carbon content requirements.