Temper bead (TB) welding is often used as an alternative to post weld heat treatment (PWHT) for repair of pressure vessels and piping in the nuclear power industry. Historically, qualification of TB welding procedures has employed the Charpy V-notch test to ensure acceptable heat-affected-zone (HAZ) impact properties. The 2004 Edition of ASME Section IX provided a new provision in QW-290 that allows temper bead qualification using a peak hardness criterion. The peak hardness provision is appropriate for industries such as oil and gas, where peak allowable hardness is specified to ensure adequate resistance to sulfide stress cracking in sour service environments. However, a peak hardness criterion is not appropriate where impact properties are specified for resistance to brittle fracture during low temperature conditions that can occur during certain postulated accident scenarios at a nuclear power plant.
Work at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and The Ohio State University (OSU) show that a hardness drop protocol can be used to demonstrate acceptable impact properties in the HAZ of a temper bead weld. This paper presents a quantitative correlation between hardness measurements and HAZ microstructures with presumed optimum impact properties using a hardness drop approach. The overarching goal is to develop a hardness test protocol for temper bead weld procedure qualification for applications where impact properties are specified.