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The Toughness of High-Strength Steel Weld Metals

Publication Type
Journal Name
Welding Journal
Publication Date

Low-temperature phase transformation (LTPT) welding consumables are a new class of welding wires developed to mitigate hydrogen-induced cracking in the welding of high-strength steels without preheating or postweld heat treatment. LTPT weld metals have a high strength, but their toughness needs further investigation. LTPT weld metals predominately contain a martensite microstructure, which is necessary to achieve high strength; however, martensitic weld metals containing oxide inclusions have relatively poor toughness. Three welding processes — gas metal arc welding (GMAW), gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), and hot wire GTAW — were investigated. Optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopes, and transmission electron microscopes were employed for characterization. The role of the shielding gas in the formation of oxide inclusions in LTPT weld metals was investigated. The formation of oxide inclusions in the weld metals was related to the CO2 in the shielding gas. When 100% Ar or a pure inert shielding gas mixture was used for all three welding processes, oxide inclusions were greatly reduced, and the weld metal toughness improved considerably, matching the base metal toughness. The mechanism by which inclusions promote fracture propagation in the weld metal was proposed.