The effect of weld bead heat input on the performance of thick 3CR12 stainless steel welds


  • Christabel Phiri
  • Daniel Makunwaneyi Madyira



Heat-Affected Zone (HAZ), Weld Metal (WM), microstructure, multi-pass welding, temper bead welding, high temperature heat affected zone


3CR12 is a low cost special stainless steel containing 12% chromium. It is widely used in material handling, road transport, rail transport, power generation and petrochemical applications due to its favorable corrosion performance. 3CR12 is a weldable material, but it has challenges such as poor ductility, poor toughness of 3CR12 stainless steel welds, unfavorable microstructure and cross-sectional properties of the weld bead. This is due to the welding heat input and heat transfer across beads, which causes cracking due to property changes. When welding a thick stainless steel section, the hardest heat affected zone (HAZ) is created due to uneven heating and cooling in the weld metal and base material, which is susceptible to cold cracks and residual stresses, resulting in welding defects and unfavorable material properties. Welding thick 3CR12 stainless steels can be accomplished by using a variety of welding techniques. In order to restore undesirable material qualities, the majority of welds require a post-weld heat treatment (PWHT). However, critical PWHT factors such as duration, weld geometry, and unsupported loads during the hot phase of the weld do not always allow the process to be effective. This process results in prolonged downtime since the holding time in the PWHT cycle can be very long, especially with thick-walled 3CR12 steel members. There are other methods that are currently used to weld or repair thick 3CR12 steels. Among these other methods, the use of controlled temper bead welding technique which potentially could mitigate the above mentioned problems is mentioned. The approach involves using the heat input of the weld bead as a way of introducing the heat into the previous weld bead. This is achieved by varying the heat input in order to improve the mechanical performance of the previous weld bead and thus the overall weld integrity. Welding procedures for 3CR12 recommend the use of minimum heat to avoid weld defects and unfavorable material properties. This study was carried out to investigate the effect of the heat input of the weld bead on the mechanical properties of thick welds made of 3CR12 stainless steel. By utilizing inert gas (MIG) welding, two heat input levels were used in the process: low heat input averaged at 1.53 kJ/mm and high heat input averaged at 2.1kJ/mm. The heat input was varied by changing the welding parameters, for example the average welding voltage ranging from 28V to 30V, the average welding current from 120 A to 150 A and the average feed rate between 1.77mm/sec to 2.0mm/sec.


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How to Cite

Phiri, C., & Madyira, D. M. (2023). The effect of weld bead heat input on the performance of thick 3CR12 stainless steel welds. South Florida Journal of Development, 4(9), 3487–3517.