Examining Stress Relaxation in a Dissimilar Metal Weld Subjected to Postweld Heat Treatment

Abburi Venkata, K.; Khayatzadeh, S.; Achouri, A.; de Oliveira, J. Araujo; Forsey, A. N.; Gungor, S.; Bouchard, P. J. and Truman, C. E. (2018). Examining Stress Relaxation in a Dissimilar Metal Weld Subjected to Postweld Heat Treatment. Materials Performance and Characterization, 7(4) pp. 675–692.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1520/mpc20180018


Dissimilar metal welds are often required in nuclear power plants to join components made from austenitic steels to those from ferritic steels, particularly in fast breeder reactor plants, in order to join the intermediate heat exchanger to the steam generator. The process of welding alters the microstructure of the base materials and causes residual stresses to form, both because of the change in the microstructure and the differing thermal histories in various regions. Postweld heat treatment (PWHT) is required to relieve the residual stresses and achieve preferable microstructural gradients across the weld joint. Therefore, in order to arrive at the optimal PWHT process, it is necessary to investigate the effects of heat treatment on the joint integrity, microstructure, and residual stress relaxation in the welds. To investigate the effect of PWHT on the residual stress relaxation and corresponding alteration of microstructure across a welded joint, a dissimilar weld between modified 9Cr-1Mo steel and austenitic stainless steel AISI 316LN was made using autogenous electron beam welding. To achieve this, the welding process was first modeled numerically using finite element analysis, and the residual stress predictions were validated by experimental investigation using neutron diffraction. The validated model was then used to study the residual stress relaxation through the simulation of PWHT. The predicted stress relaxation was compared with contour method measurement of residual stresses in the actual welded plate subjected to PWHT. The results indicate that, although some relaxation of residual stresses occurred during PWHT, there is still a significant portion of highly localized residual stresses left in the specimen.

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