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Welding of common steels

Unalloyed steels

Unalloyed steels are prone to cold cracking. In many cases preheating is required to ensure good weldability.


C < 0.2 %:   without preheating (up to 30 mm thickness)
or 100C against humidity
C: 0.2 to 0.5 %:   preheating temperature 100 to 300C
C > 0.5 %:   preheating temperature 300 to 350C

Possible post-weld treatments:

  • Stress relieving
  • Normalising

Low alloy steels

Low alloy steels are prone to cold cracking. In many cases preheating is required to ensure good weldability.

Sfrian diagram
Sfrian diagram

Possible post-weld treatments:

  • Stress relieving
  • Quenching and tempering

Fine-grained steels

Fine-grained steels are prone to cold cracking due to hydrogen absorption. They should be preheated slightly and welded with a relatively low specific energy, to reduce the heat-affected zone.
Preheating: in function of steel, generally 100C (max. 200C)
Welding: with moderate energy input per unit of length
Post-weld treatment: usually not necessary

Manganese steels

Austenitic manganese steels with a manganese content of 14% (Hadfield steels) have a tendency to form brittle precipitates in the form of carbides.
It is essential to weld them without preheating, even with additional cooling, and to keep the specific heat input low.
Preheating: none (cooling may be used if needed)
Possible post-weld treatments: none

Austenitic stainless steels

Austenitic stainless steels are prone to hot cracking and so should be cleaned and welded with a low specific energy
Weldability: Watch for formation of chromium carbide at grain interface, if carbon content is higher then 0.04%
Preheating: Usually none
Filler metal: % C = max. 0.04 %

DeLong diagram
DeLong diagram

Welding: With moderated energy input per unit of length
Post-weld treatment: Solution heat treatment, where necessary
Remarks: Keep away from oil and grease, clean painstakingly after welding, use stainless steel brushes

Martensitic chrome steels

Weldability: limited
Preheating: 250C to 450C (in function of composition)
Postweld treatment: Slow cooling to 120C (martensitic transformation) and annealing at 750C or hardening (generally 1000C/oil) and tempering (generally 750C).
Watch for formation of chromium carbide between 500C and 650C!

Safety: Arc welding

see chapter safety

For further information, on-site training, technical advise or project management, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Last update: September 7, 2015

All information is supplied in good faith and without prejudice.
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