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1. What is welding?

Welding is a family of methods used for joining two workpieces; steel in the case of SSAB. Usually a single heat source, normally an electrical arc, locally melts the two workpieces to form a common liquid pool. When the steel solidifies, the pieces are joined. In many cases, a special steel rod or wire (consumable, filler) is melted into the weld pool to get a good weld joint.

2. What are the most common welding methods?

The most common welding methods are Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) more commonly known as MMA or stick welding, Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) more known as MIG/ MAG welding, submerged arc welding (SAW) and laser welding.

3. Can different welding methods be combined?

Yes. A typical example can be to weld the root pass with TIG and fill passes with MIG/MAG. 

4. Can all steels be welded?

Yes, but it is more challenging to weld some steels than others, depending on alloying and dimensions.

5. How can different steels be welded together?

Welding methods and parameters must be suitable for both steels. Usually, the least weldable steel determines the parameters to be used. 

6. What are the welding consumables?

There is a vast number of consumables. The steelmaker provides advice on these for their different grades. For SSAB steels, see the welding recommendations.

7. How is steel preheated before welding?

Workpieces can be preheated in a furnace with an oxy-fuel flame, with electrical heating mats or with electrical induction. It is crucial not to exceed the maximum temperatures given in the data sheet for the steel grade to be welded. Too high a temperature may negatively affect the properties of the steel.

8. How is welded steel postheated after welding?

Steel workpieces can be preheated in a furnace with an oxy-fuel flame, with electrical heating mats or with electrical induction. It is crucial not to exceed the maximum temperatures given in the data sheet for the steel grade involved. Too high a temperature may negatively affect the properties of the steel.

  Steel grade Holding temperature [ºC] Heating and cooling rate [ºC/h] Holding time [min/mm] Suitable time at the holding 
temperature [h]
 Strenx® 700   550-580 ºC  100  2 min/mm of single plate thickness, min 1 h   1-6
 Strenx® 900    520-550 ºC   100  2 min/mm of single plate thickness, min 1 h   1-6
 Strenx® 960    520-550 ºC   100  2 min/mm of single plate thickness, min 1 h   1-6
 Hardox® HiTuf    510-530 ºC   100  2 min/mm of single plate thickness, min 1 h   1-6
 Hardox® HiTemp    450-480 ºC   100  2 min/mm of single plate thickness, min 1 h   1-6

Source: SSAB Welding Handbook

9. How much hydrogen is allowed in the welded joint?

A rule of thumb is a maximum of 5 ml hydrogen per 100 g weld metal. However, this is in practice not possible to measure. The hydrogen content in solid wires for MAG welding is typically around 1.5-2 ml hydrogen per 100 g weld metal, while cored wires can pick up moisture in the flux which might increase to higher values per 100 g weld metal. Keep all consumables dry and warm, in particular flux-covered and flux-core ones. Packages should be opened shortly before use. 

10. Which shielding gas should be used?

Shielding gas protects the liquid weld pool from nitrogen and oxygen in the air. Shielding gases are usually different mixtures of argon and carbon dioxide affecting the welding process and result. Shielding gases for Hardox® and Strenx® steels are the same as for other low-alloyed steels. 

 Welding method  Arc type   Position   Shielding gas [weight %]
MAG, solid wire   Short arc   All positions  18-25% CO2, rest Argon
MAG, cored wire   Short arc   All positions  18-25% CO2, rest Argon
MAG, solid wire   Spray arc   Horizontal (PA, PB, PC)  15-20% CO2, rest Argon
MAG, MCAW   Spray arc   All positions 15-20% CO2, rest Argon
MAG, MCAW   Spray arc   Horizontal (PA, PB, PC)  15-20% CO2, rest Argon
Robotic and automatic Mag   Spray arc   Horizontal (PA, PB, PC)  8-18% CO2, rest Argon
TIG   Spray arc   All positions 100% Argon


Source: SSAB Welding Handbook

11. What steels can be welded using hardfacing?

Hardfacing is a procedure where a harder material is welded to the base metal surface to create a protective layer. The method can be applied to all SSAB steels, but for the hardest ones, a soft buffer layer must first be welded on the base plate to reduce the risk of cold cracking into the base plate. All types of conventional welding processes can be used for both the buffer layer and the hardfacing layer.

12. Can welding be done on the primer?

Yes, it can. However, the primer will increase the porosity in the welded joint. A high-quality weld calls for complete removal of the primer in the welding area. 

13. How much hardness or strength is lost after heating the material?

Hardness deterioration is difficult to control. The maximum heating temperatures stated in the data sheets of the steel should always be respected.

14. What is the heat-affected zone (HAZ) of steel?

The heat-affected zone (HAZ) is close to the welded joint where the temperature has increased temporarily due to the liquid weld pool. HAZ size depends on the heat applied. The mechanical properties of the base steel in the HAZ may change, usually in a negative direction. 

15. How big should the throat thickness be for fillet welds?

The designer has chosen a suitable plate thickness for the expected structural stresses. A rule of thumb is that the throat thickness is equal to the plate thickness for a one-sided fillet weld. For two-sided fillet welds, the throat thickness should be approx. 0.7 times the plate thickness.

16. Why does the plate deform after welding?

Plate shrinkage in the vicinity of the welded joint will vary due to varying peak temperatures and residual stresses of varying sizes will appear. Thin plates will react with deformation and relaxation of the stresses, while the stresses will prevail in thick plates.  

17. Which welding heat input should be used?

Too much heat input will alter the mechanical properties of the welded joint (base material in too big a volume) while too little heat input may result in a lack of fusion. SSAB recommends the SSAB WeldCalc app to calculate proper welding parameters.

18. What are hydrogen cracks?

Hydrogen cracks in welded joints can form due to the concentration of hydrogen in the material close to the weld, as hydrogen embrittles the material. Hydrogen atoms in a hot welded joint will diffuse and collect at “comfortable” spots, e.g. microdefects in the microstructure. Hydrogen gets trapped when the joint cools. Cracks can initiate from those hydrogen traps after hours or even days. The inevitable residual stresses will elongate the cracks. High hardness and alloying make steels more sensitive to hydrogen cracking. 

19. What can cause a welded joint to fail?

There are many factors that could cause a welded joint to fail. The most common ones are defects in the form of physical discontinuities, poor microstructure, and residual stresses. There are various reasons behind those factors, including choice of design, joint type, joint geometry, welding process, heat input, preheating, and welding consumables. 

20. What are the most common welding defects?

There are many possible welding defects. Some of the more common ones include: 

  • Lack of penetration or incomplete penetration
  • Lack of fusion or incomplete fusion
  • Undercut
  • Spatter
  • Slag inclusions
  • Cracks
  • Porosity
  • Overlap

More information on the above defects can be found in the SSAB Welding Handbook.

The information in this report is only applicable to SSAB’s products and should not be applied to any other products than original SSAB products. 

This report provides general results and recommendations for SSAB steel products. This report is subject to SSAB’s Terms of Use. It shall be the user's responsibility to verify that the information contained herein is correct and is suitable to be used for the particular purpose and application of the user. The report is intended to be used by professional users only who possess adequate expertise, qualification and knowledge for the safe and correct use of the results and recommendations in this report. This report is provided “as is”. The use of the report is at user’s own discretion and risk and that users will be solely responsible for any use of this report. SSAB disclaims any liability for the content or potential errors of this report, including but not limited to warranties and condition of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or suitability for individual applications. SSAB shall not be liable for any kind of direct or indirect damages and/or costs related to or arising therefrom, whether special, incidental, consequential or directly or indirectly related to the use of, or the inability to use, the report or the content, information or results included therein.