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Section 2: APPLIED METALURGY

Lecture 2.1:
Characteristics of Iron-Carbon Alloys
OBJECTIVE/SCOPE:
To introduce important aspects of the metallurgy of steel required for the understanding of the engineering properties of steel.

PREREQUISITES
None

RELATED LECTURES
Lecture 2.2: Manufacturing and Forming Processes
Lecture 2.3.1: Introduction to Engineering Properties of Steels
Lecture 2.3.2: Advanced Engineering Properties of Steels
Lecture 2.4: Steel Grades and Qualities
Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steels

SUMMARY
This lecture commences with a discussion of the need for civil and structural engineers to have a
basic knowledge of the metallurgy of steel. Then the crystalline nature of irons and steels is described
together with the influence of grain size and composition on properties. The ability of iron to have more
than one crystalline structure (its allotropy) and the properties of the principal crystalline forms of alloys
of iron and carbon are discussed.
The metallurgy and properties of slowly cooled steels are reviewed, including the influence of grain size,
rolling, subsequent heat treatment and inclusion shape and distribution. Rapidly cooled steels are
treated separately; a brief description of quenching and tempering is followed by a discussion of the
influence of welding on the local thermal history. Hardenability, weldability and control of cracking are
briefly discussed. Finally the importance of manganese as an alloying element is introduced.

1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 Why Metallurgy for Civil and Structural Engineers?
The engineering properties of steel, i.e. strength, ductility and resistance against brittle fracture, depend
on its crystalline structure, grain size and other metallurgical characteristics.
These microstructural properties are dependent on the chemical composition and on the temperaturedeformation history of the steel. Heat treatments that occur during welding may also have a large influence on the engineering properties.
When selecting steel for welded structures, it is important to have at least a basic knowledge of metallurgy. This knowledge is required especially when large and complicated structures are being designed,
such as bridges, offshore structures, and high rise buildings.
Selecting materials, welding processes and welding consumables usually requires consultation of real
metallurgists and welding specialists. A basic knowledge of metallurgy is essential for communication
with these specialists.
Finally, a basic knowledge of metallurgy also enables civil and structural engineers to have a better understanding of the engineering properties of steel and the performance of welded structures.
1.2 The Scope of Lectures in Group 2
Lecture 2.1 deals with the characteristics of iron-carbon alloys. Where possible, direct links are indicated to
the engineering properties and weldability of steel. These are covered in Lectures 2.2 and 2.6 respectively.
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Lecture 2.3 describes steelmaking and the forming of steel into plates and sections. The various processes for controlling the chemical composition and the different temperature-deformation treatments
are discussed. Most of the underlying principles described in Lecture 2.1 are applied.
Steels are available in various grades and qualities. The grade designates the strength properties (yield
strength and ultimate strength), while the quality is mainly related to resistance against brittle fracture.
Grades and qualities are explained in Lecture 2.4. A system for choosing the right quality according to
Eurocode 3 (Annex C) [1] is presented. Some guidelines for the selection of steel grade are given.

2. STRUCTURE AND COMPONENTS OF STEEL


2.1 Introduction
To get an impression of the metallurgical structure of steel, a piece of steel bar can be cut to expose a
longitudinal section, the exposed surface ground and polished and examined under a microscope.
At modest magnifications, a few particles are seen which are extended in the direction of rolling of the
bar, see Slide 1. These particles are inclusions. They are non-metallic substances which have become
entrained within the metal during its manufacture, mostly by accident but sometimes by design. Their
presence does not affect the strength but has an adverse effect on ductility and toughness. Particular
types of inclusion can greatly enhance the machinability of steels and may therefore be introduced
deliberately.

Slide 1 Longitudinal stringers of inclusions in hot rolled steel (x500)

To reveal the true structure of the metal, the polished surface must be chemically etched. When this is
done, a wide diversity of microstructure may be seen which reflects the composition of the steel and its
processing, see Slides 2 - 5.
The microstructure has a significant effect on the engineering properties as described in later sections of
this lecture.
2.2 The Components of Steel
Steels and cast irons are alloys of iron (Fe) with carbon (C) and various other elements, some of them
being unavoidable impurities whilst others are added deliberately.
Carbon exerts the most significant effect on the microstructure of the material and its properties. Steels
usually contain less than 1% carbon by weight. Structural steels contain less than 0,25% carbon: the
other principal alloying element is manganese, which is added in amounts up to about 1,5%. Further
alloying elements are chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), molybdenum (Mo) etc. Elements such as sulphur (S),
phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N) and hydrogen (H) usually have an adverse effect on the engineering
properties and during the steel production, measures are taken to reduce their contents. Cast irons
generally contain about 4% carbon. This very high content of carbon makes their microstructure and
mechanical properties very different from those of steels.
Each of the microstructures shown in Slides 2, 3, 4 and 5 is an assembly of smaller constituents. For
example, the 0,2% C steel of Slide 2 is predominantly an aggregate of small, polyhedral grains, in this
case <20m in size. Closer examination of one of these grains shows it to be a single crystal. However,
unlike crystals of quartz or silicon or copper sulphate, crystals of iron (Fe) are soft and ductile. The internal structure of these crystals is discussed later.
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Slide 2. Microstructure of hot rolled steel


containing 0,2% carbon showing ferrite
(white) and pearlite colonies (dark). (x200)

Slide 3. Microstructure of hot rolled steel


containing 0,36% carbon showing increased
proportions of pearlite (dark). (x500)

Slide 4. Microstructure of heat treated hot


rolled steel containing 0,36% carbon showing spheroidised pearlite (dark) in a ferrite
matrix (x750)

Slide 5. Microstructure of quenched hot


rolled steel containing 0,36% carbon
showing bainite (x200)

The steel of Slide 2 is an example of a polycrystalline substance which has been made visible by polishing and etching.
(a) The surface is polished but not etched.
(b) The surface is polished and etched. Different reflections of the light indicate different orientation of
crystals (polycrystalline structure).
(c) Some etchants affect only the grain boundaries. These etchants are used when it is required to
investigate the grain structure, e.g. to estimate the grain size.
(d) The appearance of etched grain boundaries of Figure 1c.
(e) The appearance of a steel with 0,15% carbon (enlargement 100x). The dark areas are pearlite. The
grain boundaries are clearly indicated. The dark areas indicate the presence of carbon.
By adjusting the history of rolling and heating treatment experienced by the steel during its production,
the grain size can be altered. This technique is useful because the grain size affects the properties. In
particular, the yield strength is determined by the grain size, according to the so-called Petch equation:
y = o + kd-1/2
where y is the yield strength
o is effectively the yield strength of a very large isolated crystal: for mild steel this is 50N/mm2
d is the grain size in mm
k is a material constant, which for mild steel is about 20N/mm-3/2
Thus, if the grain size is 0.01 mm, y250N/mm2.
2.3 The Crystal Structure
The internal structure of the crystal grains is composed of iron atoms arranged according to a regular
three-dimensional pattern. The pattern is illustrated in Figure 2. This pattern is the body-centred cubic
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crystal structure; atoms are found at the corners of the cube and at its centre. The unit cell is only 0,28nm
along its edges. A typical grain is composed of about 1015 repetitions of this unit.

Figure 2. Body-centred cubic crystal:


unit cell

Figure 3. Face-centred cubic crystal:


unit cell

This crystal structure of iron at ambient temperature is one of the major factors determining the metallurgy and properties of steels.
Steels contain carbon. Some of it, a very small amount, is contained within the crystals of iron. The carbon atoms are very small and can fit, with some distortion, into the larger gaps between the iron atoms.
This arrangement forms what is known as an interstitial solid solution: the carbon is located in the interstices of the iron crystal.
In the steels of Slides 2, 3 and 4, most of the remaining carbon has formed a chemical compound with
the iron, Fe3C, iron carbide or cementite. Iron carbide is also crystalline but it is hard and brittle. With
0,1%C, there is only a small amount of Fe3C in steel. The properties of such steel are similar to those of
pure iron [2]. It is ductile but not particularly strong and is used for many purposes where ability to be
shaped by bending or folding is the dominant requirement.
For a steel of higher carbon content, say 0,4%, as shown in Slide 5, a low magnification shows it to be
composed of light and dark regions - about 50:50 in this case. The light regions are iron crystals containing very little dissolved carbon, as in the low carbon steel. The dark regions need closer examination. Slide 6 shows one such region at higher magnification. It is seen to be composed of alternate layers
of two substances, iron and Fe3C. The spacing of the laminae is often close to the wavelength of light
and consequently the etched structure can act as a diffraction grating, giving optical effects which
appear as a pearl-like iridescence. Consequently, this mixture or iron and iron carbide has acquired
the name 'pearlite'. The origin of the pearlite and its effect on the properties of steel are revealed by examining what happens during heating and cooling of steel.

Slide 6 : Polycrystalline structure of steel containing 0,4% carbon. (x400)


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3. IRON-CARBON PHASES
3.1 Influence of Temperature on Crystal Structure
The crystal structure of steel changes with increasing temperature. For pure iron this change occurs
at 910C. The body-centred cubic (bcc) crystals of Figure 2 change to face-centred cubic (fcc) crystals
as illustrated in Figure 3. For fcc crystals the atoms of iron are on the cube corners and at the centres
of each face of the cube. The body-centred position is empty.
A given number of atoms occupy slightly less volume when arranged as fcc crystals than when arranged
as bcc crystals. Thus the change of the crystal structure is accompanied by a volume change. This
change is illustrated in Figure 4. When a piece of pure iron is heated, expansion occurs in the normal way
until the temperature of 910C is reached. At this temperature there is a step contraction of about
% in volume associated with the transformation from the bcc to fcc crystal structure. Further heating gives further thermal expansion until, at about 1400C the fcc structure reverts to the bcc form and
there is a step expansion which restores the volume lost at 910C. Heating beyond 1400C gives thermal
expansion until melting occurs at 1540C. The curve is reversible on cooling slowly.

Figure 4 Volume changes on heating pure iron

The property that metals may have different crystal structures, depending on temperature, is called
allotropy.
3.2 Solution of Carbon in bcc and fcc Crystals
When the atoms of two materials A and B have about the same size, crystal structures may be formed
where a number of the A atoms are replaced by B atoms. Such a solution is called substitutional because one atom substitutes for the other. An example is nickel in steel.
When the atoms of two materials have a different size, the smaller atom may be able to fit between
the bigger atoms. Such a solution is called interstitial. The most familiar example is the solution of carbon in iron. In this way the high temperature fcc crystals can contain up to 2% solid solution carbon at
1130C, while in the low temperature bcc crystals, the maximum amount of carbon which can be held
in solution is 0,02% at 723C and about 0,002% at ambient temperature.
Thus a steel containing 0,5% carbon, for example, can dissolve all the carbon in the higher temperature fcc crystals but on cooling cannot maintain all the carbon in solution in the bcc crystals. The surplus of carbon reacts with iron to form iron carbide (Fe3C), usually called cementite. Cementite is hard
and brittle compared to pure iron.
The amount of cementite and the distribution of cementite particles in the microstructure is important for
the engineering properties of steel.
The distribution of cementite is highly dependent on the cooling rate. The distribution may be explained
by considering the so-called iron-carbon phase diagram, see Section 3.4.
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3.3 Nomenclature
The following nomenclature is used by the metallurgist:
Ferrite or -Fe

The bcc form of iron in which up to 0,02%C by weight may be


dissolved.

Cementite

Iron carbide Fe3C (which contains about 6,67%C).

Pearlite

The laminar mixture of ferrite and cementite described earlier.


The overall carbon content of the mixture is 0,8% by weight.

Austenite or -Fe

The fcc form of iron which exists at high temperatures and


which can contain up to approximately 2%C by weight.

Steel

Alloys containing less than 2% carbon by weight.

Cast Iron

Alloys containing more than 2% carbon by weight.

Steel used in structures such as bridges, buildings and ships, usually contains between 0,1% and 0,25%
carbon by weight.
3.4 The Iron-Carbon Phase Diagram
The iron-carbon phase diagram is essentially a map. The most important part is shown in Figure 5.
More details are given in Figure 6.

Figure 5 Part of the iron-carbon phase diagram

Any point in the field of the diagram represents a steel containing a particular carbon content at a particular temperature.
The diagram is divided into areas showing the structures that are stable at particular compositions and
temperatures.
The diagram may be used to consider what happens when a steel of 0,5%C is cooled from 1000C (Figure 6).
At 1000C the structure is austenite, i.e. polycrystalline fcc crystals with all the carbon dissolved in them.
No change occurs on cooling until the temperature reaches about 800C. At this temperature, a boundary is crossed from the field labelled Austenite () to the field labelled Ferrite + Austenite (+), i.e.
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Lecture 2.1: Characteristics of Iron-Carbon Alloys

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

some crystals of bcc iron, containing very little carbon, begin to form from the fcc iron. Because the
ferrite contains so little carbon, the carbon left must concentrate in the residual austenite. The carbon
content of the austenite and the relative proportions of ferrite and austenite in the microstructure adjust
themselves to maintain the original overall carbon content.
These quantities may be worked out by considering the expanded part of the iron-carbon diagram shown
in Figure 7. Imagine that the steel has cooled to 750C. The combination of overall carbon content
and temperature is represented by point X.

Figure 6 Iron-carbon phase diagram

Figure 7 Illustration of the Lever rule

All the constituents of the microstructure are at the same temperature. A line of constant temperature
may be drawn through X. It cuts the boundaries of the austenite and ferrite field at F and A. These
intercepts give the carbon contents of ferrite and austenite respectively at the particular temperature.
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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

If, now, the line FA is envisaged as a rigid beam which can rotate about a fulcrum at X, the 'weight' of
austenite hanging at A must balance the 'weight' of ferrite hanging at F. This is the so-called Lever
Rule:
Weight of ferrite FX = Weight of austenite AX
The ratio of ferrite to austenite in the microstructure is then given by:

Thus, as the steel cools, the proportion of ferrite increases and the carbon content of the remaining
austenite increases, until cooling reaches 723C. At this temperature the carbon content of the austenite is 0,8% and it can take no more. Cooling to just below this temperature causes the austenite to
decompose. It decomposes into the lamellar mixture of ferrite and Fe3C identified earlier as pearlite.
The proportions of ferrite and pearlite in the microstructure, say at 722C, are virtually the same as the
proportions of ferrite and austenite immediately before the decomposition at 723C. Thus, referring to
Figure 7 and using the Lever Rule:
Weight of ferrite F X = Weight of pearlite F P
In this case, there should be about twice as much pearlite as ferrite.
For other steels containing less than 0,8%C, the explanation is identical except for the proportions of
pearlite in the microstructure below 723C. This varies approximately linearly with carbon content between zero at 0,02%C and 100% at 0,8%C. A typical mild steel containing 0,2%C would contain about
25% pearlite.
For steels containing a greater percentage of carbon than 0,8%, the structure is fully austenitic on cooling from high temperatures. The first change to occur is the formation of particles of Fe3C from the
austenite. This change reduces the carbon content of the residual austenite. On further cooling, the carbon content of the austenite follows the line of the boundary between the field and + Fe3C field. Once
again, on reaching 723C the carbon content of the austenite is 0,8%. On cooling further, it decomposes
into pearlite as before. Therefore, the final microstructure consists of a few particles of Fe3C embedded
in a mass of pearlite, see Figure 6.

4. COOLING RATE
4.1 Cooling Rate during Austenite to Ferrite Transformation and Grain Size
During cooling of austenite, the new bcc ferrite crystals start to grow from many points. The number
of starting points determines the number of ferrite grains and consequently the grain size. This grain
size is important because the engineering properties are dependent on it. Small grains are favourable. By adding elements like aluminium and niobium, the number of starting points can be increased.
Another important factor is the cooling rate. When cooling is slow, the new ferrite grains develop from
only a few most favourable sites. At high cooling rates, the number of starting points will be much higher
and the grain size smaller. Slides 7 - 9 shows steels with various grain sizes, produced at different finish
rolling temperatures.

Slide 7 Microstructure of pearlite (x1000)


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Lecture 2.1: Characteristics of Iron-Carbon Alloys

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Another important factor is that, when a fine grained steel is heated to a temperature in excess of about
1000C, some of the austenite grains grow while neighbouring grains disappear. This grain growth
occurs during welding in the so-called heat affected zone (HAZ). This is a 3-5 mm wide zone in the plate
adjacent to the molten metal. Microstructural changes in the heat affected zone usually give rise to a
deterioration of the engineering properties of the steel.
4.2 Slowly Cooled Steels
4.2.1 Influence of carbon on the microstructure
The iron-carbon phase diagram in Figures 5 and 6 shows that, for structural steel (between 0,1% and
0,25% carbon), the formation of ferrite starts at about 850C and ends at 723C. It will be remembered that ferrite can contain hardly any carbon. Consequently, the austenite phase transforms to ferrite
and cementite (Fe3C).
When the cooling rate is slow, the carbon atoms have time to migrate to separate layers in the microstructure and to form the structure called pearlite, as shown before in Slides 2, 3, 4 and 5. The ferrite
in this mixture is soft and ductile. The cementite constituent is hard and brittle. The mixture (pearlite)
has properties between these two extremes.
The tensile strength properties of a steel containing both ferrite and pearlite roughly scale according
to the proportions of these constituents in the microstructure as seen in Figure 8.

Figure 8 The effects of carbon content on the pearlite content


and tensile test properties of normalised steels

The dramatic effect of carbon content on toughness is shown in Figure 9. Increasing pearlite content
decreases the upper shelf toughness and increases the ductile-brittle transition temperature.
Figures 8 and 9 illustrate one of the difficulties in the choice of carbon content. Increasing the carbon
content is beneficial in that it improves yield strength and ultimate tensile strength, but is undesirable
in that it reduces ductility and toughness. A high carbon content may also cause problems during welding, see Section 4.3.
In European Norm 10025, Table 3, [3] the chemical composition for flat and long products is given.
An extract is presented in Figure 10. The designation S235 JR, for example, indicates that the yield
strength is at least 235 N/mm2. It is emphasised that the compositional values in the table are maximum
values. Many steelmakers achieve much lower levels, resulting in better ductility, resistance against
brittle fracture, and weldability.
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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Figure 9 Effect of carbon content on the ductile/brittle transition


of normalised steels (after Rinebolt & Harris, 1951)

Designation

C in % max
for product nominal
thickness in mm

According to
EN 10027-1

16

>16
40

>40

Mn
%
max

Si
%
max

P
%
max

S
%
max

N
%
max

S235JR
S235JRG1
S235JRG2
S235JO
S235J2G3
S235J2G4

0,21
0,21
0,19
0,19
0,19
0,19

0,25
0,25
0,19
0,19
0,19
0,19

0,23
0,23
0,19
0,19

1,50
1,50
1,50
1,50
1,50
1,50

0,055
0.055
0,055
0,050
0,045
0,045

0,055
0.055
0,055
0,050
0,045
0,045

0,011
0,009
0,011
0,011
-

S275JR
S275JO
S275J2G3
S275J2G4

0,24
0,21
0,21
0,21

0,24
0,21
0,21
0,21

0,25
0,21
0,21
0,21

1,60
1,60
1,60
1,60

0,055
0,050
0,045
0,045

0,055 0,011
0,050 0,011
0,045
0,045
-

S355JR
S355JO
S355J293
S355J294
S355K293
S355K294

0,27
0,23
0,23
0,23
0,23
0,23

0,27
0,23
0,23
0,23
0,23
0,23

0,27
0,24
0,24
0,24
0,24
0,24

1,70
1,70
1,70
1,70
1,70
1,70

0,60
0,60
0,60
0,60
0,60
0,60

0,055
0,050
0,045
0,045
0,045
0,045

0,055 0,011
0,050 0,011
0,045
0,045
0,045
0,04
-

S185

Figure 10 Part of Table 3 of EN 10025

The lowest carbon content that can be achieved easily on a large scale is about 0,04%. This content is
characteristic of sheet or strip steels intended to be shaped by extensive cold deformation, as in deep
drawing.
Carbon contents of more than 0,25% are used in the wider range of general engineering steels. These
steels are usually put into service in the quenched and tempered state (see below) for a great multiplicity
of purposes in mechanical engineering. High strength bolts for some structural applications would also
be steels of this type.
4.2.2 The need for control of grain size
The mechanical properties of steel are affected by grain size. Slides 8 and 9 show microstructures of two
samples of the same batch of mild steel which have been treated, by methods outlined in Section 4.2.3,
to give different grain sizes. Reduction in grain size improves yield strength but also has a profound
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

effect on the ductile/brittle transition temperature, see Figure 11. Thus, there are several benefits from
the same microstructural charge. This is an unusual circumstance in metallurgy where adjustments to
improve one property often mean a worsening of another and a compromise is necessary. An example
of such compromise relates to carbon content, already discussed above.

Figure 11 Effect of ferrite grain size on the ductile/brittle


transition temperature of mild steel (0,11%) (after Petch, 1959)

Slide 8. Microstructure of typical hot


rolled structural steel containing 0,15%
carbon and showing white ferrite grains
and pearlite colonies (x200)

Slide 9. Refined microstructure of


controlled rolled structural steel containing
0,15% carbon (white ferrite grains and
pearlite colonies (x200)

4.2.3 Grain size control by normalising


In Section 4.2.1 the transformations that can occur when steels are cooled slowly are described. To
form ferrite and pearlite from austenite, the carbon atoms in the steel must change their positions. The
diffusion processes which transport the atoms within the solid occur at rates which depend exponentially on temperature. The rate of cooling also affects these transformations.
If the cooling rate is increased the transformations occur faster. In addition, the diffusional processes
cannot keep up with the falling temperature. Thus, a steel cooled very slowly in a furnace keeps close
to the requirements of the phase diagram. But the same steel, removed from the furnace and allowed
to cool in air, may undercool before completing its sequence of transformations. This more rapid cooling
has two effects. First it tends to increase slightly the proportion of pearlite in the microstructure. Secondly it produces ferrite with a finer grain size and pearlite with finer lamellae. Both of these microstructural changes give higher yield strength and better ductility and toughness. Furnace cooled steels
are known as fully annealed steels. Air cooled steels are known as normalised steels.
Grain size can also be affected by the temperature to which the steel is heated in the austenite range.
The grains of austenite coarsen with time, the rate of coarsening increasing exponentially with temperature. The coarsening is important because the transformation to ferrite and pearlite on cooling starts at
the grain boundaries in the austenite. If the new structures start growing from points which are further
apart in a coarse grained austenite, the grain size of the resulting ferrite is itself coarser. Thus, steels
should not be overheated when austenitising before normalising.
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The temperature to which the steel is heated before cooling in air is usually referred to as the normalising temperature. The requirements of the last paragraph mean that this temperature should be
as low as possible, as long as the structure is single phase austenite. A glance at the phase diagram
of Figure 5 shows that the normalising temperature decreases as the carbon content increases from
zero to 0,8%. It should lie in the hatched band shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12 Part of the iron-carbon phase diagram

4.2.4 Microstructural changes accompanying hot rolling of steels


Structural steel sections are produced by hot rolling ingots or continuously cast strand into the required
forms. The rolling processes have important effects on the development of the microstructure in the materials.
The early stages of rolling are carried out at temperatures well within the austenite range, where the
steel is soft and easily deformed. The deformation suffered by the material breaks up the coarse ascast grain structure but, at these high temperatures, the atoms within the material can diffuse rapidly
which allows the deformed grains to recrystallise and reform the equiaxial polycrystalline structure of
the austenite.
Heavy deformation at low temperatures in the austenite range gives finer recrystallised grains. If the
rolling is finished at a temperature just above the ferrite + austenite region of the equilibrium diagram
and the section is allowed to cool in air, an ordinary normalised microstructure having moderately finegrained ferrite results. Modern controlled rolling techniques aim to do this, or even to roll at still lower
temperatures to give still finer grains.
If the temperature falls so that the rolling is finished in the ferrite + austenite range, the mixture of ferrite
and austenite grains is elongated along the rolling direction and a layer-like structure is developed. If
now, the section is air-cooled, the residual austenite decomposes into fine-grained ferrite and pearlite,
with the later being present as long, cigar shaped, bands in the material, as in Slide 10. Structural steels
are not harmed by microstructures of this sort.
If the finish rolling temperature drops further, to below 723C, the equilibrium diagram shows that the
structure should be a mixture of ferrite and pearlite. Rolling in this range is usually restricted to low
carbon steels containing less than 0,15%C because the presence of pearlite makes rolling difficult.
If the temperature is above about 650C, the ferrite grains recrystallise as they are deformed, as was
the case with austenite. The carbide laths (Fe3C) in the pearlite become broken and give rise to strings
of small carbide particles extending in the direction of rolling, see Slide 11. The ferrite from the pearlite becomes indistinguishable from the rest of the ferrite.
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Slide 10. Microsection through a fillet weld


on structural steel showing three distinct
regions: the coarse grained cast structure
of the weld deposit, the heat affected zone,
and the unaffected microctructure of the
parent steel. (x200)

Slide 11. Macrosection through a butt


weld on hot rolled steel plate, typical of
line pipe weld.

If rolling is done at ambient temperature, the pearlite is broken up in the same way, but the ferrite can
not recrystallise. It work-hardens, i.e. the yield and ultimate tensile strength of the steel increase, and
the ductility decreases, see Figure 13. As cold rolling continues, the force required to continue deformation increases because of the increasing yield strength. Furthermore, the steel becomes less ductile
and may begin to split. The amount of cold rolling that can be done is therefore very much smaller than
that which can be achieved when the steel is hot.

Figure 13 Effects of cold work on tensile properties of steel


(0,13-0,18%C, 0,6-0,9%Mn) and engineering stress-strain curve

Of course, cold working need not be applied by rolling. Any way of deforming the material causes work
hardening. For example, high strength steel wire is made by cold-drawing, imparting large deformations.
In another example, one type of reinforcing bar is made by twisting square section bar into a helical form.
The cold-deformation produced in this way is not large but causes significant work hardening.
To restore the ductility and at the same time reduce the work hardened state of the material, it is necessary to reform the isotropic, polycrystalline structure of the ferrite. Re-heating to temperatures between
about 650C and 723C allows the ferrite to recrystallise. The carbide particles are unaffected by this
treatment.
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Thus, there is another technique for controlling the grain size of steel. The greater the amount of deformation before the recrystallisation treatment and the lower the temperature of the treatment, the finer
is the final grain size. Because this type of treatment does not involve the formation and decomposition
of austenite, it is known as sub-critical annealing. The resulting microstructure has good ductility and
deep drawing characteristics. Sheet steels of low carbon content (<0,1%C) are usually supplied in this
condition. Objects such as motor car body panels are formed from such steels by cold pressing.
If the material is heated into the austenite range, subsequent cooling reforms the normalised microstructure.
4.3 Rapidly Cooled Steels
4.3.1 Formation of martensite and bainite
Normalising causes steels to undercool below the requirements of the phase diagram before the austenite transforms into fine ferrite and pearlite. Still further increases in cooling rate give further undercooling and still finer microstructures.
Very rapid cooling by quenching into cold water, causes the formation of ferrite and pearlite to be suspended. The internal diffusion-controlled rearrangement of atoms needed to form those products cannot
occur sufficiently rapidly. Instead, new products are formed by microstructural shear transformations at
lower temperatures. Very fast cooling gives martensite: its microstructure is shown in Slide 12. When
martensite forms, there is no time for the formation of cementite and the austenite transforms to a
highly distorted form of ferrite which is super saturated with dissolved carbon. The combination of the
lattice distortion and the severe work hardening resulting from the shear deformation processes necessary to achieve the transformation cause martensite to be extremely strong but very brittle.

Slide 12 Longitudinal section of hot rolled structural steel


showing dark bands of pearlite in a ferrite matrix. (x200)

Less rapid cooling can give a product called bainite. This is similar to tempered martensite where much
of the carbon has come out of solution and formed fine needles of cementite which reinforce the ferrite.
4.3.2 Martensite in welded structures
Civil engineering structures are not heat-treated by heating to, say, 900C and quenching into water.
However, there is one important circumstance which can produce martensite in localised parts of the
structure, and that is welding. The weld zone is raised to the melting temperature of the steel and the
immediately adjacent solid metal is heated to temperatures well within the austenite range. When the
heat source is removed, the whole region cools at rates determined mainly be thermal conduction into
the surrounding mass of cold metal. These rates of cooling can be very large, exceeding 1000C per
second in some cases and can produce transformation structures such as martensite and bainite. The
properties of rapidly cooled steels and the influence of carbon content on the nature of the transformation product - ferrite and pearlite, or bainite, or martensite - are discussed below.
Figure 14 shows the hardness of martensite as a function of its carbon content. Reheating martensite
to temperatures up to about 600C causes cementite to precipitate which causes the steel to soften and
become much tougher. This reheating is known as tempering. The extent of these changes increases
as the reheating temperature increases, as shown in Figure 15. Tempering at 600C produces an extremely tough material. What is more, its ductile-brittle transition temperature is lower than for the same
steel in the normalised condition. Bainite has properties similar to those of tempered martensite.
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Figure 14 Effects of carbon content on the hardness of various steel micro-structures

Figure 15 Effects of tempering on the hardness and toughness of martensite (0,4%C)

4.3.3 Quenching and tempering


The process of quenching and tempering, when allied to changes of steel composition, can produce
a bewilderingly wide range of properties. Steels heat-treated in this way are used for a multiplicity of
general engineering purposes which demand hardness, wear resistance, strength and toughness. Once
again, compromises must be struck between these desirable properties but generally quenched and
tempered steels exhibit optimum combinations of strength and toughness. For structural purposes
quenched and tempered plate is used in large storage tanks, hoppers, earthmoving equipment, etc.
Martensite produced in a weld heat-affected zone as a result of single pass welding would be in its hard
and brittle untempered condition. Furthermore, the formation of martensite from austenite is accompanied
by a volume expansion of approximately 0,4%. This expansion, together with the uneven thermal contractions taking place as a result of uneven cooling, can produce local stresses of sufficient magniLecture 2.1: Characteristics of Iron-Carbon Alloys

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tude to crack the martensite. Because this type of cracking occurs after the HAZ has cooled, it is referred to as cold cracking. The cracking problem can be further aggravated if the weld has picked up
hydrogen. Sources of hydrogen during welding might include moisture from the atmosphere or damp
welding electrodes. Hydrogen dissolved in the weld metal diffuses to the hard HAZ where it initiates
cracks at sites of stress concentration. This diffusion can lead to cracking which occurs some time,
even days, after the welding is completed. Hard HAZs of low ductility are less able to cope with this
problem than are softer and more ductile materials. This type of cracking is called delayed cracking
or hydrogen cracking.
Avoidance of cold cracking and hydrogen cracking requires that the material should not be overhardened. As a rule of thumb, as-welded hardnesses of less than about HV = 350 are considered to
be acceptable. In modern fine grain low carbon steels the allowable hardness may be increased to
HV=400 or even HV=450.
The danger of hydrogen cracking may also be present in high strength quenched and tempered steels,
e.g. 10.9 bolts (Re 900 N/mm2 and Rm 1000 N/mm2). When such bolts are electroplated with zinc or
cadmium, hydrogen may be picked up from the plating bath. Usually cracking does not occur until sometime after tightening bolts when the hydrogen has diffused to the sites of stress concentration at the
thread roots.
4.3.4 Control of martensite formation
Martensite forms because ferrite and pearlite did not! If follows that metallurgical factors which promote the formation of ferrite and pearlite inhibit the production of martensite. The ability of a steel to form
martensite rather than ferrite and cementite is called hardenability. Note that this term does not refer
to the absolute value of hardness obtained, but to the ease of formation of martensite.
The most convenient method of assessing hardenability is the so called Jominy end quench. A rodshaped sample is austenitised and then quenched by spraying water onto one end face such that different cooling rates are produced along the length of the bar. Thereafter, a flat is ground along its length
and the hardness measured as a function of distance from the quenched end.
Some typical results are shown in Figure 16 for three different steels. For a carbon steel containing
0,08%C and 0,3%Mn, cooling rates at 700C of greater than about 50C s-1 are necessary to form martensite. On the other hand in the 0,29%C, 1,7%Mn steel, martensite forms at much slower cooling rates.
It is mainly the increased carbon content that causes this difference. In the alloy steel illustrated, martensite is formed even at very slow cooling rates.

Figure 16 Typical Jominy test results

The significance of these curves depends very much on what is being produced. If it is a thicksection gear wheel, the alloy steel would be ideal. It could be cooled gently and still produce martensite, the gentle cooling being an advantage because it would reduce stresses arising from differential
contraction rates, and hence reduce the possibility of quench cracking. Thereafter, it could be tempered to achieve the desired combination of strength and toughness. On the other hand, for a welded
joint, the plain carbon steel would be preferable in which it is difficult to form martensite and the hardness of any martensite produced would be relatively low.
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Welding presents particular problems for the metallurgist. Slide 13 shows a micro section through a
typical structural weld. The micro structures range from the coarse grained cast structure of the weld deposit, to the heat affected zone (HAZ) and to the unaffected microstructure of the parent metal. Both
the deposited weld metal and the HAZ must have adequate strength and toughness after welding.

Slide 13 : Microstructure of martensite (x 500)


For welding, a steel of low hardenability is therefore required. Hardenability is affected by steel composition, including not only carbon content but other alloying elements as well. To take all of these factors
into account, the concept of the carbon equivalent value is used. There are a number of ways of calculating carbon equivalents for use in different circumstances. In the context of welding:
C.E. =
If the CE is lower than about 0,4%, the steel can be welded with little or no trouble from martensite
and HAZ hydrogen cracking. As indicated before, the cooling rate is also an important factor, which
means that during welding, thick plates are more susceptible to hydrogen cracking than thin plates.
To reduce susceptibility to martensite formation, the cooling rate (between 800C and 500C) can be
reduced by preheating the plates before welding.

5. INCLUSIONS
5.1 Sulphur, Phosphorus and Other Impurities
One tonne of steel, a cube with sides of about 0,5m, contains between 1012 and 1015 inclusions which
can occupy up to about 1% of the volume. The total content is largely determined by the origins of the
ores, coke and other materials used to extract the metal in the first place, and by the details of steelmaking practice.
The principal impurities which worry steelmakers are phosphorus and sulphur. If not at very low concentrations, these impurities form particles of phosphide and sulphide which are harmful to the toughness of the steel. Typically, less than 0,05% of each of these elements is demanded. Low phosphorus
contents are relatively easily attained during the refining of the pig iron into steel, but sulphur is more
difficult to remove. It is controlled by careful choice of raw materials and, in modern steelmaking, by extra
processing steps to remove it.
Manganese is always added to steels. It has several functions but the important one in this context is
that it combines with the sulphur to form manganese sulphide (MnS). If the manganese were not
present, iron sulphide would form which is much more harmful than MnS.
Some of the inclusions are too small to be seen with optical microscopes and must be detected by more
elaborate methods. Among this group, which are mainly equiaxial in shape, are nitrides of aluminium
and titanium which are deliberately introduced in order to inhibit the processes which lead to coarsening of grain size.
Other inclusions, large enough to be seen readily with the optical microscope, include entrained particles
of slag, deoxidation products and manganese sulphide. At hot rolling temperatures, these inclusions
are plastic and are elongated in the rolling direction. The result is shown in Figure 1. The properties of
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steels containing such inclusions reflect both the volume of the inclusions and the anisotropy of their
shapes, see Figures 17 and 18.

Figure 17 Effect of sulphur content on toughness of high-strength


low-alloy (HSLA) steel (minRe = 450 Nmm-2)

Figure 18 Effect of orientation on notch toughness


of as-rolled low-carbon steel plate

In recent years, a number of practices have been introduced which aim to reduce the inclusion content
in the molten steel before it is cast into ingots. Sulphur contents of 0,01% or less are now regularly produced. These processes produce what have become known as 'clean steels'. The expression is relative.
Clean steels still contain many inclusions, but are significantly tougher than ordinary steels. Inclusion
shape control is also practised in better quality steels. Additions of calcium or cerium and other rare earth
elements to the refined molten steel combine with the sulphur in preference to the manganese. Sulphides of these elements appear in the final microstructure as equiaxial particles and are not so deleterious to the through-thickness ductility of the material as elongated MnS inclusions. Steels treated in
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

these ways are used in applications where toughness is of paramount importance and where the extra
cost can be justified. Examples include high integrity pressure vessels, oil and gas pipelines and the main
legs of offshore platforms. The introduction of continuous casting has also improved the quality of conventional structural steels.
5.2 Manganese in Structural Steels
It has been noted earlier that the residual sulphur impurity in steel is less harmful when formed into
particles of MnS rather than iron sulphide. The presence of small amounts of manganese in the steel
confers several other benefits. In normalised steels, it tends to increase the amount of undercooling
before the start of the formation of ferrite and pearlite. This gives finer grained ferrite and more finely
divided pearlite. Both of these changes improve strength and reduce the ductile/brittle transition
temperature. The dissolution of the manganese atoms in the ferrite crystals also improves the strength
of the ferrite. These effects on properties are summarised in Figures 19 - 21.

Figure 19 Effect of manganese content on the ductile/britle transition of furnace cooled 0,05%C steels (after
Rees, Hopkins and Tiper 1951)

Figure 20 Effect of manganese on impact properties of normalised 0,3% steel

If the manganese content is increased too much, its effect ceases to be beneficial and can become
harmful because it increases hardenability, i.e. promotes martensite formation. It is for this reason that
a maximum manganese content is specified: For S355 in Table 3 of EN 10025 this maximum is 1,7% by
weight, see Figure 16. A convention has also grown that distinguishes between plain carbon steels, i.e.
steels containing <1%Mn, and carbon manganese steels i.e. >1%Mn.
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Figure 21 Effect of carbon and manganese contents


on ultimate tensile strength of pearlitic steels

6. CONCLUDING SUMMARY
Steels used for structural purposes generally contain up to about 0,25%C, up to 1,5%Mn and

with carbon equivalents of up to 0,4%. They are mostly used in the hot-rolled, normalised or
controlled-rolled conditions, although low carbon steels might be used in the cold-rolled and
annealed condition. Production processes aim to produce low inclusion contents and small
grain size to improve strength, ductility, toughness and reduce the ductile/brittle transition.
The elastic modulus of steel is virtually independent of composition and treatment.
The upper limits on the proportions of carbon and other alloying elements are determined by
the effect of carbon equivalent on weldability, and by the effect of carbon on the ductile/brittle
transition temperature. All steels contain manganese, partly to deal with impurities, such as
sulphur, and partly because its presence has a beneficial effect on the ductile/brittle transition
and strength.
In recent years the development of so-called micro-alloyed steels or HSLA (high strength low
alloy) steels has taken place. These steels are normalised or controlled rolled carbonmanganese steels which have been 'adjusted' by micro-alloying to give higher strength and
toughness, combined with ease of welding. Small additions of aluminium, vanadium, niobium
or other elements are used to help control grain size. Sometimes, about 0,5% molybdenum is
added to refine the lamellar spacing in pearlite and to distribute the pearlite more evenly as
smaller colonies. These steels are used where the improved properties justify the extra cost.

7. REFERENCES
[1] Eurocode 3: 'Design of Steel Structures' ENV 1993-1-1: Part 1.1: General Rules and Rules for
Buildings, CEN, 1992.
[2] Rollason, E. C., 'Metallurgy for Engineers', 4th Edition, Arnold, 1973.
[3] Euronorm 10025

8. ADDITIONAL READING
[1] Honeycombe, R. W. K., 'Steels. Microstructure and Properties'. Arnold.
[2] Knott, J. F., 'The relationship between microstructure and fracture toughness' in 'Steels for line
pipe and pipeline fittings' The Metals Society, London 1981.
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Section 2: APPLIED METALLURGY

Lecture 2.2:
Manufacturing and Forming Process
OBJECTIVE/SCOPE:
Presentation of the most recent steelmaking and rolling technologies.

RELATED LECTURES
Lecture 2.1: Characteristics of Iron-Carbon Alloys
Lecture 2.3.1: Introduction to Engineering Properties of Steels
Lecture 2.3.2: Advanced Engineering Properties of Steels
Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality
Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steels

SUMMARY
The blast furnace process, the oxygen steelmaking process and the electric arc furnace process are
described. Ladle steelmaking and casting technologies are also introduced.
Finally, the different rolling processes and rolling conditions are presented, as well as the usual heat
treatments.

1. STEELMAKING TECHNOLOGY
1.1 Introduction
Steelmaking technology has greatly changed during the last two decades under the pressure of increased demand, new specifications and the need to reduce energy and material consumption. Production efficiency has been improved by increasing the melt capacity of furnaces, implementing online computer control modules, and introducing new technologies, such as the combined blowing
process for LD (Linz Donawitz) converters, the Ultra High Power (UHP) electric furnace, the ladle steelmaking processes and continuous casting.
Steel is produced by two process routes (Figure 1):
The Blast Furnace-Basic Oxygen Converter (BOF)
The Electrical Arc Furnace (EAF)
In both routes the process consists of producing refined iron to which is added the required alloying
elements to produce the finished steel specification.
Their respective shares in crude steel production are 70% (BOF) and 30% (EAF). High production rates
and low impurity steel production give a dominant role to the first process route. Low energy costs and
an ample supply of recycled scrap ensure a competitive market share for the second process route,
especially when using the UHP furnace.
Before casting, the steel can be refined in the ladle by various processes according to the specification with respect to its deoxidation state, inclusion content and level of phosphorus, sulphur, nitrogen
and hydrogen. At the same time, its content of carbon, manganese and micro-alloying elements such
as niobium, vanadium and titanium can be adjusted. This process step is generally referred to as Secondary or Ladle steelmaking.
During the last step of steelmaking, the steel is cast either into slabs, blooms or billets on a continuous casting machine or into ingots, depending on the final product. Flat products and light shapes
are normally produced from continuous cast feedstock; whereas heavy beams and plates are more
likely to follow the ingot route.
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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Figure 1 Steel production processes

1.2 Steel Production


1.2.1 The blast-furnace-basic oxygen converter route
Sintered iron ores are reduced to raw iron in the blast-furnace. The raw iron is then transformed into
crude steel in the oxygen converter. As this operation yields energy, additional scrap is introduced in
order to control temperature.
Sinter plant
The iron feedstock of the blast furnace is the sinter, which is produced in the sinter plant. In the sinter
process, a mix of iron ore fines, lime and coke (almost pure carbon) is charged in a 45 cm thick layer
onto a moving conveyor (Dwight Lloyd process) and partially melted to form a porous mixture of iron
oxides and gangue. Coke consumption is about 50 kg/t sinter product.
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Blast furnace process (Figure 2)

Figure 2 Blast-furnace process

The blast-furnace is a shaft type furnace operating by the counterflow technique: the descending burden
of sinter and coke, charged from the top of the furnace, is heated and reduced by the combustion gases
ascending from the tuyere zone where a hot air blast is injected to burn C to CO. The air blast is
compressed by a blower and heated in special stoves to 1100C by combustion of the cleaned furnace
exhaust gases.
The iron oxides (FeO, Fe2O3) and some of the elements present in the gangue of the sinter are reduced
by CO gases to produce hot metal.
The blast furnace flue dust containing about 40% Fe is recycled by the sinter process.
The high permeability of the sinter and the even distribution of the charge produced by revolving chutes
help to improve productivity of the blast furnace. Coke consumption can be reduced to 470 kg/t of hot
metal. The use of tuyere injectant such as powdered fuel (120 kg/t) or oil (60 kg/t) further reduces the
coke consumption of the furnace and so the cost.
Below the tuyere zone, where the temperature is highest, the molten material collects on the furnace
hearth where the liquid iron (pig iron) separates from the slag by difference in density. The slag and
liquid pig iron are tapped from separate tapholes. The tapped slag is granulated by water jets and
removed for use in other products including road construction materials, fertilizers, etc. The liquid pig
iron (hot metal) is tapped into ladles or torpedo cars (capacity: 300 - 400 t) and conveyed to the steel
plant for refinement and conversion into steel.
A typical analysis of the hot metal produced at a temperature of 1400C is:
4,7% carbon (C); 0,5% manganese (Mn); 0,4% silicon (Si); 0,1% phosphorus (P) and 0,04 % sulphur
(S), the remainder being iron (Fe).
Sulphur removal from the melt needs low oxygen activities. Desulphurization is therefore achieved in
the hot metal by injection of calcium carbide fluxes to form calcium sulphide (CaS) or fluxes containing
metallic magnesium to form MgS and CaS.
The oxygen steelmaking process (Figure 3)
The basic oxygen furnace or LD converter (originating from the Linz-Donawitz process started in 1956)
is based on oxygen injection by a lance into the melt of hot metal. Scrap and lime are charged into the
converter to cool the melt and remove phosphorus, silicon and manganese.
The converter is lined with dolomite or magnesite refractory which best resists erosion by slag and heat
during oxygen blowing. The life of a converter lining is about 800 to 1400 heats.
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The oxygen burns out the carbon as carbon monoxide CO and carbon dioxide CO2 which is collected
in the chimney stack and cleaned of its dust (Fe203, and lime particles, etc.). The elements Mn, Si and
P are oxidized and combine with lime (CaO) and FeO formed by the oxidation of Fe to form a molten slag.
As these oxidation reactions are highly exothermic, the process needs cooling in order to control the
temperature of the melt. This cooling is done by charging scrap (recycled plant and mill scrap) and
by adding iron ore during the blowing process.

Figure 3 Basic oxygen converter

The oxygen blowing takes 15 to 20 minutes, regardless of the size of the converter (70 to 400 t) because
the oxygen flow rate of the lance is adjusted to the melt weight. The charging and discharging of steel
and slag, including sampling for temperature and analysis of the melt, extends the tap to tap time of a
converter to 40 - 60 minutes. The process is characterized by high productivity and steel of low impurity
content.
The steel is tapped to the ladle through a taphole by tilting the furnace. During this operation ferro-alloys
for control of the steel composition are added to the ladle. The oxidized slag containing 12 to 16% of Fe
is poured into a cast iron slag pot after the tapping and is disposed of in a slag yard.
A major development in the oxygen lance blowing technique, known as Lance Bubbling Equilibrium (LBE)
was developed in the mid-seventies and has been widely adopted. Neutral gas, typically argon, is injected through permeable elements in the bottom of the converter, stirring the melt and slag. This significantly increases metallurgical efficiency (lower Fe losses and lower P content), productivity, and the
heat and mass-balance of the process (cost reduction).
1.2.2 The electric arc furnace route (Figure 4)
Technology
In the electric arc furnace process, the cold metallic charge, mainly scrap, is melted by the energy of
electric arcs generated between the tips of graphite electrodes and the conductive metallic charge.
The three electrodes and the furnace roof are raised and swung away from the furnace shell to allow
the charging of scrap. The electrodes maintain the arc in accordance with the voltage and current level
selected to produce the desired power input at the desired arc length for melting and refining. As the
noise generated by the arcs is high during the melt-in-period, with levels up to 120 dBA, special protection is provided to the operators cabin and the furnace has a special enclosure.
The three phase alternating current is supplied by the low voltage side (300 - 700V) of a high power
transformer. The nominal transformer rating, expressed as KVA/t, extends from 300 to 500 KVA/t for high
power furnaces and from 500 KVA/t upwards for Ultra High Power (UHP) furnaces. These furnaces have
an inner diameter of 6 to 9 metres with a capacity of 100 to 200 tons of steel. The tap-to-tap time for
these furnaces is 90 to 110 minutes.
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The traditional role of the EAF process is producing alloy, tool and carbon steels, and it has been extended by the UHP furnace to mass steel production. Thus, the concept of the Mini-Mill was born. As
the size and productivity of the furnace increased, the operation of continuous casting for billet and
bloom production became possible. Flat products specification, however, require low residual impurity
levels and even higher production rates which cannot be satisfied by the UHP-furnace.

Figure 4 Electric arc furnace

The share of steel production produced by electric arc furnace is about 30%, at which level it seems to
be stabilized as scrap of acceptable quality becomes more scarce. Pellets and sponge iron of higher
price have to be used for critical steel grades to control the level of injurious elements, i.e. copper, nickel,
tin, etc.
Metallurgy
The traditional high power furnace produces high quality carbon and alloy steels by the two slag
technique. After melt down of the scrap charge, a first oxidizing slag removes the elements P and Si
and reduces carbon to the required level. After deslagging, a second basic reducing slag is formed to
lower the sulphur and oxygen contents and the steel composition is adjusted by ferro alloy additions.
The UHP furnace operates with only a lime based oxidizing slag. The melt down of the scrap charge
is accelerated by the use of oxy-fuel burners positioned to reach the cold spots of the large hearth
furnace. Oxygen lancing and carbon additions are used to make a foaming slag which yields better
energy input from the arcs and improves dephosphorization. After this period, the melt is discharged
by a taphole. Deoxidation and refining under reducing slag takes place in the steel ladle (secondary
steelmaking). The 100% scrap charge makes the process more vulnerable to injurious tramp elements,
such as copper, nickel and tin which cannot be removed by the process, their stability being higher than
that of iron. To control these tramp elements, it is of great importance to identify the sources of the
incoming scrap and to make provision to keep the different qualities separate.
1.3 Secondary or Ladle Steelmaking
1.3.1 General Aspects
Achieving the required properties of steel often requires a high degree of control over carbon, phosphorus, sulphur, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen contents. Individually or in combination, these elements
mainly determine material properties such as formability, strength, toughness, weldability, and corrosion
behaviour.
There are limits to the metallurgical treatments that can be given to molten metal in high performance
melting units, such as converters or electric arc furnaces. The nitrogen and phosphorus content can be
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reduced to low levels in the converter but very low carbon, sulphur, oxygen and hydrogen contents
(<2 ppm) can only be obtained by subsequent ladle treatment. To ensure appropriate conditioning of
steel before the casting process, the alloying of steel to target analysis and special refining treatments
are carried out at the ladle metallurgy stand.
The objectives of ladle steelmaking can be summarized as follows:
refining and deoxidation
removal of deoxidation products (Mn0, SiO2, Al2O3)
desulphurization to very low levels (< 0,008%)
homogenisation of steel composition
temperature adjustment for casting, if necessary by reheating (ladle furnace)
hydrogen removal to very low levels by vacuum treatment.
1.3.2 Ladle Steelmaking Process: Deoxidation and Refining (Figure 5)

Figure 5 Ladle steelmaking processes

The high oxygen content of the converter steel would result in large blow-hole formation during solidification. Removal of the excess oxygen (killing) is therefore vital before subsequent casting of the steel.
Steels treated in this way are described as killed steels. All secondary steelmaking processes allow deoxidising agents to be added to the ladle so that deoxidation in the converter vessel is not necessary.
Deoxidation can be performed by the following elements classified by increasing deoxidation capacity:
carbon - manganese - silicon - aluminium - titanium. The most popular are silicon and aluminium.
After addition, time must be allowed for the reaction to occur and for homogeneity to be achieved before
determination of the final oxygen content using EMF probes (electro-chemical probe for soluble oxygen
content).
As most of these deoxidation agents form insoluble oxides, which would result in detrimental inclusions
in the solid steel, they have to be removed by one of the following processes during the subsequent refining stage:
1. Argon stirring and/or injection of reactants (CaSi, and/or lime based fluxes) achieves:
homogeneous steel composition and temperature
removal of deoxidation products
desulphurization of aluminium-killed steel grades
sulphide inclusion shape control.
2. Ladle furnace
Stirring of the melt by argon or by an inductive stirring equipment and arc heating of the melt (low
electric power, typical 200 KVA/t) allows:
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

long treatment times


high ferro-alloy additions
high degree of removal of deoxidation products due to long treatment under optimized
conditions
homogeneous steel composition and temperature
desulphurization, if vigorous stirring by argon.
3. Vacuum-Treatment: RH process (Ruhrstahl-Heraeus) and tank degassing unit.
In the RH process the steel is sucked from the ladle by gas injection into one leg of the vacuum
chamber and the treated steel flows back to the ladle through the second leg. In the tank degasser process, the steel ladle is placed in a vacuum tank and the steel melt is vigorously stirred
by argon injected through porous plugs in the bottom of the ladle.
Vacuum treatment achieves:
reduction of the hydrogen content to less than 2 ppm
considerable decarburization of steel to less than 30 ppm when oxygen is blown by a lance
(RH - OB)
alloying under vacuum
homogeneous steel composition, high degree of cleanness from deoxidation products
High temperature losses (50 - 100C) are a disadvantage, therefore high superheat of the melt prior
to this process is essential.
For most secondary steelmaking techniques it is either desirable or essential to stir the liquid steel.
Gentle stirring is sufficient for inclusion removal; non-metallic inclusions are brought into contact with
liquid slag on top of the melt where they can be fixed. For degassing and desulphurization however,
violent stirring is necessary to increase the surface of steel exposed to vacuum (H-removal) or to mix
the steel and slag for good desulphurization efficiency.
1.4 Casting and Solidification
1.4.1 General Aspects
For solidification, steel is cast into moulds either of cast iron for the ingot casting route or into copper
moulds for the continuous casting process.
The heat of liquid steel is extracted by the cold mould surface so that crystals can form and grow. A
solid shell is formed and solidification progresses by maintaining the cooling.
During solidification, the density of metals rises and causes shrinkage. This favours the stripping of
the cast from the mould. However, this contraction also causes internal shrinkage which tends to
leave a hollow core in the cast product. In continuous casting this is prevented by the continuous flow
of molten metal to the mould. For ingot casting an adequate liquid metal pool has to be maintained at
the head of the mould by the provision of exothermic material (hot-top).
A second concern during the solidification process is segregation due to the fact that some solute
elements have a much lower solubility in the solid than in the liquid phase. The segregation tendency is
most pronounced for sulphur, phosphorus, oxygen and hydrogen. As has been described, these elements can be controlled to sufficiently low levels by the metallurgical process steps. The manganese
content of steel also combines with sulphur to form manganese sulphide inclusions which are elongated during rolling and become detrimental to steel properties if significant stresses are applied perpendicular to the rolling direction. For such applications, shape and content of the sulphide inclusions
have to be controlled closely during the refining stage.
1.4.2 Casting Technologies
1.4.2.1 Ingot casting (Figure 6)
The casting of ingots is a discontinuous process in which the ingot moulds are filled individually by top
pouring or in batches by a central feeder through runners in the base plate. This up-hill teeming technique is characterized by a low rising speed of the steel in the mould, which reduces cracks and surface
defects when casting critical steel grades.
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The teeming operation is done directly from the steel ladle through a sliding gate valve at the bottom that
regulates the steel flow, and a nozzle that gives a concentric steel jet.
The ingot weights and sections are fixed by the capacity of the primary rolling mill. The ingot size may
vary from 4 to 30 t, or even higher for forging.

Figure 6 Ingot casting

The ingot remains in the mould until solidification is complete. Then the mould is stripped off by crane
and left to cool in the mould yard. The ingot is charged into the soaking pit furnace to equalize and
raise the temperature for the rolling process (1300C).
The solidification of an ingot progresses from the bottom (cooled by the base plate and the mould) to
the top of the ingot.
In the case of a fully killed (Si + Al) steel melt, with a low free oxygen content, the solidification shrinkage is concentrated at the upper centre of the ingot. To minimise the development of shrinkage porosity
in this region, the top of the ingot is insulated (hot top) to provide a reservoir of liquid metal to fill up the
hollow core. The hot top is subsequently cropped. This scrap amounts to approximately 12% of the ingot
weight.
By deoxidation with silicon alone, the free oxygen content of the melt can be set to a well defined level
so that towards the end of solidification it will react with the carbon of the melt to form CO gas. The formation of these small gas bubbles, or blow holes, compensates for the shrinkage of steel and top crop
losses are small (2%). The blow-holes are eliminated during primary rolling. Such steels are referred to
as 'balanced' steels.
Ingot casting is very flexible as regards product specifications and the production of small orders on
relatively short delivery terms. It is also indispensable for the forming of heavy shaped profiles like
beams, heavy plate or heavy forging pieces.
1.4.2.2 Continuous casting (Figure 7)
The continuous casting process has become the major casting technology for steel plants. The reasons
are:
yield improvement
energy conservation (direct production of semi-finished products)
savings in manpower.
The ratio of continuous cast steel has reached 80 - 90% of total raw steel production in the Western
World. The advent and rapid growth of mini-mills could not have occurred without continuous billet casting technology.
The essential feature of the continuous casting process is the oscillating water-cooled copper mould.
The main function of this mould is to form a solidified steel shell having sufficient strength to prevent
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breakouts below the mould. This is achieved by the high heat extraction in the mould system. The mould
walls are tapered to accommodate the strand shrinkage over the mould length of 700 mm and to
maintain a high heat flux.

Figure 7 Continuous casting

The oscillation creates a relative movement between strand and mould, and prevents metal sticking to the
mould surface. Stripping is facilitated by providing an adequate lubricant (casting powders or oil) at the
steel meniscus. This lubricant is also essential to maintain a high heat extraction and prevent breakouts.
On leaving the mould, the strand is cooled by water sprays and is supported by rolls to prevent bulging
until solidification is complete. Strand sections cover the range of semi-finished products, such as billets,
blooms or slabs, for the hot finishing mills. Depending on the section to be cast, a continuous caster is
laid out with two (slab), four (bloom or round caster) or six strands (for billets below 180 mm2 in size).
Modern casters are curved type machines which are cheaper and easier to accommodate in the plant
than the original vertical machines. The curved strand is straightened by rollers after complete solidification and cut to the required length for further processing in the rolling mills.
Continuous casting technology makes the process continuous so that a number of molten steel batches
are cast in sequence. To achieve a continuous supply of steel to the mould, the steel in the ladle is first
cast into a tundish which acts as a reservoir during ladle changing and distributes the steel to the different moulds of the machine. Tundishes are equipped with stoppers or sliding gates to regulate the flow
rate to the casting speed of the strand. To prevent oxidation by air exposure, the ladle and tundish streams
are shrouded by refactory tubes.

2. FORMING TECHNOLOGY AND HEAT TREATMENTS


2.1 Introduction
There are various methods of forming steel into finished products, including hot forging, hot and cold
rolling, seamless tube making and welded tube making. The most widely used process is hot rolling,
which accounts for over 90% of all steel production.
2.2 Hot Rolling
2.2.1 Description of the Rolling Operation
Hot rolling involves reheating of ingots, slabs, blooms or billets to the region of 1200 - 1300C and
passing the material between two rolls (Figure 8). The piece of steel may be passed repeatedly back
and forth through the same rolls with the roll gap being reduced progressively.
This operation is done in the hot state because the yield strength of steel decreases as temperature
rises. Large deformations can thus be obtained with modest roll forces. It is necessary to control both
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the total reduction, which defines the degree to which the steel is worked, and the reduction in each
pass in order to avoid excessive deformation leading to metal cracking or breakage.
The number of passes depends upon the input material and the size of the finished product; it can be
as high as 70 before the material becomes too cold to roll down further. Plain barrel rolls are used for
flat products such as plate, strip and sheet, while grooved rolls are used for structural sections, rails,
rounds, squares, beams, sheet piles, etc.

Figure 8 Hot rolling process (schematic)

The basic rolling unit is called a stand and consists of the rolls and a support structure (housing). The
rolling mill comprises the stand or group of stands, complete with auxiliary facilities for control and regulation, such as roll drive motors, roller tables for entering and removing the metal, shears, scarfers, etc.
The simplest type of mill consists of a two-high stand. Generally, the two rolls can turn in both directions, which permits reversible operation such that the hot metal is passed repeatedly through the mill
in opposite directions achieving progressive reduction in thickness.

Figure 9 Principal product routes


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When large reductions are required, four-high stands are used to achieve the required high roll forces.
The cylindrical work rolls, through which the hot metal passes, are of relatively small diameter and are
supported above and below by a second set of larger diameter backing rolls that transmit the force to
the work rolls. A four-high stand may also be reversible.
The reduction in thickness of the hot material results in both length increase and sideways spread. The
spreading, which depends mainly upon the amount of reduction, temperature, and roll diameter, must
be controlled to give the correct dimensions and cross-section. Universal Mills have a set of vertical rolls
at the delivery side of the horizontal rolls. In parallel face beam mills, they serve to provide a good dimensional finish to the final product and, in flat product mills, to edge the plates, improving finish and mechanical characteristics.
In addition to its function of shaping the steel into the required size, hot rolling improves the mechanical properties. Correct control of the cast steel chemical composition, final rolling temperature and
amount of material reduction is necessary to give products the required physical properties. For certain
steel qualities (e.g. high strength with good impact properties at low temperatures) controlled rolling
or the QST process of quenching and self-tempering of the material during rolling is employed. This
process involves either delaying or cooling until a specified lower temperature is reached before the
final passes through the mill.
The main product routes for structural steel grades are summarized in Figure 9.
2.2.2 Primary Rolling
The first hot-rolling operation is to convert ingots into the basic shapes shown in Figure 10. This is generally carried out on a large single-stand, two-high reversing mill, known as a primary or roughing mill.
In between the steelmaking plant and the primary mill there is a bay for stripping moulds from the ingots
and a battery of soaking pits. Each pit may hold up to 150 tons of ingots and serves to bring the ingots up
to a uniform temperature for rolling and to act as a reservoir to accommodate fluctuations in the flow of
ingots. Normal practice is to charge ingots into the soaking pits immediately after stripping from the moulds
whilst they are still hot. Soaking pit temperatures are generally controlled at 1300C.

Figure 10 Basic shapes in relative proportion

Primary mills are equipped with manipulators for positioning and turning the ingots to enable work to
be done on each face as rolling proceeds. Roll grooves (Figure 11) are arranged to enable a variety
of basic shapes to be made. Leaving the primary mill, the ends of the bar must be removed (cropping),
as they have an irregular shape and this zone concentrates segregation, piping and other defects. The
amount to be cropped varies depending on the type of steel (rimmed, killed, etc), the type of casting
(direct, bottom casting, hot topping, etc.) and above all on the quality of the finished product.
The bar or beam blank, after cropping, is fed in some cases is directly for rolling into another mill to
produce billets or finished sections such as rails or structural sections. More usually the bar is sheared
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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

to a set length and passed into stock to be inspected and conditioned, prior to reheating and rolling into
finished products at other mills.
Primary mill outputs typically range from 500.000 tonnes to 5 million tonnes per year.

Figure 11 Primary mill rolls for slabs and blooms

2.2.3 Finish Rolling


The finish rolling of products for construction work divides broadly into four groups: plates, structural
sections, merchant bar and strip. Structural sections comprise standard shapes, e.g. beams, channels,
angles, bulb flats, and special sections. As a general rule, large sections are rolled directly from ingots,
intermediate-size ones from reheated blooms, and small sections from reheated billets. In all cases the
process begins with roughing down, in which the initial square or rectangular cross-section is gradually
shaped in successive roll passes into an outline of the required product. This process is followed by finish
rolling in successive passes to give the final standard shape and dimensions after cooling. Finishing mill
rolling temperatures are usually in the region of 900 - 1000C. An example of the pass sequence for
angle rolling is given in Figure 12. The rather more specialized method for universal beams and columns
is shown in Figure 13. Subject to mill size and type, section mill outputs are typically from 200.000 to
1 million tons per year.

Figure 12 Pass sequence for angles

Merchant bar is a traditional term for small cross-sections such as rounds, squares, hexagons, flats, etc.
which are rolled from reheated billets from continuous in-line mills with as many as 23 rolling stands.
Feedstock is generally 100 mm square billet and pass sequences are of a square, diamond, or oval type,
culminating at the last mill stand with the finished cross-section.
The production of hot-rolled strip is, in many aspects, an extension of plate rolling, with thicknesses in
the range of 2-16 mm and widths up to 2 m. Modern mills are fully instrumented and computer-controlled to give a high standard of dimensional accuracy and finished properties.
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Figure 13 Sequence of operations for universal beams

2.2.4 Hot Rolling Processes


These processes can be divided into two basic groups, traditional hot rolling and controlled rolling. In
traditional hot rolling, the object is to produce the required shape with the minimum number of roll
passes. In controlled rolling, the objective is to increase the strength and toughness of the steel by careful control of temperature and deformation during rolling.
Hot rolling
In traditional hot rolling, temperatures are kept to a maximum so as to reduce the hot strength of the
steel and allow large reductions in each roll pass. Because of the high temperature, rapid recrystallization and grain growth occurs between consecutive passes and consequently no grain refinement is
achieved. Today, this process is only used for primary reduction and for low-quality steels where there
are no specific requirements for strength and resistance against brittle fracture.
Controlled rolling
In the 1960's and 1970's, new application fields, such as nuclear power stations and offshore platforms,
demanded structural steel components having improved properties and higher reliability than had been
previously available. For North Sea offshore structures, erected in hostile environments including deep
waters, severe storms and low service temperatures, not only was strength important, but so was
resistance to brittle fracture. Attention was also focused on fabrication properties; easy weldability of
steel components under difficult conditions had to be guaranteed. At that time, it became clear that the
traditional hot rolling process was unlikely to achieve these requirements and so new production technologies, such as controlled rolling, appeared.
Controlled rolling is a generic term for rolling procedures in which the temperature and deformation during
rolling are controlled to achieve desired material properties.
Controlled rolling includes:
Normalizing rolling (N).
Thermomechanical controlled rolling (TMCR). This procedure includes the following processes
which employ increased cooling rates, with or without tempering:
- Accelerated cooling
- Quenching and Self-Tempering
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Normalizing Rolling
Normalizing rolling is a thermo-mechanical treatment during which the final deformation is carried out
in the normalizing temperature range ( 950C). The austenite phase completely re-crystallises between
passes but, because of the reduced temperature, does not experience grain growth. Consequently, after
the final pass, air cooling produces a material condition equivalent to that obtained after normalizing. The
abbreviated designation of this delivery condition is N.
Normalizing rolling can be performed on nearly all mills because the final rolling takes place at relatively
high temperatures ( 950C) such that the power and load capacity of the rolling mill is not exceeded.
Thermo-mechanical Controlled Rolling
Thermo-mechanical Controlled Rolling (TMCR) is a thermomechanical treatment in which the final
deformation is carried out in a temperature range where austenite does not recrystallise significantly.
On subsequent cooling, the deformed austenite grain structure leads to a final fine grain ferrite-pearlite
microstructure. Usually, the final forming takes place at temperatures just above that at which austenite
begins to transform into ferrite. Thermomechanical controlled rolling leads to a material condition which
cannot be achieved by heat treatment alone. The resulting grain refined steel shows very desirable
toughness properties down to low temperatures for a medium range of product thicknesses and yield
strengths.
For several years there has been an increased demand for rolled steel products with yield strengths up
to 500 N/mm2 and in large thicknesses, combined with improved fabrication properties. As TMCR cannot
be exploited any further because the mechanical power of the rolling mills is limited, new production
technologies have had to be introduced.
Accelerated Cooling
Accelerated (water) cooling is performed after the final deformation in order to improve mechanical
properties by refining the microstructure. This process has a positive influence on strength as well as
on toughness properties and allows the alloy content to be lowered compared to TMCR alone. The
microstructure of accelerated cooled steels consists mainly of fine-grained ferrite + pearlite and ferrite
+ bainite, showing low ductile to brittle transition temperatures, i.e. good toughness.
Quenching and Self-tempering
In the Quenching and Self-Tempering (QST) process, intense waterspray cooling is applied to the
surface of the product after the last rolling pass, so that the skin is quenched. Cooling is interrupted
before the core is affected by quenching and the outer layers are then tempered by the heat flow from
the core to the surface during a temperature equalization phase. The QST process has resulted in the
creation of a new generation of steel products with high yield strengths up to 500 N/mm2 and excellent
low temperature toughness properties, which are weldable without preheating. Such steels offer important advantages in terms of weight savings and fabrication costs compared to conventionally produced
grades.
Influence of rolling conditions on mechanical properties of the steel
The dominant mechanical properties of steel are tensile properties, i.e. yield strength, tensile strength
and elongation, and toughness or resistance against brittle fracture. Both properties can be influenced
to a large degree by the applied rolling conditions which determine the final grain size and structure
(ferrite/pearlite or tempered martensite/bainite).
The main parameters which influence the microstructure and properties are as follows:
the finish rolling temperature, combined with the deformation rate per pass, influences the grain
size of the finished product: fine grain results if this temperature is situated in the non-recrystallising region (TMCR process) and coarse grain if the rolling temperature is above that
region (Hot rolling)
the cooling rate of the finished product immediately after the last rolling pass decides its structure
and grain size. Three different types of cooling can be distinguished:
- slow (air) cooling at a rate of less than 1C/s has little influence on mechanical properties:
grain size and structure are determined by the preceding rolling
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- accelerated (water) cooling at a rate higher than 1C/s but not high enough to quench the
product to form martensite. This process produces a further refinement of the grain size of
the ferrite/pearlite structure, substantially improving toughness and increasing tensile
properties
- quenching and self-tempering (QST), which produces tempered martensite in the surface
layers and a fine-grained bainite/ferrite/pearlite structure in the core area. This process
increases tensile strength by 120 to 150 N/mm2 relative to the untreated state and
substantially improves toughness.
Depending on the rolling process, the chemical composition of the steel has to be adjusted to obtain the
different steel grades. Figure 14 shows, in terms of carbon equivalent, the alloy content of the steel
necessary to reach yield strengths of 255 to 500 N/mm2 for product thicknesses up to 140 mm. The
traditional hot rolling process demands not only the highest alloy contents but it is also not able to
cover the whole range of product thicknesses. A lower alloy content and practically the whole range of
product thicknesses can be obtained by combining TMCR rolling and accelerated cooling. The lowest
alloy content, as well as the full range of modern structural steel products, can be obtained by a combination of TMCR rolling and quenching and self-tempering (QST). By this process route it is not only
possible to produce high strength steels in a most economic way but these steels also have excellent
weldability due to their low alloy content.

Figure 14 Carbon equivalent (CE) and obtainable


yield strength (Re) by different rolling processes

Concerning toughness or resistance to brittle fracture, the poorest characteristics are obtained by
traditional hot rolling, which produces steels with ductile to brittle transition temperatures limited to 0C
and higher. Such material characteristics are inadequate for many applications in modern steel construction, especially in cases of larger product thicknesses and higher yield strengths. By combining
TMCR rolling with accelerated cooling or with quenching and self-tempering, it is now possible to fulfil
these demands. With the accelerated cooling route, and especially the TMCR/QST route, steel can be
produced with yield strengths up to 500 N/mm2 and transition temperatures lower than -60C. These
characteristics are sufficient to cover the most stringent specifications arising from high technology
areas such as the offshore industry or high-rise building construction.

3. CONCLUDING SUMMARY
Steel production involves the refining of molten iron, the removal of impurities and the

addition of alloying elements.


The process may take place in an oxygen converter, yielding low impurity steel from molten

iron (derived mainly from iron ore) at high rates of productivity. Alternatively, electric arc
furnaces may be used to process scrap steel.
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Further refinement of the steel to achieve the required composition is carried out in the

secondary or ladle steelmaking unit by the addition of appropriate elements and removal of
unwanted products.
Molten steel is solidified using either continuous casting into semi-finished products or by
casting ingots.
Structural steel products are most commonly manufactured by hot rolling - squeezing the
steel between rollers to achieve the required cross-section shape.
Cold rolling produces a wide range of thin steel products, often with surface coatings, that
have good surface quality and forming qualities.
Special techniques are required for the manufacture of structural hollow sections.
By controlling the temperature regime during rolling, improved steel characteristics can be
obtained.

4. ADDITIONAL READING
[1] The Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel Edited by Harold E McGannon USS (United States
Steel) 10th Edition Published 1985.
[2] Brockenbrough, R. L., Metallurgy Chapter 1.1 Constructional Steel Design, an International
Guide, 1992.
[3] Alexander, W., Metals in the Service of Man, Penguin Books, London, 1989.
[4] Tamura, I, Theromechanical Processing of High Strength Low Alloy Steels, Butterworths, 1988.

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Section 2: APPLIED METALURGY

Lecture 2.3.1:
Introduction to the Engineering Properties of Steels
OBJECTIVE/SCOPE:
To present the essential engineering properties of structural steels, introducing their principal metallurgical characteristics.

PREREQUISITES
None

RELATED LECTURES
Lecture 2.1: Characteristics of Iron-Carbon Alloys
Lecture 2.2: Manufacturing and Forming Processes

SUMMARY
This lecture provides a brief introduction to the crystalline nature of metals and the structure-sensitivity of the material properties. It explains the effect of dislocations on mechanical strength and demonstrates the use of the tensile stress/strain curve as the main means of characterizing strength. It introduces the concept of Poisson's ratio, multi-axial stress states, strain hardening and the influences of
temperature and strain rate. It describes the metallurgical and mechanical means of improving strength.
It introduces the concept of hardness.

1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 Nature of Metals
Metallic bonding is a consequence of the metal atoms giving up valence electrons to a 'free electron
gas'. Metallic structures at the atomic level are then envisaged as almost close-packed arrays of metal
ions surrounded by the electron gas. The bonding is, in most cases, non-directional. As a conesquence the common metallic crystal structures are face-centred cubic, e.g. Cu, Al, Ni, or body-centred
cubic, e.g. Fe. (Some metals exist with a hexagonal close-packed structure, e.g. Zn, Cd, but these are
not commonly used for structural applications.)
Metals (and alloys) with cubic structures exhibit four characteristic metallic properties, namely:
good ductility (or malleability).
high thermal conductivity.
high electrical conductivity.
metallic lustre.
Ductility is a consequence of the lack of directionality in the bonding of the atoms and the close-packed
nature of the crystal structures which normally allows profuse crystallographic slip to occur under stress.
The non-directionality in the bonding also allows thermal vibrations to be readily transmitted from one
vibrating atom to its neighbours, hence the high thermal conductivity. The existence of free electrons
provides for high electrical conductivity. These free electrons are also responsible for metallic lustre
since incident light of a wide range of wavelengths can be readily absorbed and re-radiated.
1.2 Structure-Sensitive and Structure-Insensitive Properties
Before embarking on an examination of the properties of interest, the meaning of structure-sensitivity
and structure-insensitivity, in the context of material properties, must be clarified.
Structure-insensitive properties are those which are not influenced significantly by changes in microstructure or macro-structure. It is recognised that many of the physical properties of a material, e.g.
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elastic modulus, bulk density, specific heat, and coefficient of thermal expansion, do not vary other than
by small amounts from specimen to specimen of a given material, even if the different specimens have
been subjected to very different working and/or heat treatment processes. This insensivity is present
despite the fact that these processes may have produced quite substantial microstructural and macrostructural modifications. On the other hand most of the mechanical properties are very dependent on
these modifications. Thus, for instance, the yield strength, ductility and fracture strength are seen to be
structure-sensitive.

2. STRENGTH
2.1 Dislocations and Plastic Deformation
For an understanding of the mechanical behaviour of metals, it is necessary to consider both elastic and
plastic deformation. Elastic deformation is reversible, i.e. deformation lasts only as long as load is
applied. Hooke's laws connect elastic strain with stress as follows:
=E.
=G.
where
and are the uniaxial stress and strain respectively
and are the shear stress and shear strain.
E is the Young's modulus (210000 N/mm2)
G is the shear modulus (80000 N/mm2)
Response of a simple lattice to shear loading is shown in Figure 1. Initially the response is elastic, Figure 1(b), i.e. when the load is removed all the deformation is recovered. Beyond a limiting stress known
as the yield stress, the deformation becomes elastic-plastic, Figure 1(c); when the load is removed only
the elastic deformation reverses and the plastic deformation remains, Figure 1(d). This figure shows that
crystallographic planes have moved against each other. Simple equations for plastic deformation (corresponding to Hooke's law for elastic deformation) do not exist.

Figure 1 Elastic and plastic deformation

Theoretical estimates of the critical shear stress required to move a crystallographic plane one slip unit
give crit ~ G/(2). Measurements show that the highest strength steels attain approximately 10% of the
theoretical strength. However structural steels have strengths which are two orders of magnitude
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less than the theoretical value. Therefore, there must be a mechanism which facilitates the slipping of
crystallographic planes. This mechanism is the presence of lattice defects called dislocations. Figure
2 shows an example of a simple dislocation. During plastic deformation, a dislocation moves through
the atomic lattice within the crystal, Figure 3.

Figure 2 Dislocation in crystal lattice

Figure 3 Movement of a dislocation through a crystal lattice

A simple analogy for dislocation motion is to consider a carpet containing a ruck. By applying a small
force to the ruck, it can be moved over the length of the carpet resulting in an overall displacement of
the carpet by a small increment. In the absence of the ruck, a very large force would be required to
overcome the friction between the complete carpet and the floor.
Dislocations distort the surrounding lattice elastically. Some areas are compressed whilst others are
stretched. These elastically deformed regions interact with other defects, i.e. with solute atoms, with other
dislocations, with grain boundaries and precipitates. These obstacles impede dislocation movement
making plastic deformation more difficult.
2.2 Stress-Strain Curve for Simple Tension Specimen
The mechanical properties of materials are determined using standardised test pieces and testing procedures. For ductile materials like most steels, tensile tests are the commonly applied testing method.
Brittle materials are usually tested by bending or compression.
Tensile properties are usually measured using long and narrow specimens (Figure 4) which guarantee
a uniaxial stress state. Round cross-sections are preferred, although rectangular specimens are employed for plate and strip and for the determination of deep drawing properties. Important parameters
that have to be controlled during tensile tests are strain rate and testing temperature. The strain rate
is controlled by the cross-head speed of the testing machine; the temperature can be regulated by a
furnace or a cooling chamber.
Load (F) and elongation (L) are measured during testing, from which the stress ()-strain () curve can
be obtained by taking the test piece dimensions into account. The nominal or engineering stress n is
the load F divided by the original cross-section area So:
n = F/So (1)
The nominal or engineering strain n is the ratio of the change in length (L-Lo) to the original length Lo:
n = (L - Lo) / Lo =

L / Lo

(2)

Figures 5 and 6 show the stress-strain curves obtained by Equations (1) and (2) for two types of steel.
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Figure 5 Engineering stress-strain curve of a metal, e.g. high strain steel,


with continuous transition from elastic to plastic deformation

Figure 5 Engineering stress-strain curve of a metal, e.g. high strain steel,


with continuous transition from elastic to plastic deformation

The engineering stress-strain curve can be divided into three regions: elastic deformation, uniform plastic
elongation with continuously increasing stress ( u) and non-uniform plastic elongation ( >u).
In most metals there is a gradual transition from elastic to plastic behaviour and it is necessary to define
a proof stress, usually Rp0,1 or Rp0,2 in order to characterise the onset of yielding. These are stresses at
which a permanent elongation of 0,1 or 0,2% of the initial gauge length is obtained.
Some metals and especially mild steels show a discontinuity between the elastic and plastic regimes
with a marked yield point followed by a short period of non-uniform plastic strain (Figure 6). This yielding
phenomenon is described by:
the upper yield stress ReH at the initiation of yielding.
the lower yield stress ReL, which is the stress value during propagation of the Lders bands.
the Lders strain Ld (about 1-2% for mild steels).
The reason for this behaviour is that the dislocations are pinned by interstitially dissolved Carbon and/or
Nitrogen atoms. These dislocations have to be unpinned by the upper yield stress. Once the dislocations are released they can continue to move at the lower yield stress. This process does not take place
homogeneously over the whole specimen. Markings, known as Lder's bands indicating plastically deformed regions, appear at 45 to the direction of loading and expand across the whole gauge length
of the specimen.
In the range of uniform elongation, further plastic deformation is only possible by a continuously increasing load. The dislocation density grows with increasing deformation, making further deformation more
difficult due to the interaction between the dislocations. This effect is referred to as strain or work hardening. The rate of strain hardening (d/d) is high initially but decreases as plastic deformation increases.
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In the third region of deformation the specimen continues to become narrower, but this now takes
place locally resulting in the necking shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7 Tension coupon at point of failure

The stress at which necking begins is the ultimate tensile stress Rm=Fmax/So, the corresponding strain
is the ultimate strain u. Following the onset of necking, the load necessary to maintain elongation
decreases although the local stress within the necking region continues to increase. Continued
deformation leads to fracture, which is characterised by the fracture stress f and the fracture strain
r. The percentage reduction of area at fracture
Z = 100 (So - Su)/So
is a measure of the material's ductility, where Su is the minimum cross-section area at fracture in the
necked region.
For the engineering stress-strain curve, both stress and stain are related to the initial specimen dimensions (So, Lo). Because the cross-section and length change continuously during deformation, these
equations do not give a true indication of the stress and strain history. For a better description of the
material properties, the change of the cross-section area must be taken into account. The true stress
and the true strain are defined as follows:
t =

(4)

where S is the instantaneous cross-section area.


for u.

t =

(5)

Considering that plasticity takes place under conditions of constant volume, the relation between true
and engineering stress and strain in the region of uniform elongation can be derived:
t = n (1 + n)

(6)

(7)
t = ln (1 + n)
In the region of necking, the instantaneous cross-section of the specimen must be measured to
obtain the true stress and the true strain. The true strain (Figure 8) is:
t =

for 0 r

(8)

Figure 8 Double-logaritmic plot of true stress versus true strain


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For the determination of the true stress, a correction factor km must be taken into account because of
the multiaxial stress state resulting from necking.
Figure 9 shows the engineering stress-strain curve (1) and the corresponding true stress-true strain
curve without (2) and with (3) consideration of the multiaxial stress state. Note that the true strain
becomes much larger than the engineering strain due to necking and that strain hardening is always
positive.

Figure 9 Engineering stress-strain curve (1) and


corresponding true stress-strain curve without (2) and with (3)
correction regarding the multiaxial stress state

2.3 Multi-Axial Response


2.3.1 Poisson's ratio
The previous section discussed the longitudinal response of a simple tensile specimen. If measurements of transverse strain (trans) had also been taken it would have been found that the specimen
became narrower as it extended. In the elastic region trans=, where , called Poisson's Ratio, has
the value of about 0,3. This implies that the volume of the elastically deformed material is increasing
because dV/V = - 2trans = 0,4. In the plastic region, with much higher strains, the volume of material does not change significantly and trans 0,5 which implies that Poisson's ratio has a value of 0,5.
This constant volume condition is most clearly illustrated in the necked region as rupture approaches.
The locally higher longitudinal strains, are accompanied by high transverse strains giving the local
necking.
2.3.2 Multi-axial stress states and their influence on yielding
In many engineering situations stresses exist in more than one direction. Examples are shown in Figure 10. The direction and magnitude of these stresses influence the onset of yielding. In the balanced
triaxial compression shown in Figure 10a, the material cannot yield because it has nowhere to go
until there is a breakdown in the atomic structure of the crystals at several orders of magnitude of
stress greater than the uniaxial yield stress. In the two-dimensional pure shear case of Figure 10b
the tendency to expand in the x-direction from the tensile stress 1 is encouraged by the y-direction compression stress 2, and vice versa.
Different mathematical expressions have been developed to describe this interactive yield, and different formulations prove to be more accurate for different materials. Figure 11(a) illustrates the two
most common criteria for metals under a two-dimensional stress state. The Hencky-von Mises expression which is usually used for steel and for three dimensional stresses, is given by:
y = (1/2) {(1 - 2)2 + (2 - 3)2 + (3 - 2)2}
where 1, 2 and 3 are the three principal stresses.
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

(a)

(b)
Figure 10 Example of multiaxial stresses: (a) Uniform
multiaxial compression, (b) Pure shear in two dimensions

Figure 11 Yield and work hardening in two-dimensional steel fields

2.3.3 Strain hardening under multi-axial stresses


Figure 11b shows the most common model for work hardening in the presence of multi-axial stresses.
In isotropic work hardening the yield surface expands uniformly, as shown.
2.4 Influence of Temperature and Strain Rate
Most engineering structures operate at ambient temperatures and are subject to loading rates that are
sufficiently slow not to influence response significantly. However, elevated temperatures can be encountered in service (boiler plant) or by accident (fire). Impact and other accidental loading can lead
to strain rates whose influence cannot be ignored.
2.4.1 Temperature
The movement of dislocations is facilitated by increasing temperature. Both yield and ultimate strengths
are reduced as a result. In structural steels there is little loss of strength up to about 300C. Thereafter
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there is a progressive loss of strength with increasing temperature. At 600C the strength is typically
50% of that at ambient temperature.
Creep, i.e. increasing strain at constant stress, in structural steels can be discounted at ambient temperature. However at temperatures in excess of about 500C creep deformation becomes significant.
The influence of elevated temperatures on both stiffness and strength is illustrated in Figure 12.

Figure 12 Influence of temperature on the mechanical


properties of structural steel (example shown is Fe490)

2.4.2 Strain rate


Dislocation movement is a time-dependent process. It is therefore understandable that high strain rates
make yielding more difficult which is reflected in increased yield stress. The most widely accepted
model for strain rate effects is the Cowper-Symonds expression given below. The significance of this
effect on the tensile stress/strain behaviour is illustrated in Figure 13.

Figure 13 Influence of strain on mechanical properties of mild steel

/s = 1 + {/D}1/q
where:
= strain rate
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

= dynamic yield stress


s = static yield stress.
D and q are dimensionless curve fitting coefficients.
D = 40.4 s-1, and
q = 5 for mild steel.
2.5 Means of Strengthening
The strength of a steel can be described as the resistance against the onset of plastic deformation under
an external load. Plastic deformation occurs by the movement of dislocations through the metal lattice
which enables single lattice planes to slip consecutively over one another. If this motion is hindered
by lattice defects, a higher external load must be applied so that the dislocations can overcome the
obstacles. It is for this reason that means of increasing the strength of steels always aim at hindering
dislocation movement. Obstacles to dislocation motion can be classified according to Table 1.
TABLE 1: Strengthening of Steels
Dimension

Generator

Mechanism

0 (point)

solute atoms

solid solution hardening

1 (linear)

dislocations

strain hardening

2 (plane)

grain boundaries

grain refinement

3 (spatial)

particles

precipitation/dispersion
hardening

Solid solution hardening

The increase of strength is produced by foreign atoms which are dissolved in the metal matrix. Since
foreign atoms differ in size, physical and electrical properties compared to the metal matrix, they cause
a lattice distortion that hinders the movement of dislocations. The increase of yield stress depends on
the kind, amount and distribution of the foreign atoms, Figure 14. It can be seen that the increase of
strength caused by C and N is especially high. This is due to the fact that these atoms dissolve interstitially between the atoms of the matrix, which results in a high lattice distortion. The other elements shown
in Figure 14 dissolve substitutionally and occupy regular lattice positions producing less distortion.

Figure 14 Influence of alloying content on the lower


yield stress of ferrite at room temperature

Increasing strength by solid solution hardening leads to a decrease in toughness. (Toughness is the
ability of a material to avoid brittle fracture - see Lecture 2.3.2.) Therefore, the potential level of strength
attainable by solid solution hardening is usually not sought because of the possibility of brittle fracture.
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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES


Strain hardening

Linear lattice defects are the dislocations themselves. The lattice distortion surrounding the dislocation disturbs the movement of other dislocations. This interaction increases with increasing dislocation
density.
When cold forming steel, e.g. cold rolling, dislocations must continuously be produced because they permanently block each other. The dislocation density rises and increases the strength of the steel by strain
hardening (Figure 15). Such hardening is accompanied by a pronounced reduction in toughness.

Figure 15 Dependence of lower yield


stress of -iron on the dislocation density
Grain refinement

Grain refinement is the most important strengthening mechanism in structural steels because it is the
only method of strengthening which is accompanied by an increase in resistance to brittle fracture.
The grain boundaries are barriers to dislocation motion. Consequently as the grain size is decreased,
the number of barriers increases and this is reflected in increased yield strength. The effect of grain
size on yield stress is described by the Hall-Petch equation:
ReL = iy + ky . d-1/2
where
ReL is the minimum yield strength
iy is the friction stress; the stress at which yielding begins in a material with very large grains
ky is the grain boundary resistance
d is the mean grain diameter.
Dispersion and precipitation hardening
When a moving dislocation encounters a particle it can pass by only two mechanisms:
- cutting through the particle, or
- bowing between and around particles, leaving a section of the dislocation as a ring around the
particle.
In steels, the dominant particle hardening mechanism is dislocation bowing. Strength is then inversely
related to the interparticle spacing. Consequently strength increases as the particle size decreases
and as the volume fraction of precipitates increases.
Strengthening particles are obtained most usually by the precipitation process in the matrix during heat
treatment. In steel this is most familiar during tempering of quench hardened medium carbon steels, but
it also occurs in structural steels during cooling after controlled rolling or during subsequent tempering
treatments.
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

2.6 Hardness
Hardness is a measure of resistance to deformation when a loaded indenter is forced to penetrate
the surface of the metal under test. The penetration of the indenter into the specimen leads to a local
deformation which is both elastic and plastic.
Testing methods can be either static or dynamic. Both elastic and plastic deformation are considered
for the evaluation of dynamic hardness, expressed in terms of the absorbed energy. Dynamic testing
methods include impact hardness testing and Shore hardness testing. Their advantage lies in the
possibility of quick testing which can be performed at any location. Compared to static hardness
testing methods, the dynamic methods are less precise.
The common static testing methods of indentation hardness differ in the type of indenter forced into the
metal. The Brinell test uses a hardened steel ball (EN 3), the Vickers test (EN 5) a square-based diamond pyramid (included angle = 136), and the Rockwell test (EN 10004) is performed with a diamond
cone indenter (included angle = 120).
The indenter is slowly (almost statically) pressed into the specimen. After removing the load, the size of
the indentation is measured. Compared to dynamic testing, only the plastic deformation is taken into
account. Static testing methods are favoured in industry and research because of the consistency of
test results.
The different hardness measurements correlate quite closely, especially at lower values. The correlation of hardness values with other measures of resistance to deformation, such as tensile properties, is
more complicated but a useful engineering rule of thumb is that the tensile strength in units of Nmm-2
is approximately 3 times the Vickers hardness.

3. CONCLUDING SUMMARY
Most engineering properties of metals are structure sensitive.
The principal quantities defining the mechanical properties of metals under non-repeating

loading are:
- Young's modulus.
- Poisson's ratio.
- Yield stress, or proof stress for metals without a defined yield point.
- Ultimate strength.
- Hardness.
These properties may be influenced by:
- temperature.
- strain rate.
- multi-axiality.
- geometry.
The optimal combination of strength and toughness may be achieved by controlling:
- alloying content.
- level of impurities.
- physical treatment.

4. ADDITIONAL READING
[1] Leslie, W.L., The Physical Metallurgy of Steels, Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, Washington,
New York, London, 1981.
[2] Dahl, W., Steel - Handbook of Materials Research and Engineering Volume 1, Springer-Verlag,
Dsseldorf 1990.

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APPENDIX 1
Typical mechanical property data for weldable structural steels
Condition

Yield Stress
(N/mm2)

Ultimate Tensile
Strength
(N/mm2)

% Elongation to
Fracture
(Lo = 5,65So)

Grade Fe430B
(0,25% carbon)

hot-rolled

275

470

22

Grade Fe430D
(0,19% carbon)

normalised

275

470

22

Grade Fe510B
(0,23% carbon)

hot-rolled

355

550

20

normalised

355

550

20

Steel
(Grade according
to EN 10025)

Grade Fe510D
0,18% carbon
0,10% vanadium

Typical mechanical property data for some common non-ferrous metals and alloys
0,2% Proof Stress
(N/mm2)

Ultimate Tensile
Strength
(N/mm2)

% Elongation to
Fracture
(Lo = 5,65So)

Aluminium (annealed)

34

77

47

Aluminium (cold worked)

94

115

13

Duralumin (annealed)

123

231

15

Duralumin (age-hardened)

278

432

15

Cooper (annealed)

54

223

56

Copper (cold worked)

285

316

13

70-30 brass (annealed)

85

320

65

70-30 brass (cold worked)

378

463

20

Metal or alloy

Typical values of Young's modulus for metals


Metal

Al

Au

Ti

Cu

Fe

Ni

(kN/mm2)

70

79

120

130

210

200

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Section 2: APPLIED METALURGY

Lecture 2.3.2:
Advanced Engineering Properties of Steels
OBJECTIVE/SCOPE:
To provide a sequel to Lecture 2.3.1, introducing toughness as an important engineering property.

PREREQUISITES
Lecture 2.3.1: Introduction to the Engineering Properties of Steels

RELATED LECTURES
Lecture 2.1: Characteristics of Iron Carbon Alloys
Lecture 2.2: Manufacturing and Forming Processes

SUMMARY
This lecture introduces the phenomena of ductile and cleavage fracture and the engineering property
of toughness. It summarizes the influences of temperature loading rate, multi-axial stress conditions
and geometry on toughness. It introduces the notched impact bend test as the most common means
of monitoring toughness. It introduces linear-elastic and elastic-plastic fracture mechanics. It presents
the wide plate test and assessment techniques based on fracture mechanics. It summarizes the
means of obtaining an optimum combination of strength and toughness. It introduces the concept of
fatigue, the principal influences on fatigue behaviour, and the means of ensuring adequate fatigue
endurance.

1. TOUGHNESS
Metals often show quite acceptable properties when small smooth bar specimens are tested in tension
at ambient temperature and at slow loading rates. However they fail in a brittle manner when large
components are loaded or when the loading is performed at low temperatures or applied rapidly. Susceptibility to brittle fracture is enhanced if notches or other defects are present. Resistance to brittle
fracture is commonly referred to as toughness.
Metals with a body-centred cubic lattice, e.g. pure iron and ferritic steels have the unfortunate characteristic that their fracture mechanism undergoes a dramatic transition with decreasing temperature from
a tough ductile mode in the higher temperature region to a brittle cleavage mode at lower temperatures.
Face-centred cubic metals, e.g. copper, aluminium and austenitic steels, do not fail by cleavage under
all loading conditions and at all temperatures.
1.1 Types of Fracture
Ductile fracture involves the formation, growth and coalescence of voids. A simple analogy is the
fracture of plasticene or putty containing particles of sand. The voids form around precipitates or nonmetallic inclusions, Figure 1. The ductility or toughness of the material is basically dependent on the
volume fraction of the void nucleating particles, i.e. the proportion of sand in the previous analogy.
The amount of deformation prior to rupture and thus the toughness of the material increases with its
purity.
The macroscopic orientation of a ductile fracture surface may vary from 90 to 45 to the direction of
the applied stress. In thick sections most of the fracture surface tends to be oriented at 90 to the
direction of the applied tensile stress. However, ductile fractures commonly have a shear-tip near a
free boundary as the transverse stresses reduce to zero causing the plane of maximum shear to be
at 45 to the direction of the applied stress.
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Cleavage fracture occurs in body-centred cubic metals when the maximum principal stress exceeds
a critical value, the so-called microscopic cleavage fracture stress f.
Certain crystallographic planes of atoms are separated when the stress is sufficiently high to break
atomic bonds. Crystallographic planes with low packing densities are preferred as cleavage planes.
In steels the preferred change planes are the bee cube planes.
The fracture surface lies perpendicular to the maximum principal stress and appears macroscopically
flat and crystalline. When viewed by eye a cleavage fracture usually displays characteristic chevron
markings which point back to the origin of the fracture. When brittle fracture occurs in a large structure, such markings can be invaluable in identifying the site of crack initiation. When viewed in the microscope, cleavage cracks can be seen to pass through the grains along preferred crystallographic planes
(transgranular cleavage).

Figure 1 Formation of voids around precipitates or non-metalic


inclusions which result in dimpled fracture

If grain boundaries are weakened by precipitates or by the enrichment of foreign atoms, cleavage cracks
can also propagate along grain boundaries (intergranular cleavage).
1.2 Influence of Temperature, Loading Rate, Multi-Axiallity and Geometry
Temperature influences fracture behaviour mainly due to its effect on yield strength and the transition
from ductile to cleavage fracture. Figure 2 shows schematically the yield strength and the microscopic
cleavage fracture stress as a function of temperature for a ferritic steel. The yield strength falls with
increasing temperature, whereas the cleavage fracture stress is hardly influenced. The transition temperature is defined by the intersection between the yield strength and cleavage fracture strength curves.
At lower temperatures specimens fail without previous plastic deformation (brittle fracture). Somewhat
above the transition temperature, cleavage fracture can still occur due to the effect of deformation
induced work hardening. At higher temperatures cleavage is not possible and the fracture becomes
fully ductile.

Figure 2 Yield strength and microscopic cleavage fracture stress


as function of temperature and loading rate

The yield strength rises with increasing loading rate (marked with dashed line in Figure 2) whereas the
microscopic cleavage fracture stress shows almost no strain rate dependence. This rise causes the
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

ductile-brittle transition temperature to move to higher values at higher rates of loading. Thus, an increase
of loading rate and a reduction of temperature have the same adverse effect on toughness.
A multi-axial stress state has an important influence on the transition from ductile to cleavage fracture. A
triaxial state of stress, in which the three principal stresses 1, 2 and 3 are all positive (but not equal),
inhibits or constrains the onset of yielding. Under these conditions, yielding occurs at a higher stress
than that observed in a uniaxial or biaxial state of stress. This situation is illustrated in Figure 3 where
it can be seen that the transition temperature arising from the intersection of the cleavage and yield
strength curves is shifted to a higher temperature, i.e. the metal has become more brittle.

Figure 3 Influence of multi-axiality on the transition temperature Tt

The most familiar situation in which multi-axial states of stress are encountered in steel structures is
in association with notches or cracks in thick sections. The stress concentration at the root of the notch
gives rise a local region of triaxial stresses even through the applied loading may be uni-directional
(Figure 4).

Figure 4 Transverse contractions that occur near


the tip of a notch in a thick plate

1.3 Notched Impact Bend Test


The notched impact bend test is the most common test for the assessment of susceptibility to brittle
fracture because it is inexpensive and quickly performed. 10mm square bars with a machined notch,
(ISO-V or Charpy specimens), are struck by a calibrated pendulum. The energy absorbed from the swinging pendulum during deformation and fracture of the test specimen is used as a measure of the
impact energy. The notch impact energy consists of elastic and plastic deformation work, fracture energy
and kinetic energy of the broken pieces.
Figures 5 and 6 show the notch impact energy as a function of testing temperature. At low temperatures the failure of ferritic steels occurs by cleavage fracture giving a lustrous crystalline appearance
Lecture 2.3.2: Advanced Engineering Properties of Steels

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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

to the fracture surface. At high temperatures failure occurs by ductile fracture after plastic deformation.
In the transition range small amounts of ductile fracture are found close to the notch but, due to the
elevated stresses near the crack tip, the fracture mechanism changes to cleavage. Throughout the
transition range the amount of cleavage fracture becomes less and the notch impact energy rises as
the testing temperature increases.

Figure 5 Ductile to brittle impact transition curve for a ferritic steel

Figure 6 Transition curves for a range of steels

In order to characterise the transition behaviour, a transition temperature is defined as the temperature
at which:
a defined value of the notch impact energy is reached (eg. T27J, T40J),
half of the maximum impact energy value is reached (T50%), or
50% ductile fracture is observed on the fracture surface (FATT 50: Fracture Appearance
Transition Temperature, 50% ductile fracture).
The impact energy values obtained show a high amount of scatter in the transition area because here
the results depend on the local situation ahead of the crack tip. Beyond this area, scatter becomes
less because there is no change of fracture mechanism.
The notched impact bend test gives only a relative measure of toughness. This measure is adequate
for defining different grades of toughness in structural steels and for specifying steels for well established conditions of service. For the assessment of known defects and for service situations where
there is little experience of brittle fracture susceptibility, a quantitative measure of toughness which can
be used by design engineers is provided by fracture mechanics.
1.4 Fracture Toughness
Fracture mechanics provides a quantitative description of the resistance of a material to fracture. The
fracture toughness is a material property which can be used to predict the behaviour of components
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

containing cracks or sharp notches. The fracture toughness properties are obtained by tests on specimens containing deliberately introduced cracks or notches and subjected to prescribed loading conditions.
Depending on the strength of the material and the thickness of the section, either linear-elastic (LEFM)
or elastic-plastic fracture mechanics (EPFM) concepts are applied.
The Linear-Elastic Fracture Mechanics Approach
The stress intensity factor KI describes the intensity of the elastic crack tip stress field in a thick,
deeply cracked specimen loaded perpendicular to the crack plane.
KI = Y

(1)

where
is the nominal stress
a is the crack depth
Y is the correction function dependent on the crack and test piece geometry
The critical value of the stress intensity factor for the onset of crack growth is the fracture toughness KIC.
Another material property obtained from linear-elastic fracture mechanics is the energy release rate GI.
It indicates how much elastic strain energy becomes free during crack propagation. It is determined
according to Equation (2):
GI = Y2 2 a / E = K12 / E
(2)
where
E is the Young's modulus
Analogous to the stress intensity factor, crack growth occurs when GI reaches a critical value GIc.
The fracture toughness properties KIc and GIc are determined with fracture mechanics specimens, generally as shown in Figures 7 and 8.

Figure 7 Fracture mechanics specimens

The great value of the fracture toughness parameters KIc and GIc is that once they have been measured for a particular material, Equations (1) and (2) can be used to make quantitative predictions of the
size of defect necessary to cause a brittle fracture for a given stress, or the stress which will precipitate a brittle fracture for a defect of known size.
As the designation implies, linear elastic fracture mechanics is applicable to materials which fracture
under elastic conditions of loading. The fracture phenomena in high strength quenched and tempered
steels are of this type. In lower strength structural steels, extensive plasticity develops at the notch root
before failure occurs. This behaviour invalidates many of the assumptions of linear elastic fracture mechanics and makes testing difficult or not meaningful. In such cases elastic-plastic fracture mechanics
must be applied.
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There are two alternative techniques of elastic-plastic fracture mechanics:


1. Crack Tip Opening Displacement (CTOD)
2. J Integral
Their essential features are summarised below.

Figure 8 Measurement of load F, displacement v


and deflection f in CT- and SENB- specimens

The Elastic-Plastic Fracture Mechanics Approach


A consequence of plasticity developing at the tip of a previously sharp crack is that the crack will blunt
and there will be an opening displacement at the position of the original crack tip. This is the crack tip
opening displacement (CTOD). As loading continues, the CTOD value increases until eventually a
critical value c is attained at which crack growth occurs.
The critical crack tip opening displacement is a measure of the resistance of the material to fracture,
i.e. it is an alternative measurement of fracture toughness.
For materials which exhibit little plasticity prior to failure, the critical CTOD, c, can be related to the
linear elastic fracture toughness parameters KIc and GIc as follows:
KIc2 = E.Gk / (1 - 2) = m.E.y.c / (1 - 2)
where
E is Youngs modulus
y is the uniaxial yield strength
is Poissons ratio
m is a constraint factor having a value between 1 and 3 depending on the state of stress at the crack tip.
Another way of taking account of crack tip plasticity is the determination of the J-integral. J is defined
as a path-independent line-integral through the material surrounding the crack tip. It is given by:
J=-

(3)

where U is the potential energy, B is the specimen thickness, and a is the crack length.
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

U=

(4)

where F is the load, and Vg is the total displacement.


Since the determination of J is difficult, approximate solutions are used in practice.
J=

(5)

where b = w a; = 2 (for SENB-specimens), and = 2 + 0,522 b/w (for CT-specimens).


The critical value of J is a material characteristic and is denoted JIc. For the linear elastic case, JIc is
equal to GIc.
1.5 Fitness for Purpose
Conventional assessment of components is based on a comparison of design resistance with applied
actions. Toughness criteria are generally satisfied by the appropriate selection of material quality, as
discussed in Lecture 2.5. However there are situations where a more fundamental assessment has to
be carried out because of:
onerous service conditions.
defects during manufacture.
defects, e.g. fatigue cracks, developing during previous service life.
Such assessments can be performed by different methods. If the component is small, it may be possible
to test it. For large or unique structures, such as bridges or offshore platforms, this method of producing the most realistic data has to be excluded. Tests on representative details of a component may be
performed, if the simulation of the real structure is done carefully, e.g. accounting for specific service
conditions including the geometry of the structure and discontinuities, loading rate, service temperature
and environmental conditions. A typical example of such a test method is the wide plate test, which is
discussed below.
Fracture mechanics concepts have been developed to assess the safety of components containing
cracks. Depending on the overall behaviour of the component (linear-elastic or elastic-plastic) different
methods can be used for failure assessment.
1.5.1 Wide plate testing
During the last 20 years, large flat tensile specimens, so-called wide plates, have been used to simulate a relatively simple detail of a tension loaded large structure. A main objective of wide plate testing is
the evaluation of the deformation and fracture behaviour of a specimen under service conditions. The
second reason for this kind of test is the application of test results for the development and checking
of failure assessment methods, e.g. fracture mechanics methods.
Wide plate tests require testing facilities with high loading capacities due to the fact that such tests are
usually carried out at full thickness. The maximum dimensions of wide plates tested on large test rigs
with a load capacity of up to 100MN are as follows:
specimen width W 3000mm
specimen thickness to 300mm
specimen length l 5000mm
Figure 9 shows different types of specimen containing discontinuities for tests on the base metal or
welded joints. The discontinuities may be through-thickness or surface notches or cracks. The configuration of the plate is usually chosen according to the specific structural situation to be assessed.
Stress or strain criteria can be used as safety criteria which must be fulfilled to assure the safety of a
specific structural element. The production of a given amount of overall strain is in some cases used as
the failure criterion. The gross-section-yielding concept requires that gross-section-yielding (GSY) occurs
prior to fracture. Based on this concept, wide plates with different crack lengths are tested under similar
loading conditions to determine a critical crack length just fulfilling the GSY-criterion. Figure 10 shows
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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

the ratio of the maximum gross-section stress in the structure to ultimate tensile strength as a function
of the crack length ratio 2a/W of centre-notched wide plates. The upper limit line describes the theoretical maximum stress, if the ultimate tensile strength is reached in the cross-section containing the discontinuity. All test results show lower values than are implied by the theoretical line, resulting from the
important influence of toughness in the presence of discontinuities. Only in the case of infinite toughness can the theoretical line be reached. The intersection of the experimentally determined curve and
the yield strength line marks the critical crack length ratio 2ac/W. As long as the 2a/W ratio is smaller
than the critical ratio, the GSY-criterion is fulfilled. Unfortunately, the critical 2ac/W ratio depends strongly

Figure 9 Different types of wide plate specimens

Figure 10 Evaluation of critical crack size using


the gross section yielding concept
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

on the dimensions of the crack and the plate, so that different types of cracked components always
require a series of specific wide plate tests. This concept is therefore only used if other concepts cannot
be applied.
1.5.2 Fracture mechanics concepts
The basis of a fracture mechanics safety analysis is the comparison between the crack driving force
in a structure and the fracture toughness of the material evaluated in small scale tests. The
application of one of the concepts depends on the overall behaviour of the structure which may be
linear-elastic (K-concept) or elastic-plastic (CTOD- or J-Integral-concepts). For a safe structure the
crack driving force must be less than the fracture toughness. In general the toughness values of the
material are evaluated according to existing standards. The crack driving force can be calculated on
the basis of analytical solutions (K-concept), empirical or semi-empirical approaches (CTOD-DesignCurve approach, CEGB-R6-procedures) or using numerical solutions (indirectly: EPRI-handbook, directly: finite-element calculations). The different methods are explained briefly below:
K-concept

The K-concept can be applied in the case of linear-elastic component behaviour. The crack driving force,
the so-called stress intensity factor KI, defined in Section 1.4, has been evaluated for a large range of
situations and calculation formulae are for example given in the stress-analysis-of-cracks handbook.
Usually the critical fracture toughness KIc of the material is evaluated according to the ASTM standard
E399 or the British Standard BS5447. Brittle failure can be excluded as long as:
KI < KIc
For a given fracture toughness the critical crack length or stress level can be calculated from:
ac =
c =
CTOD-Design-Curve approach

A critical crack length or stress level can be determined using the limit curve of the CTOD-Design-Curve
approach for the driving force assessment together with measured values of CTODcrit for the material.
The limit curve has been adopted by standards, e.g. the British Standard BS-PD 6493. The latest version of the limit curve is shown in Figure 11 and can be used for:
2a/W 0,5 and net YS.

Figure 11 Assessment of plate failure using the CTOD-Design-Curve approach


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Analysis can only be performed under global elastic conditions (net YS) although local plastic deformation may occur in front of a crack tip which is accounted for in the CTOD-value of the material.
CEGB-R6-routines

The CEGB-R6-routines can be used to assess the safety of structures for brittle and ductile component
behaviour. The transition from linear-elastic to elastic-plastic behaviour is described by a limit curve in a
failure analysis diagram (Figure 12). The ordinate value Kr can be regarded as any of three equivalent
ratios of applied crack driving force to material fracture toughness as follows:

Figure 12 Assessment of wide plate failure using the CEGB-R6 routines

Kr =

Figure 13 Change of impact transition temperature of


structural steel by means of chemical metallurgy
Other methods
Other methods are emerging. The Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) in New York has used a
detailed analysis by finite elements to determine limiting J contour values for standard geometries. Alternatively the J contour values may be obtained by direct finite element analysis of the particular situation.

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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

2. OPTIMAL COMBINATION OF STRENGTH AND TOUGHNESS


Preceding sections have described the influence of the micro structure on strength and toughness using
metallurgical mechanisms. Chemical and physical metallurgy can change microstructural characteristics
so that optimum strength and toughness requirements may be obtained. By combining the various treatments it is possible to achieve a wide range of steel properties (Figure 13).
Chemical metallurgy treatments

Variation of the chemical composition of a steel by adding alloying elements aims to increase strength
and/or increase resistance to brittle fracture. Solid solution hardening generally lowers toughness and
is not widely employed. Precipitation hardening also increases strength and decreases toughness. The
addition of manganese and nickel produces a small increase in strength due to solution hardening but
a more significant reduction is impact transition temperature due to grain refinement (Figure 14). Alloying with the micro-alloying elements Niobium, (Nb) Vanadium (V) and Titanium (Ti) producing carbides
and nitrides simultaneously raises strength by precipitation hardening and toughness by grain refinement. Decreasing the content of elements such as S and P improves the degree of purity, which has
positive effects on toughness and weldability.

Figure 14 Yield stress and impact transition temperature


of steel with different alloying combination (normalized)
Physical metallurgy treatments

The microstructure of a steel can be greatly affected by heat treatment or forming. Correctly chosen
temperature, degree of deformation, time between deformation steps and cooling rate can reduce
the grain size and control the state of precipitation, thus raising toughness and strength (Figure 15).

Figure 15 Yield stress and impact transition temperature


of steels with different microstructures
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This combination of heat treatment and forming known as thermo-mechanical treatment leads to even
better results if micro-alloying elements such as V or Nb are added, causing additional grain refinement
with improved toughness and strength properties.

3. FATIGUE PROPERTIES
When considering the response of metallic materials to cyclic loading, it is essential to distinguish between components such as machined parts, which are initially free of defects, and those such as castings
and welded structures, which inevitably contain pre-existing defects. The fatigue behaviour of these
two types of component is quite different. In the former case, the major part of the fatigue life is spent
in initiating a crack; such fatigue is 'initiation-controlled'. In the second type of component, cracks are
already present and all of the fatigue life is spent in crack propagation; such fatigue is 'propagationcontrolled'.
For a given material, the fatigue strength is quite different depending on whether the application is initiation- or propagation-controlled. Also the most appropriate material solution may be quite different depending on the application. For example with initiation-controlled fatigue, the fatigue strength increases
with tensile strength and hence it is usually beneficial to utilise high strength materials. On the other
hand, with propagation-controlled fatigue, the fatigue resistance may actually decrease if a higher strength
material is employed.
3.1 Initiation-Controlled Fatigue
3.1.1 Testing
The fundamental diagram in fatigue testing is the Whler or S-N-diagram (Figure 16). Specimens are
exposed to cyclic loading with a constant amplitude and the number of cycles to fracture is recorded.
This parameter is plotted against the corresponding stress amplitude with a double- or semi-logarithmic scale. The diagram is divided into two parts. In the first part, life time increases with decreasing alternating stress amplitude. In the second part for most-ferritic steels the curve becomes horizontal and
defines a 'fatigue limit' stress below which failure can never occur. The transition or 'knee' between
the two parts of the curve lies between 3 and 10 x 106 cycles, depending on the material. For other
alloys, e.g. fcc-metals, which do not show a fatigue limit, an 'endurance limit' is defined as the stress
amplitude corresponding to a life of 107 cycles.

Figure 16 S-N diagrams: Different types of representation

One characteristic feature of fatigue properties is the wide scatter of results under constant testing
done conditions. Therefore 6-10 experiments must be performed for each stress amplitude. The analysis is by means of statistical evaluation leading to different S-N curves for various life time probabilities
(10%, 50%, 90% curves).
3.1.2 Fatigue damage
Crack-free stage
During the first 104 stress cycles, although the loading is nominally elastic, dislocation activity occurs in
localised areas and leads to the formation of bands of localised plastic deformation known as persistent
slip bands (PSB).
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Lecture 2.3.2: Advanced Engineering Properties of Steels

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy


Crack initiation

Crack initiation generally takes place within the persistent slip bands. In the case of pure metals, crack
initiation usually occurs at the surface. In commercial quality materials, crack initiation usually occurs
at non-metallic inclusions or other impurities which act as microscopic sites of strain concentration.
Crack propagation
Once initiated the crack propagates through the first few grains in the direction of maximum shear
stress, i.e. at 45 to the normal stress. When the crack has attained a length of a few grain diameters,
continued propagation is controlled by the cyclic stress intensity field at the crack tip and the crack
path becomes oriented at 90 to the maximum principal stress direction. Although the major part of
the fatigue life is spent in crack initiation, this is not apparent from examination of the fracture surface
where only the final propagation stage can be seen.
3.1.3 Influences of various parameters
The relationships between initiation-controlled fatigue strength and other parameters are complex and
sometimes only known qualitatively. Nevertheless they are of great importance for material selection
and dimensioning of structural parts. Therefore a number of different parameters are discussed below
with respect to their influence on fatigue properties.
Loading: Different loading conditions include cyclic tension and compression, cyclic torsion, cyclic
bending and any possible combination of these. As discussed in the context of yielding in
Section 2.3 of Lecture 2.3.1, such complex stresses can be combined by means of the Henckyvon Mises expression to generate an equivalent stress which can be compared with the fatigue
strength obtained from uniaxial loading.
Mean stress: Fatigue strength is reduced by tensile mean stress and increased by compressive
mean stress.
Frequency: For most materials no influence is observed over a wide range. Some alloys show
a smaller life time for lower frequencies because corrosion effects interfere.
Microstructure: The influence of microstructural modification on fatigue strength is similar to that
on tensile strength. In general fatigue strength increases in proportion to tensile strength. For
example, for a wide range of wrought steels, the fatigue strength is between 40% and 50% of
the tensile strength. Improved purity raises fatigue strength.
Residual stresses: As with mean stress effects, compressive residual stress improves fatigue
strength, whereas internal tensile stress has the opposite effect. To optimise fatigue strength,
surface compressive residual stress is generated by techniques such as shot peening, and
surface rolling.
Surface: Surface finish has a large influence on fatigue; the smoother the surface the better
the fatigue strength. The treatment of surfaces during manufacturing often causes strain hardening and compressive residual stresses which both increase fatigue strength. The influence
of notches is described under Geometry.
Geometry: Notches and changes of section act as sites of stress concentration and hence have
a considerable influence on fatigue properties. For large smooth notches, the stress concentration must be evaluated and incorporated in the fatigue analysis. Sharp notches behave as cracklike defects and cause the fatigue behaviour to be propagation-controlled.
Welding: Welding inevitably generates small crack-like defects which greatly lower the fatigue
strength and cause the fatigue to be propagation- controlled.
Corrosion: Exposure to a corrosive environment facilitates both crack initiation and propagation.
Consequently the fatigue strength is reduced. The fatigue limit in steels may be eliminated in
a corrosive element.
3.1.4 Fatigue limit under actual service conditions
The S-N diagram characterises material behaviour under single-amplitude loading. For weight-saving
constructions exposed to complex stresses, the parameters determined by such tests are not sufficient.
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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

For testing under realistic conditions, an analysis of the actual stresses has to be obtained. For that purpose the sequence and duration of different stress levels, as well as their rise or fall, are recorded. This
stress-time function is either reproduced under laboratory conditions, or special testing programmes
are calculated from these data and used in experiments. Results obtained by this method cannot be
transferred to different materials and loading conditions.
3.1.5 Prediction of cumulative damage
The fundamental method of life time cumulative damage prediction was formulated by Miner. The
damage from each cycle at a certain stress level is defined as the reciprocal value of the number of
cycles to fracture (1/Ni). Fracture occurs when the sum of cycles at each level (ni) related to the
number of cycles to failure (Ni) is equal to unity. The mathematical expression is:

Since this is a very simple equation, results are widely scattered. In reality the values form a Gaussion
distribution with a maximum around 1. To guarantee safe construction, calculations are made with factors
smaller than 1 and stresses below their maximum values. Furthermore it is possible to take the effects
of different loading levels into account with respect to their number, maximum stress and sequence.
3.2 Propagation-Controlled Fatigue
Steel castings, rough forgings and welded structures invariably contain surface imperfections which
behave as minute crack-like defects which effectively eliminate the crack-initiation stage in fatigue.
Consequently the whole of the fatigue life is concerned with crack propagation. The rate of crack advance
is determined by the cyclic stress intensity Kr which is the cyclic equivalent of the stress intensity
factor KI defined in Section 1.5.
KI = Y
where is the cyclic stress range, a is the crack depth, and Y is the correction function dependent
on the crack and test piece geometry.
The rate of crack propagation is then given by the following relationship which is known as Paris' Law:
= C KIm
N = Number of cycles
C is a material constant which is inversely proportional to Young's modulus E. The power m has a
value of about 3 for most metallic materials.
The advantage of the fracture mechanics description of crack propagation is that the rate equation can
be integrated to determine the number of cycles required for a crack to propagate from some initial
length ai to same final length af. Thus for m = 3:
Nf = 2 (1/ai - 1/af ) / (CY333/2)
ai may be a known crack size or an NDT limit, af may be a critical defect size for unstable fracture or
a component dimension such as the wall thickness of a vessel.
In the above equation for the fatigue life, the constant C is dependent on the type of material but is
not sensitive to variations in microstructure or strength level. Consequently, for a given cyclic stress
range, , the fatigue life is independent of the strength of the material. If, however, the stress range
increases in proportion to the material yield strength, then the fatigue life will be less for the higher
strength material. For example, a two-fold increase in stress range produces almost a ten-fold reduction
in fatigue life. This is a major constraint on the utilisation of higher strength structural steels for fatigue
dominated applications.
The fatigue behaviour of welded joints is propagation-controlled. However it is impracticable to apply a
fracture mechanics analysis because the initial defect size cannot be evaluated and the cyclic stress
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Lecture 2.3.2: Advanced Engineering Properties of Steels

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

range is amplified by local stress concentration effects associated with the weld profile. Instead the
fatigue strength is determined experimentally for the range of weld types and welding processes which
are commonly employed in welded structures. This data is presented as a series of S-N curves for
different weld classifications as shown in Figure 16.
The fatigue strength of welded joints is not sensitive to the strength of the parent plate. Consequently,
as explained previously, it is difficult to take full advantage of higher strength steels in welded structures
where there is significant exposure to cyclic loading.

4. CONCLUDING SUMMARY
Steels may fail by unacceptable brittle fracture.
Satisfactory ductility has generally to be achieved by ensuring ductile rather than cleavage

fracture.
The tendency for brittle fracture increases in:
Reducing temperature
Increasing strain rate
Multi-axial tension
Geometric discontinuities causing stress concentrations.
Fracture mechanics is a valuable means of quantifying the resistance of a material to fracture.
The notched impact bend test (Charpy test) is a cost effective means of qualitatively monitoring toughness.
More accurate methods of monitoring toughness, e.g. CTOD testing, have developed from the
understanding of fracture mechanics.
The optimal balance of strength and toughness can be achieved by a combination of chemical
and physical metallurgical treatments.
Structures under repeated loading may fail by fatigue.
Resistance to fatigue is influenced by stress range, number cycles, mean stress, geometry,
residual stresses and defects, especially those associated in welding.

5. ADDITIONAL READING
[1] Griffith, A.A., Phil. Trans. Royal Society A221 (1921).
[2] Wells, A.A., Unstable Crack Propagation in Metals: Cleavage and Fast Fracture, Proc. Symp.
Crack Propagation, Cranfield 1961, Vol. 1.
[3] E 813-81 Standard Test Method for JIC, A Measure of Fracture Toughness, ASTM 1981.
[4] Method for crack opening displacement testing, BS5762, British Standard Institution, London
1979.
[5] Methods of tests for plain strain fracture toughness (KIc) of metallic materials, BS5447, British
Standard Institution, London 1977.
[6] Milne, I. et al, Assessment of the integrity of structures containing defects, CEGB-R/H/R6-Rev. 3,
Central Electricity Generating Board, London, 1986.
[7] Guidance on Methods for assessing the acceptability of flaws in fusion welded structures, PD
6493: British Standards Institution, London 1991.
[8] Kumar, V. et al, An Engineering Approach for Elastic-Plastic Fracture Analysis, Electric Power
Research Institute (EPRI), NP 1931, Project 1237-1, Final Report, General Electric Company,
New York.
[9] Dahl, W. et al, Application of Fracture Mechanics Concepts to the Failure of Wide Plates, Nuclear
Engineering Design 1985.

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APPENDIX 1
Fracture toughness values of different materials
Kc (MNm-3/2)

Material

Kc (MNm-3/2)

Ductile metals, e.g. Cu

200

cast iron

15

Grade Fe430B structural steel


(room temperature)

140

glass reinforced
plastic

40
12

Grade Fe 430B structural steel


(-100C)

40

Pressure vessel steels

170

Material

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Lecture 2.3.2: Advanced Engineering Properties of Steels

Section 2: APPLIED METALURGY

Lecture 2.4:
Steel Grades and Qualities
OBJECTIVE/SCOPE:
Presentation of the present classes of structural steels
RELATED LECTURES
Lecture 2.1: Characteristics of Iron-Carbon Alloys
Lecture 2.3.1: Introduction to the Engineering Properties of Steel

SUMMARY
The lecture approaches classification of materials in terms of chemical composition, mechanical and
technological properties, and defines the main specifications applicable to different classes of structural steels.

1. INTRODUCTION
Due to its high strength, its good machineability and its high economic efficiency, steel is one of the
most important construction materials. By changes in the chemical composition and in the production
conditions, it is possible to vary steel properties over a wide range and the steel manufacturer is able
to adapt the properties to the specific requirements of users (Appendix 1) [1].
As well as chemical and mechanical properties, internal soundness, surface quality, form and geometrical dimensions can be important criteria for steel product users.
The steels used for structural applications are mainly hot rolled in the form of sections, plates, strip,
wide flats, bars and hollow sections. Such products may have undergone cold forming operations after
hot rolling. Cast and forged material is also sometimes used.
In order to facilitate production, ordering and use of steel products, steel grades and qualities are listed
in quality standards and specifications, giving chemical composition, mechanical and technological
properties.
This lecture deals with the classification of steel grades and gives an overview of the main grades used
for structural steelwork.

2. DEFINITION OF STEEL
According to European standard EN 10 020 [2], steel is a material which contains by weight more iron
than any other single element, having a carbon content generally less than 2% and containing other
elements (Figure 1). A limited number of chromium steels may contain more than 2% of carbon, but
2% is the usual dividing line between steel and cast iron.

3. CLASSIFICATION OF STEEL GRADES


The European standard EN 10020 [2] classifies steel grades into:
non-alloy and alloy steels by chemical composition
quality classes defined by main property or application characteristics for non-alloy and alloy
steels.
3.1 Classification by Chemical Composition
Classification is based on the ladle analysis specified in the standard or product specification, and is
determined by the minimum values specified for each element.
Non-alloy steels are steel grades for which none of the limit values in Appendix 2 is reached.
Alloy steels are steel grades for which at least one of the limit values given in Appendix 2 is reached.
Lecture 2.4: Steel Grades and Qualities

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3.2 Classification by Main Quality Classes


Steel grades can be classified into the following quality classes:
Classes of non-alloy steels
Non-alloy base steels
Non-alloy quality steels
Non-alloy special steels
Classes of alloy steels
Alloy quality steels
Alloy special steels
For this classification, the following points have to be taken into consideration:
Chemical composition
Mechanical properties
Heat treatment
Cleanness in terms of non-metallic inclusions
Particular quality requirements, e.g. suitability for cold forming, cold drawing, etc.
Physical properties
Application
Details of this classification are given in the standard EN 10020 [2].

Figure 1 Iron-carbon phase diagram

4. QUALITY STANDARDS FOR STRUCTURAL STEELS


4.1 General Considerations
This section describes the form of a quality standard for structural steels and analyses the main
points.
Generally the content of such a standard is the following:
Object and field of application.
Classification and designation of qualities.
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Lecture 2.4: Steel Grades and Qualities

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy


Steel manufacturing process.
Delivery conditions.
Chemical composition.
Mechanical properties.
Technological properties.
Surface finish.
Inspection and testing.
Product marking.

4.2 The Main Points


4.2.1 Steel Manufacturing Process
The steel manufacturing process (Basic-Oxygen-Furnace, Electric-Furnace, etc.) is generally the option
of the manufacturer.
For the deoxidation method, the following are possible:
Optional: method at the manufacturer's option.
Rimming steel (no addition of deoxidation elements). This type of steel is used only for steels
with low yield strengths and no special toughness requirements.
Rimming steel not permitted: the manufacturer may deliver either semi-killed or killed steel.
Fully killed steel containing nitrogen binding elements in amounts sufficient to bind the available
nitrogen, e.g. minimum 0,020% Al.
4.2.2 Delivery Conditions
Several supply conditions are allowed:
Supply at the manufacturer's option.
Hot-rolled i.e. as-rolled.
Thermomechanical treatment: Normalizing forming (N), Thermomechanical forming (TM).
Normalized (N).
It should be noted that quenched and tempered steels are not discussed in this lecture.
The definitions for thermomechanical treatment of steels are given in Appendix 3.
The supply condition of the product is very important with respect to the application of the steel. This
condition should, therefore, be clearly stated in the order. Particular attention must be paid to normalized (N), or normalizing formed (N) products and thermomechanically formed steels (TM). Thermomechanically formed material, unlike N-material, is not suitable for subsequent heat-treatment (except
stress-relieving) or hot deformation (1100C). Treatment of TM-steels at high temperatures leads to a
decrease in strength.
It should be noted that TM-treated material has the following advantages compared to N-steels of the
same grade:
Lower content of alloying elements.
Better weldability due to a lower carbon equivalent.
Lower cost.
Time saving due to the in-line treatment.
No product length limitations.
4.2.3 Chemical Composition
The requirements are based on the ladle analysis and not on the product analysis. If a product analysis is specified, the permissible deviations of the product analysis from the specified limits of the ladle
analysis have to be considered.
4.2.4 Mechanical Properties
Quality standards generally specify tensile and notch toughness properties.
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4.2.4.1 Tensile properties


Yield strength ReH
minimum value
Tensile strength Rm
minimum and maximum values
Elongation
minimum value
The required values depend on the material thickness. Yield strength and tensile strength decrease
with increasing thickness, which can be explained by the fact that for thicker material the grain refinement during rolling is smaller.
4.2.4.2 Notch toughness properties (impact test)
The test temperature and the minimum absorbed energy are specified.
4.2.4.3 Sampling direction
The mechanical properties can be specified for the longitudinal and/or for the transverse direction.
Longitudinal means parallel to the rolling direction; transverse is perpendicular to the principal rolling
direction. During the hot rolling of long products the deformation takes place mainly in one direction
creating an anisotropy which results in different mechanical properties in the longitudinal and the transverse directions. The difference is most marked in ductility (elongation, notch toughness).
4.2.5 Technological Properties
Technological properties include weldability and formability.
4.2.5.1 Weldability
Weldability, which is a very important property of structural steels, is judged on the basis of:
a. tendency to cold cracking
b. toughness of the heat affected zone
Weldability is influenced by the chemical composition and by the metallographic structure of the steel.
By increasing the content of alloying elements the weldability is decreased. An improvement in weldability is obtained by grain refinement.
Weldability generally decreases with increasing tensile strength which is related to the higher content of
alloying elements in the higher strength steels.
Figure 2 shows the influence of composition on weldability. Rate of cooling increases susceptibility to
cold cracking and is controlled by the combined thickness of the heat paths away from the weld, the
vertical axis on the graph. Arc energy, the horizontal axis on the graph, also influences cooling rate; the
higher the heat input the longer it will take to cool. The graph shows how reducing the carbon equivalent increases the range of conditions which can be welded with a particular preheat, in this instance
100C, and a particular welding process, in this instance MAG with conventional wire electrodes.
4.2.5.2 Formability
Structural steels are suitable for hot and cold forming. It should be noted that thermomechanically
treated steels should not be used for hot forming (see also Delivery Conditions in Section 4.2.2).
Cold formability includes flangeability, roll forming and drawing of bars. Cold formability is evaluated by
bend tests. The specified inside bending radius increases with increasing material thickness and
tensile strength. The bend test samples can be taken in the longitudinal or transverse direction.
4.2.6 Surface finish
The steel product should be free from such defects as would preclude its use for the purpose for
which it is intended.
4.2.7 Inspection and testing
The quality standards specify:
Type of test (tensile, impact, bend, chemical analysis, etc.).
Batching: the verification of the mechanical properties can be carried out by lot (e.g. one test
for every 20, 40 or 60 products) or by melt.
Inspection units: number of tests per batch.
Position of the test samples: according to Euronorm 18 [3] (see Figure 3).
Selection and preparation of test pieces.
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Figure 2 Example of variation of weldability with composition:


limiting conditions requiring a minimum pre-heat of 100oC for
different values of carbon equivalent (CE) for MAG welding

Figure 3 Position of test pieces in EN 10025 Annex A


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4.2.8 Marking
Steel products shall be marked by painting, stamping or durable adhesive labels with the following information:
Steel grade.
Heat number.
Manufacturers name or trademark.
5. STRUCTURAL STEEL GRADES
In this section the following structural steel grades are described:
Hot-rolled products in non-alloy steels for general structural applications to EN 10 025 [4].
Hot-rolled products in weldable fine grain structural steels to EN10113 [5].
Structural steels for offshore applications.
Weathering steels to Euronorm 155 [6].
Anti-lamellar steel grades.
Steel grades for hot dip galvanizing.
5.1 Hot-Rolled Products in Non-Alloy Steels for General
Structural Applications to EN 10025 [4]
5.1.1 General Description
This standard specifies the requirements for long products (such as sections and bars) and flat products
(such as plate, sheet and strip) of hot-rolled non-alloy general purpose (base) and quality steels. These
steels are intended for use in welded, bolted and riveted structures for service at ambient temperature.
5.1.2 Designation of the Steels
The designation consists of:
The number of the European standard (EN 10025).
The symbol FS.
The indication of the minimum specified yield strength for thicknesses 16mm expressed in N/mm2.
The quality designation in respect of weldability and resistance to brittle fracture JR, J0, J2 and

K2.
If applicable, an indication of the deoxidation method (G1 or G2).
If applicable, the letter symbolic for the suitability for cold flanging, cold rolling or cold drawing.
If applicable the indication + N when the products have normalizing rolling.
Example: Steel with a specified minimum tensile strength at ambient temperature of 510 N/mm2, quality
grade J0 and with no requirements for deoxidation and suitable for cold flanging (designation C) is given
by:
Steel EN 10 025
S355
JO
C
Grade

Impact 0C

Suitable for cold forming

5.1.3 Steel Grades


There are three standard grades of structural steel.
These are summarized in the table in the following page.
All these grades are C-Mn steels, which can be supplied in the as-rolled, thermomechanically treated
or normalised condition. Steel grade S355 has the highest manganese content and can also be microalloyed.

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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Quality

Impact test
temperature (oC)

Type of
deoxidation 2)

235

JR
J0
J2

+20
0
-20

Optional FU,FN
FN
FF

S275

275

JR
J0
J2

+20
0
-20

FN
FN
FF

S355

355

JR
J0
J2
K2

+20
0
-20
-20

FN
FN
FF
FF

Steel
grade

Yield strength
min [N/mm2] 1)

S235

1) based on material thickness 16mm


2) FU = rimming steel
FN = rimming steel not permitted
FF = fully killed

5.2 Hot-Rolled Products in Weldable Fine Grain Structural Steels to EN 10 113 [5]
5.2.1 General Description
This standard applies to hot rolled, weldable structural steels of special quality, which are delivered in
the form of flat and long products.
The steels are used in heavily loaded parts of welded structures such as bridges, storage tanks, etc.
The minimum yield strength of these steel grades lies between 275 and 460N/mm2 and the chemical
composition is chosen in such a way that good weldability is guaranteed. The steels are fully killed
and contain nitrogen binding elements in amounts sufficient to bind the available nitrogen. The steels
have a fine grain structure.
5.2.2 Delivery Conditions
The supply condition for all products is normalized or normalizing formed (N) or thermomechanically
formed (M) as defined in Appendix 3.
5.2.3 Classification of Qualities
All grades can be delivered in the following qualities:
KG: for qualities with specified minimum values of impact energy at temperatures not lower than -20C.
KT: extra low temperature with specified minimum values of impact energy at extra low temperatures
not lower than -50C.
5.2.4 Designation
The designation of the steels consists of the following:
The number of the standard EN 10113.
The symbol S.
The indication of the minimum specified yield strength for thicknesses 16mm expressed in
N/mm2, preceded by S.
The delivery condition N or M.
The capital letter for the quality with specified minimum values of impact energy at temperatures
not lower than -50C.
Example: Steel with a specified minimum yield strength at ambient temperature of 355 N/mm2, thermomechanically formed, which is appropriate for the application at -50C:
EN 10025-3
S355
M
L
Standard

Grade

Lecture 2.4: Steel Grades and Qualities

Supply condition

Impact test at -50C


341

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

5.2.5 Steel Grades and Qualities


The steel grades and qualities of this standard are summarized as follows:
Steel
grade

Quality

Impact test
Yield strength
min [N/mm2] 1) temperature (oC)

S275

M or N
ML or NL

275

-20
-50

S355

M or N
ML or NL

355

-20
-50

S420

M or N
ML or NL

420

-20
-50

S460

M or N
ML or NL

460

-20
-50

1) for thickness 16mm

It should be noted that for the impact test, values are specified for the longitudinal and for the transverse direction, whereas for EN 10 025 [4] only values in the longitudinal direction are required. Minimum values are also quoted for higher test temperatures but, unless specified at the time of the enquiry
and order, the impact value shall be verified with longitudinal test pieces tested at either -20C or -50C
according to quality.
5.3 Structural Steels for Offshore Applications
In the last ten years, specifications for steel grades for the offshore industry have developed mainly
for applications in the North Sea where the steel specifications are at present the most demanding in
the world. Quality improvements have been required by more challenging operations, e.g. drilling and
production in deeper waters and arctic areas, or as a result of more demanding safety philosophies.
Structural steels have had to be developed in order to guarantee the following properties:
High yield strength ( 355 N/mm2).
Good resistance to brittle fracture in both longitudinal and transverse directions.
Excellent weldability.
Unchanged properties after stress-relieving and flame-straightening.
Resistance to lamellar tearing
Good internal soundness.
In order to obtain a combination of all these properties, considerable progress has had to be made in
steelmaking and in rolling.
A European standard for offshore steel grades does not exist at present. These grades are specified
in material specifications established mainly by the oil companies. As each oil company has its own
specifications, the requirements for a particular offshore steel grade may differ from one company to
another.
The requirements for offshore steels are much more severe than for all other structural applications. To
demonstrate this point, the requirements for chemical composition and toughness of the following four
structural steel grades each with a minimum yield strength of 355 N/mm2 are compared in Appendix 4:
S355 K2 G3
to EN 10 025 [4]
S355 N
to EN 10 113-2 [5]
S355 M
to EN 10 113-3 [5]
Offshore grade 355 (typical for the North Sea).
It can be seen in Appendix 4 that with the increasing toughness requirements the maximum carbon
content is reduced and is very low (0,12% maximum) for the offshore steel grade. Note that the loss
of strength due to the reduced carbon content is mainly balanced by the use of microalloys and/or by
thermomechanical rolling.
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Furthermore offshore steel specifications require very low phosphorus and sulphur contents.
As weldability is one of the most important properties of an offshore steel grade, a maximum carbon
equivalent is specified for these steels (as is the case for most structural steels).
In order to guarantee high resistance against brittle fracture, the toughness requirements for offshore
steel grades are extremely high. For this type of steel, the requirements for the transverse direction are
even higher than those for the longitudinal direction of the other structural steel grades, see Figure 4.

Figure 4 Comparison of the Charpy V-notch impact properties


of structural steel with a minimum yield strength of 355 N/mm2

5.4 Anti-lamellar Steel Grades


5.4.1 General Description
Anti-lamellar steel grades are structural steels having a high resistance to lamellar tearing, which is
a cracking phenomenon occurring especially beneath welded joints, Figure 5.

Figure 5 Lamellar tearing


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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Three factors contribute to the occurrence of lamellar tearing:


(a) Poor ductility in the thickness direction, i.e. perpendicular to the surface.
(b) Structural restraint.
(c) Joint design.
As (b) and (c) are not related to steel quality, they are not discussed in this section.
In general, rolled steels have ductility properties in the thickness (Z-direction) which are inferior to those
in the rolling direction. The main reason for low through-thickness ductility is non-metallic inclusions,
mainly of manganese sulphide and manganese silicate which are elongated in the direction of rolling.
A high level of through-thickness ductility is obtained by special ladle treatment during steelmaking
that ensures a very low sulphur content and a controlled shape of non-metallic inclusions.
5.4.2 Anti-lamellar Qualities
Resistance to lamellar tearing is expressed in terms of reduction in area of through-thickness tensile
tests.
According to EN 10 164 [7], three anti-lamellar quality levels can be ordered:
Quality

Reduction in area in trough-thickness


direction (%)

Z15

15 (minimum)

Z25

25 (minimum)

Z35

35 (minimum)

Recommendations for use are:


Z15: for welded joints subjected to moderate stresses
Z25: for welded joints subjected to severe stresses
Z35: for heavily stressed welded joints and substantial restraint.
5.5 Weathering Steel to EN 10 155 [6]
5.5.1 General Description
A disadvantage of non-alloyed structural steels is their corrosion tendency under atmospheric conditions.
They usually have to be coated or painted in order to protect the surface against moisture, oxygen and
aggressive chemicals. To reduce rust formation and thus avoid painting, weathering steels have been
developed.
Weathering steels belong to a family of atmospheric corrosion resistant low alloy steels intended for
applications requiring long service life and low maintenance costs.
These steels are produced by the addition of small amounts of alloying elements, especially copper, to
ordinary steel. A copper content of 0,2 - 0,3% improves the corrosion resistance up to 50% compared
with copper-free steel. Phosphorus reinforces the action of copper. A further improvement in the corrosion resistance of copper-containing steels can be obtained by small additions of chromium and nickel.
These two elements are very effective in industrial atmospheres polluted by sulphur dioxide.
Weathering steel can be used in the unpainted condition. Due to natural changes in the weather, the
steel surface is progressively covered by a protective layer, red-brownish in colour, which results in a
decrease in the corrosion rate.
Weathering steels are used for architectural, decorative and industrial applications. The main industrial
uses are in applications requiring minimum maintenance, such as halls, bridges and electric transmission towers.
5.5.2 Corrosion Resistance
During the early period of atmospheric exposure, rust forms on weathering steel just as in the case of
ordinary steel. As the rust layer grows, it becomes a dense protective oxide film or patina which adheres
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

tightly to the base metal. This patina forms a protective barrier between the steel and the atmosphere,
thereby inhibiting further corrosion.
The formation of the patina is strongly dependent on local environmental and climatic conditions. In
order to acquire a tight protective oxide coating, the steel surface must generally be alternately dry and
wet. In no case should the steel surface be continuously moist.
In marine atmospheres the protection given by the patina is less effective. However the weight loss of
weathering steel remains at a lower level than ordinary steel, Figure 6. In such an environment, supplementary protection can be obtained by painting. This paint coating will be far more durable on weathering steels than on normal steels.

Figure 6 Comparison of corrosion performance


of weathering and ordinary steels

In industrial atmospheres containing a significant amount of sulphur dioxide, the patina is quickly
formed and the corrosion rate of the steel is decreased, Figure 6.
Places where the weather coating is ineffective are:
warm and damp sites
in railway track
in water
places regularly subject to flowing water
places where the protective layer is removed by physical contact.

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5.5.3 Steel Grades


The principal steel grades of EN 10 155 [6] are:
Steel
grade 2)

Alloying

Yield strength
Impact test
min [N/mm2] 1) temperature (oC)

S 235J0W
S 235J2W

Cu-Cr

235

0
-20

S 355J0WP
S 355J2WP

Cu-Cr-P-(Ni)

355

0
-20

S 355J0W
S 355J2W

Cu-Cr-(Ni)(Mo)-(Zr)

355

0
-20

1) for thickness 16mm


2) W is a designation for weathering steels
3) P is the class with the greater phosphorus content (only in the case of grade S355)

Chemical composition, mechanical and technological properties are given in Appendices 7 and 8.
Weathering steels can be delivered as sections, bars and flats in the as-rolled condition. Other delivery
conditions can be agreed.
5.5.4 Welding
Weathering steel can be welded with all manual and automatic welding processes as long as the general
rules for welding are followed.
The weld metal should be adapted to the mechanical properties of the base metal. The atmospheric
corrosion resistance of the weld metal should be equal to or better than that of the steel.
The colouring of the weld surface under atmospheric corrosion is dependant on the chemical composition of the weld metal. A good matching of colours may however be achieved by using weld metal of
about the same composition as the steel.
5.6 Steel Grades for Hot Dip Galvanizing
For certain structural applications, corrosion protection by hot dip galvanizing is needed, requiring the
use of an appropriate steel grade.
In general, all ordinary structural steel grades can be hot dip galvanized provided that the silicon content
of the steel is at the right level. Silicon has a strong influence on the iron and zinc reaction during galvanizing, Figure 7. Steels with a low silicon content ( 0,03%) or with a silicon content in the range of 0,13
to 0,30% can be satisfactorily galvanized. For steels with a silicon content between 0,04 and 0,13% or
above 0,30%, the zinc layer may be excessively thick and present a risk of brittleness or lack of adherence.
Recent investigations have shown that the action of silicon is favoured by phosphorus.
These aspects must be taken into consideration by the steel users and the galvanizers when choosing
the chemical composition of material ordered for galvanizing.

6. CONCLUDING SUMMARY
A wide range of steels is available for structural applications. This range allows designers and

constructors to optimize steel structures in relation to cost saving, weight saving, safety, machinability, and thus overall economic efficiency.
Strong competition between steel producers and the manufacturers of alternative materials
has accelerated the development of advanced technologies for further general improvement of
both the quality and the economics of steel.
Technical progress in steelmaking and especially in thermomechanical rolling has been extensive during the last decade.
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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy


The developments have resulted in the economic production of a new generation of high strength

low alloy steels combining properties formerly supposed to be incompatible, i.e. high strength,
excellent weldability, and good resistance to brittle fracture.
For the users these developments have given new opportunities for cost savings and easier
fabrication and in this way have contributed to a considerable improvement in the competitiveness of steel structures.

Figure 7 Hot dip galvanizing of steels:


Influence of silicon content on coating weights

7. REFERENCES
[1] Stahlsorten und ihre Eigenschaften J. Degenkolbe
Sthle fr den Stahlbau, Eigenschaften, Verarbeitung und Anwendung
Berichtsband Stahl Eisen
Herausgeber: Verein Deutscher Eisenhttenleute (VDEh)
[2] EN 10 020 Definition and classification of grades of steel, November 1988.
[3] Euronorm 18-79 Sampling and preparation of samples for steel products.
[4] EN 10 025 Hot rolled products in non-alloy steels for general structural applications, March 1990
(+ A1, August 1993).
[5] EN 10 113 Hot rolled products in weldable fine grain structural steels, March 1993.
[6] EN 10 155 Weathering steels, June 1993.
[7] EN 10 164 Steel products with improved deformation properties perpendicular to the surface of
the product, June 1993.

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APPENDIX 1: REQUIREMENTS FOR STRUCTURAL STEELS


Strength
Deformation resistance
Fatigue resistance
Toughness
Ductility
Resistance to brittle fracture
Weldability
Resistance to cold cracking
Good toughness in the heat affected zone (HAZ)
Corrosion resistance
Minimal rust formation
Resistance to hydrogen induced cracking
Homogeneity

APPENDIX 2: DEFINITION AND CLASSIFICATION OF STEEL GRADES TO EN 10 020


Boundary between non-alloy and alloy steels
Specified element
Al

Aluminium

Boron

Bi

Bismuth

Co

Cobalt

Cr

Limit Value
(% by weight)
0,10
0,0008
0,10
0,10

Chromium

(1)

(1)

0,30
0,40

Cu

Copper

La

Lanthanides (each)

Mn

Manganese

1,65(3)

Mo

Molybdenum

0,08

(2)

0,05

0,06

Nb

Niobium

Ni

Nickel

(1)

Pb

Lead

0,40

Se

Selenium

0,10

Si

Silicon

0,50

Te

Tellurium

Ti

0,30

0,10

(2)

Titanium

Vanadium

Tungsten

Zr

(2)

0,05
0,10
0,10

(2)

Zirconium

0,05

Others (except carbon, phosphorus, sulphur,


nitrogen) (each)

0,05

(1) Where elements are specified in combinations of two, three or four and have

individual alloy contents less than those given in the table, the limit value to be
applied for classification is that the sum of their total contents must be less than
70% of the sum of the individual limit values.

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Section 2: Applied Metallurgy


(2) The rule in (1) above applies to this group of elements.
(3) Where manganese is specified only as a maximum, the limit value is 1,80%

and the 70% rule does not apply.

APPENDIX 3: DEFINITIONS FOR THE THERMOMECHANICAL TREATMENT OF STEEL


Thermomechanical treatment is a hot forming procedure in which the variation in time of both temperature and deformation is controlled in order to achieve a certain material condition and thus certain material properties.
Thermomechanical treatment is subdivided into the following procedures:
Normalizing forming
Normalizing forming (1) is a thermomechanical treatment in which the final deformation is carried out
in a temperature range so that the austenite completely recrystallises leading to a material condition
equivalent to that obtained after normalizing.
The designation of this condition of delivery is N.
Thermomechanical forming
Thermomechanical forming(1) is a thermomechanical treatment in which the final deformation is carried
out in a temperature range which permits little, if any, recrystallisation of the austenite. The final forming
occurs at a temperature above Ar3 or between Ar1 and Ar3. Thermomechanical forming leads to a material condition with certain material properties. This material condition cannot be achieved or repeated by
heat treatment alone.
The designation of this condition of delivery is TM.
NOTE 1: Thermomechanical forming can be combined with accelerated cooling - intensive cooling, direct
quenching - and/or with tempering after forming. Again the resulting material condition cannot be
achieved or repeated by heat treatment alone.
NOTE 2: Normalizing forming can also be followed by accelerated cooling, with or without quenching,
or with quenching and auto-tempering or with quenching and tempering. Although this procedure
is closer to controlled normalizing forming than thermomechanical forming, it leads to a material
condition which cannot be reproduced by heat treatment alone. Therefore the designation of this
condition of delivery is also: TM.
(1)
For both terms, Normalizing forming and Thermomechanical forming the term controlled rolling is
common. In view of the use of the different steel grades, it is necessary to distinguish the conditions
of delivery by special terms.

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APPENDIX 4: COMPARISON OF THE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION


(LADLE ANALYSIS) FOR STRUCTURAL STEEL GRADES PROVIDING
A MINIMUM YIELD STRENGTH OF 355N/mm2
Element
(%)
C max
Mn max
Si max
P max
S max
Cu max
Ni max
Cr max
Mo max
V max
Nb max
Ti max
Al
N max
Sb max
Pb max
Sn max
B max
Ca max
CEV1) max
1)

S 355K2G3
according to
EN10025 [4]
0,20
1,60
0,55
0,035
0,035

S 355N
S 355M
according to
according to
EN 10113-2 [5] EN 10113-3 [5]
0,20
1,65
0,50
0,035
0,030
0,35
0,50
0,30
0,10
0,12
0,060
0,03
0,20
min
0,020
0,43

0,14
1,60
0,50
0,030
0,025
0,30
0,20
0,10
0,050
0,050
0,020
min
0,020
0,39

Offshore
Grade 355
0,12
1,60
0,50
0,015
0,008
0,30
0,40
0,20
0,08
0,08
0,04
0,05
0,06
max
0,009
0,010
0,003
0,020
0,002
0,39

Carbon equivalent =

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Section 2: APPLIED METALURGY

Lecture 2.5:
Selection of Steel Quality
OBJECTIVE/SCOPE:
To describe the selection of steel quality in relation to requirements of toughness.

PREREQUISITES
Lecture 2.1: Characteristics of Iron-Carbon Alloys
Lecture 2.3.1: Introduction to the Engineering Properties of Steels
Lecture 2.3.2: Advanced Engineering Properties of steels

RELATED LECTURES
Lecture 2.4: Steel Grades and Qualities
Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steels

SUMMARY
Selection of the right steel quality for a structure is a matter of major significance as regards both the
safety and the economy of constructional steelwork. This lecture surveys procedures which have been
proposed for this purpose and presents the new rules which are included in Annex C of Eurocode 3
[1]. All these express, as a function of extreme service conditions applicable to a structure, a toughness
level specified in terms of performance in the Charpy V test that the selected steel should fulfil, with a
transition temperature at the level of 28J for instance. Numerous comparisons between the output of
different procedures are reported which, on the one hand highlight their consistency, while on the
other hand the possible sources of discrepancies among the various material requirements determined
using these procedures. Such procedures are based on fracture mechanics concepts such as those
of the Stress Intensity Factor, the Crack Tip Opening Displacement or the Full Yield Criterion. As an
introduction the lecture reviews the main aspects of resistance to brittle failure, with reference to basic
documents which the reader may find it useful to consult for more detail.

1. INTRODUCTION
There are circumstances when the integrity of a structure is governed not by the strength of the metal
but by another property, namely toughness.
Such situations generally imply the presence of defects in the structure such as cracks or sharp notches
and are favoured by the occurrence of low temperature. The incidence of dynamic loads is another
parameter enhancing the risk of so-called brittle fracture.
Thus the engineer has to consider that the concept of ultimate boundary states and the fulfilment of
the related criteria may apply and lead to a safe design only if the pre-requisite conditions that prevent
brittle failure are met.
In normal circumstances, it is impracticable to undertake a detailed 'fitness-for-purpose' analysis involving
sophisticated fracture mechanics tests either at the design stage or during fabrication and erection of
conventional structures. For such constructions, simple rules have to be developed and specified in
building codes to define which qualities of steel should be selected to ensure a safe design.
This lecture is divided into sections devoted respectively to:
A brief survey of brittle failure.
A review of different fracture mechanics concepts.
A presentation of the different approaches on which a methodology for steel selection may be
based.
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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES


An illustration of the present solution adopted for Eurocode 3 [1] and of the work planned on

this subject in the near future under the auspices of the International Institute of Welding.

2. THE PHENOMENON OF BRITTLE FAILURE


A material is generally said to be brittle if it cannot be deformed to any appreciable degree prior to
fracture. This behaviour does not imply that the ultimate tensile strength measured on a smooth specimen during a tensile test is low. On the contrary, the opposite phenomenon is usually observed. Hardening treatments which aim to increase strength are usually accompanied by a dramatic degradation
of ductility and tend to enhance brittleness.
Brittleness is neither an absolute nor a simple concept. As a rule, the susceptibility to brittle behaviour in
a given material is increased by:
the lower the temperature to which it is exposed.
the more rapid the loading to which it is submitted.
the more disturbed the stress distribution it experiences.
Brittleness is influenced by ductility, i.e. the capacity of a material to strain plastically, and by strainhardenability, i.e. the property of developing a higher strength while undergoing plastic deformation.
Ductility can easily be appraised in a bend test under strain-controlled conditions where the material
is bent round a mandrel with large plastic strains being induced in the outer fibres of the specimen
(Figure 1). The more ductile material can be bent round a smaller mondrel without fracture.

Figure 1 Ductility as appraised by bend test

Strain-hardenability is appraised in a tensile test and is quantified by the slope of the stress-strain
curve in the plastic regime. Strain hardening governs the amount of uniform elongation a material may
undergo before necking or fracturing (Figure 2).
A material showing no ductility is intrinsically brittle and produces, even in a defect-free situation, negligible plastic elongation during a tensile test and no strain hardening. Such a material is glass.
Steel usually exhibits ductile behaviour in the tensile test and the presence of some defect is necessary to induce brittleness. The defect may be a geometrical discontinuity with sharp edges constituting a
stress raiser, or an area in which the mechanical properties are locally impaired such as the heat affected
zone of a weld, or a region of local plastic deformation which may undergo subsequent strain ageing.
Often, both geometrical and metallurgical defects are present together; weldments may undergo lack
of penetration or contain cold cracks, while punches or shears may create burrs or notches. A large
embrittling effect may thus be induced.
Should the ductility of the metal at the tip of the notch be very poor, then no possibility would exist to
blunt the notch by plastic deformation. The result would be a brittle failure occurring at a load which
can be calculated from linear elastic theory as a function of the component dimensions, the notch size
and the toughness characteristics of the metal.
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Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

In the case where a degree of ductility is available, crack blunting occurs and is reflected in a degree
of crack opening. The fracture behaviour is then significantly influenced by the strain hardenability of
the metal. If little strain hardening is available, then the crack may propagate through the component
at a rather constant stress level, either by ductile tearing or brittle cracking.
Different fracture behaviour can be observed with a ductile metal which is capable of sustained strain
hardening since propagation of the defect after crack blunting requires an increasing load to be
applied to the component. Such conditions give rise to stable crack propagation.

Figure 2 Strain hardenability as appraised by a tensile test

3. FRACTURE MECHANICS CONCEPTS AND TESTING PROCEDURES


Several specific tests have been developed to assess the fracture behaviour of materials in various loading conditions and defect configurations. It is not the scope of this lecture to detail the testing procedures or review the methods for derivation of toughness values. However, it is worth listing the main
concepts and types of test as well as the assumptions on which they rely.
Fracture Mechanics has been approached in a rigorous way on the basis of linear elastic theory which
led to the well-known concept of stress intensity factor, KI [2]. This parameter defines completely the
stress field in the vicinity of a crack. Fracture occurs when it attains a critical value which is a characteristic of the material. The main assumption of this theory is the presence of minimal plastic strain
at the crack tip. With steel, such conditions may be met with very high strength products or when the
thickness is large. Table 1 defines the basic equations of Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics (LEFM)
together with the conditions of applicability.
In many circumstances significant plasticity takes place at the crack front prior to failure and crack opening may be observed before fracture initiation (Figure 3). The concept of Crack Opening Displacement (COD) or more precisely (CTOD) defines the amplitude of the crack tip plasticity under a given
stress situation. Fracture initiates when this parameter reaches a critical value (crit) which is a characteristic of the material and a measurement of its toughness [3].
The theory of the J integral is based on the same assumptions as above but computes a specific fracture
energy whose value is independent of the contour of integration and which is an alternative measurement of the material toughness [4].
It is important to mention that both the CTOD and the J concepts are designed to assess situations in
which fracture occurs in the elasto-plastic region, but imply nevertheless a relatively small extent of
plastic strain at the crack tip. To assess the risk of failure by brittle fracture, means have been provided
to estimate the CTOD or J values in a large structure containing a defect, as a function of the overall
applied loads. These estimated values are then compared with the critical failure values for the relevant
material. A well known design curve for such fitness-for-purpose analysis is based on the CTOD approach
(Figure 4).
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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Figure 3 Concept of crack opening displacement

Figure 4 Design curve

All the above procedures normally require that the product be tested with its full thickness so as to
derive a suitable toughness index. Although this condition may involve test specimens having rather
large dimensions, it can never be considered as appraising the overall fracture behaviour of a structural component. Therefore, the relevance of the transferability of the test data for the appraisal of
large structures has to be verified by comparing the computed fracture behaviour to that experimentally observed during tests on a very large piece whose size is similar to the parts of a real structure.
The Wide Plate test has been designed with this aim. It involves tensile testing, possibly at lowered
temperature, of a wide specimen (1m wide for instance) containing deliberate through-thickness or
surface cracks. A convenient evaluation of performance in the Wide Plate test is provided by the
Yield criterion [5]. When full yield occurs, then all sections of the specimen, even those not affected by
the defect, develop plastic strains so that the overall elongation is sufficient to prevent a sudden failure.
Full yield also ensures that the structure can reach its maximum elastic design load, i.e. the product
of the material yield stress and the gross section, as if it were not affected by the defect, which is an
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Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

obvious asset for safety. A critical defect length can be defined above which the criterion can no longer
be fulfilled; then only net section yielding or contained yielding are achieved. Table 2 summarises the
main concepts relating to the Wide Plate test.
There are situations in which resistance to failure is not governed by toughness but by the load
bearing capability of the net section in the part affected by a defect. This situation may occur with quite
ductile materials affected by cracks. Plastic collapse corresponds to the achievement of unlimited displacements in the net section when the applied load induces a net section stress equal to the material
flow stress. A ratio Sr may be defined to express the safety against plastic collapse for a given loading
condition. It is sometimes more convenient to use the material yield stress as a reference and think in
terms of plastic yield load. A ratio Lr is then considered. Table 3 defines the parameters.
Although the assumptions associated with Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics and Plastic Collapse lead
to quite opposite fracture mechanisms, both concepts may actually apply to the same material and even
the same structure depending on the defect size. Figure 5 illustrates this situation for the simple example
of a wide plate containing a through-thickness defect. For small defect sizes the lowest fracture resistance is dictated by plastic collapse concepts, whereas for larger defects the lowest fracture resistance
is obtained from linear elastic theory.

Figure 5 Interaction between linear elastic and plastic


collapse concepts on the fracture behaviour of a wide
plate containing a trough-thickness defect

This interactive behaviour supports the so-called two-criteria approach developed by CEGB in 1976,
and known as the R6 procedure, whose latest 3rd revision is now well developed [6]. A Failure
Assessment Diagram (FAD) expresses the risk of failure in a two-dimensional space using the Sr or
Lr parameter as the abscissa and a Kr variable as the ordinate. Kr is the ratio between the applied and
critical KI stress intensity factors. Safe and unsafe conditions are discriminated by a curve quantifying
the interaction. The main aspects of this method are summarised in Table 4.

4. METHODOLOGIES FOR STEEL SELECTION


Toughness properties of structural steels are generally classified in material standards such as the new
EN 10025 [7] and EN 10113 [8] in terms of performance in the Charpy V test. While levels of absorbed
energy may be defined for different test temperatures, a simple and classical characteristic often encountered is the Transition Temperature at the level of 28J: TK28
Any methodology for steel selection applicable to standardised steel grades must involve the following
steps:
i. A definition of extreme service conditions against which to address the resistance to fracture of
a structure, i.e. a size of defect, a mode of loading (static or dynamic) and a level of internal or
external stress.
ii. A method of fracture analysis leading to the derivation of toughness requirements as a function
of the above conditions.
iii. A relationship between the toughness requirements and a transition temperature or energy in
the Charpy V test.
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The different methods that are available are reviewed below.


4.1 The French Approach
This procedure was designed by Sanz and co-workers at IRSID in the late seventies, elaborated by a
Working Group of ATS and published in 1980 [9].
It is based on a set of experimental relationships between the transition temperatures in KIC and Charpy
V tests, which are illustrated in Figure 6, which is reproduced from the original publication.

Figure 6 Example of French relationship between KIC and TK 28

The analysis of the risk of brittle failure is based on Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics, and toughness requirements are derived in agreement with this theory. Some modifications which were introduced for simplification purposes are highlighted in the document and result in more conservative
assumptions.
A particular feature of the method lies in the fact that defect sizes are defined in relation to plate thickness so as to match with the conditions of plane strain and thus ensure the applicability of a LEFM
approach.
The main steps involved in the definition and application of the SANZ method are summarised in Table
5. The final formula leading to the definition of steel quality in terms of a TK28 index takes account of
the service temperature and the strain rate to which the structure may be exposed, as well as the scatter
in the experimental relations.
Some predictions of the necessary transition temperature at the Charpy V level of 28J are illustrated in
Table 6 for the condition of a structure operating at a minimum service temperature of 0C and possibly
loaded up to the material yield stress at a slow strain rate ( = 0,1s-1).
4.2 The British Approach
This method conceived by George in the United Kingdom was first proposed to the International Institute
of Welding in 1979 [10].
It relies on an elasto-plastic analysis of the fracture resistance using the CTOD design curve for a structure containing a surface flaw of 0,2 times the plate thickness, in a field having a high level of residual
stress and loaded to 0,67 times the yield stress. The steel quality is defined in terms of the required
Charpy V energy at the service temperature assuming a relationship between this energy and the critical
CTOD value. The formula derived in this way was calibrated against results from wide plate tests and
practical experience.
Table 7 reviews the main assumptions supporting the method and the mathematical relationships which
are derived.
Toughness requirements for a range of steel grades and thicknesses are listed in Table 8.
356

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

4.3 The Belgian Approach


Developed in the late 1980's, this method directly links the fracture behaviour of wide plates containing through-thickness defects which are tensile tested at temperatures between -10 and -50C, to the
following metal characteristics: tensile strength or tensile-to-yield ratio and Charpy V energy at the same
temperature [11].
Net fracture stress of the wide plate is first expressed as a function of defect size in terms of a linear
decreasing function whose ordinate at the origin precisely equals the tensile strength of the metal
and whose slope is inversely proportional to the toughness expressed by the Charpy V energy.
Figure 7 illustrates these relationships. Net fracture stress is then converted into gross section stress
using the specimen width as a correction parameter. At that stage the critical defect size according to
the full yield criterion is computed as the smaller positive root of a second order equation.

Figure 7 Basic figures of the Belgian model

Table 9 lists the principal rules of the model which was originally developed to document the fracture
behaviour of parent metal and later extended to appraise butt welded wide plates. In the latter case,
local values of tensile strength and toughness of the metal at the crack tip are considered by using
Charpy specimens with the notch root positioned in either the weld metal or the heat affected zone.
Hardness measurements are carried out and converted into a proper Rm when this parameter
cannot be directly derived from a tensile test. For plain or welded plates, the yield stress used in the
formulae is always that of the base metal away from the crack.
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5. METHODOLOGY ADOPTED IN EUROCODE 3


The method for steel selection adopted in Eurocode 3 [1] results from a combination and a synthesis
between the concepts proposed in the French method and the recommendations of CEGB [6]. The
Eurocode procedure is described in recent publications [12, 13] and can be summarised as follows:
This approach considers three alternative stressing conditions (S1, S2, S3), two possible levels of strain
rate (R1, R2) and two consequences of failure (C1, C2) which respectively allow distinction between:
(a) Lower or higher stresses, monolithic elements or welded joints, stress-relieved or as-welded
structures, weaker or stronger effects induced by stress raisers.
(b) Quasi-static or rapid stressing conditions corresponding, on the one hand to permanent loads,
actions of wind, waves or traffic, and on the other hand to impacts, explosions, collisions.
(c) Either ruptures leading only to localised damage not affecting human life and the stability of
the whole structure, or failure whose local occurrence implies disastrous consequences for
the global resistance of the structure or impairs the safety of people.
The Failure Assessment Diagram according to the R6 Rev. 3 [6] method which is taken into consideration is that corresponding to the so-called Option 2 which takes account of the actual tensile stressstrain curve of the steel. Figure 8 illustrates this diagram which in Eurocode 3 terminates at an abscissa
having a value of unity [1].

Figure 8 Fracture assessment diagram by Eurocode 3 (Option 2)

It is then supposed that the structure may contain semi-elliptical surface flaws whose size is proportional to the natural logarithm of the thickness (depth=ln t, length = 5ln t).
Critical Kr values are derived from the failure assessment diagram after computation of the relevant
Lr for the different stress conditions. The necessary toughness, KIC that the material should display at
the relevant service temperature can thus be readily defined.
The conversion of this requirement into a Charpy V TK28 transition temperature is finally carried out
according to the French procedure.
Table 10 summarises the major aspects of the successive derivations. It highlights the fact that the strict
application of this procedure for a given situation would first require a detailed fracture analysis according to the two-criteria approach so as to derive the necessary level of toughness required from the
material in terms of a critical stress intensity factor here denoted Kmat. Such an analysis, which must
include the respective contributions of the mechanical and residual stresses, as well as the correction
factor for crack tip plasticity generated by the residual stress, should be carried out carefully according
to a well-documented procedure such as that prescribed in British Standard PD6493 [14]. The critical
stress intensity factor at the minimum design service temperature then has to be converted to a 28J
transition temperature of a Charpy specimen. Here the rules defined by the French method are followed
[9] so as to account for thickness and strain rate effects and the scatter in the relationship linking TKIC
and TK28.
358

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

The procedure presented above should only be applied by specialists in fracture mechanics. On the other
hand, the rules included in Eurocode 3 need to be applied by design engineers who require a more convenient formulation. With this aim in mind, the authors of the present Eurocode 3 rules have analysed a
limited number of cases simulating the various loading conditions for different plate thicknesses, so as
to derive, after a statistical analysis, a simplified formulation of the rules. The parameters of thee rules
for practical application are listed in Table 11.
As an illustration of the rules, Tables 12 and 13 list a set of requirements for different values of yield
stress and thickness corresponding to the S1, S2 and S3 load conditions as well as the C1 and C2
failure consequences.

6. PRESENT STATUS OF THE EUROCODE 3 RULES


Establishing a common basis for steel selection applicable internationally as a substitute for the existing
national rules is a difficult task. Unifying a set of divergent specifications leads to new rules that are
inevitably either less or more constraining than those defined in one or other of the national codes.
On the one hand, concern may be raised against the reliability of the new rules with regard to a safe
design, while on the other hand, criticism will be expressed towards an excessive degree of conservatism liable to spoil the economic competitiveness of constructional steelwork.
The present rules in Eurocode 3 [1] have informative status. To encourage as much as possible the concept of unified rules for steel selection, cooperation has been set up between the CEN/TC 250/SC3
Committee of Eurocode 3 and the International Institute of Welding who will study the problem on a
multidisciplinary basis coordinated by Commission X with the support of Commission IX. An introductory article prepared by Professor Burdekin, Chairman of Commission X, was presented at the IIW 1992
annual assembly in this regard [15].
To contribute to the debate covering this important question, comparisons between the toughness requirements derived from the different approaches mentioned in this paper have been carried out and are
presented below.

7. COMPARISON OF SPECIFICATIONS DERIVED FROM VARIOUS APPROACHES


Available methods for steel selection differ in several respects: one of the most apparent is the form
of the Charpy requirement which can be expressed either as a transition temperature or as a level of
energy. Suitable conversion formulae are needed so as to perform comparisons between such methods.
Another factor of divergence is the definition of the flaw size as a function of plate thickness. Account
must be taken of these differences when attempting to compare the various requirements.
Nevertheless, the main difference between the different approaches may arise from the assumptions
which are made concerning the definition of the fracture model. The French approach is based on a
purely linear elastic analysis, while the British and Belgian ones assume respectively elasto-plastic and
full plastic behaviour of the structure. Another source of discrepancy could arise from the fact that the
available methods were set up at different times and thus were calibrated on populations of steels which
could differ widely in terms of chemical composition and processing route.
A major result that should emerge from the comparative exercises is therefore verification of whether
the different concepts governing the existing approaches are able to generate consistent conclusions
or, on the contrary, lead to contradictory outputs. It is clear that, if the latter situation should apply,
little confidence could be shown in those models. Their significance would be restricted to the limited set
of conditions and the generation of steels which were used during their formulation.
If consistent specifications can be derived from several models, another dimension would be conferred
to the problem since, not only the overall reliability of the specifications would be enhanced, but sources
of minor deviations could be better documented.
A significant step in highlighting the possible coherence of Charpy V based specifications was achieved
by de Meester who presented valuable comparisons between the French and British approaches in
1986 [16]. An illustration of that work is reproduced in Figure 9.
A similar approach can be used to expand this evaluation to other methodologies. It will be recalled that
some procedures express the necessary toughness in terms of a transition temperature while others
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359

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

require a level of energy at the service temperature. Means of conversion are, therefore, necessary in
such cases. Table 14 reproduces the equations which were adopted in [16] on the basis of extensive
comparisons reported in the 1970's [17].

Figure 9 Comparison between French and British models by B. de Meester

Further information is necessary in order to make comparisons with the Belgian method since this procedure requires, as an entry parameter, the tensile-to-yield stress ratio of the relevant steel. This parameter depends, among other things, upon the processing route undergone by the material. A characteristic value cannot therefore be defined for a given steel grade. Typical values may, however, be
considered on a statistical basis as a function of the guaranteed yield stress, such as those illustrated
in Figure 10 which were proposed by Dahl and his co-workers [18]. Such a relationship is used in the
present analysis to establish the necessary comparisons. Taking into account that thicker plates generally display a higher Rm/Re ratio than thinner products, data corresponding to the lower boundary or
those closer to the upper side of the relationship of Figure 10 are selected depending on the thickness.

Figure 10 Relationship between Rm/Re and Re after Dahl

Table 15 lists the toughness requirements obtained from the Belgian method applied with same defect
sizes as those considered in the French procedure (cf Table 6). TK28 transition temperatures required
by both models are compared in Figure 11, which highlights the coherence of the respective specifications, especially in the significant field of negative transition temperatures, which represent the most
severe conditions to be fulfilled by the material.
A comparison between the French and British methods is provided in Figure 12 using data which were
generated in Tables 6 and 8. Here again specifications from both models are consistent. It will, however, be noticed that the French procedure considers smaller defect sizes (as a function of thickness)
than the British method, for instance 8mm against 12mm for a 30mm thick member. This means that, for
the same flaw size, the elasto-plastic fracture analysis developed by George on the basis of the design
curve and Charpy COD relationships would lead to steel toughness requirements that were somewhat
less stringent than those defined by the linear elastic approach of Sanz and the TKIC-TK28 relationships.
360

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Figure 11 Comparison between Belgian


and French models

Figure 12 Comparison between British


and French models

A similar conclusion is reached when roughly comparing, on a same defect size basis, the British rules
to the Belgian procedure. Considering, however, that the George model assumes a design stress of only
2/3 of the yield stress and implementing this stress level in the CRM model, quite consistent requirements between both methods would be obtained. This is highlighted in Figure 13 which is drawn with
data extracted from Tables 8 and 16.

Figure 11 Comparison between British and Belgian models

Requirements derived from the present Eurocode rules are compared to those from the French rules
using the data listed in Tables 6 with Table 17 (S1 loading and failure condition C1) and Table 18 (S3
loading and failure condition C2). It is important to note that for the sake of consistency regarding the
effect of strain rate, the same value of 0,1s-1 has been adopted for all procedures. Figures 14 and 15
illustrate that, depending on the loading conditions and failure consequences, Eurocode 3 rules are
either less stringent or, on the contrary, significantly more constraining than the specifications of the
French standard from which they are partly derived.
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ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Figure 14 Comparison between S1C1 Eurocode


rules and French model for 0,1/s strain rate

Figure 15 Comparison between S3C2 Eurocode


rules and French model for 0,1/s strain rate

8. DISCUSSION
The comparison exercises reported above have demonstrated that, although the models were
derived from quite different basic assumptions and fracture concepts, and were validated at different
periods on different steel qualities and steel generations, the French, British and Belgian models lead
to consistent Charpy requirements. This agreement is reached when the procedures are compared
to each other on a carefully balanced basis, i.e. adopting the same defect size as a function of plate
thickness and the same stress level. The strain rate is an important factor, which is an explicit parameter in the French method but not in either of the others. The Belgian model does, however, take
some account of this effect through the tensile-to-yield ratio which is influenced by the strain rate sensitivity of the material. All comparisons with the French model were carried out for the slow strain rate
of 0,1s-1 with a view to improving consistency. It is nevertheless clear that the strain rate sensitivity may
vary, not only as a function of the steel grade, but also according to the applied processing route or
chemical composition. This parameter would certainly be worth being better documented so as to optimise the rules for steel selection in certain applications involving dynamic effects.
The major sources for possible divergence between the existing rules have been identified. Many
specifications are based on their conventions regarding the evolution of the admissible defect as a
function of member thickness and the prevailing state and level of stress. This results in the definition
of less or more stringent requirements. Such a situation becomes disturbing and confusing when the
procedure that the fabricator has to follow is not properly documented in those terms, or when the
computational steps are complicated and do not easily provide the possibility of carrying out even a
limited parametric analysis.
Simple rules involving clearly defined models and based on rigorous mathematical treatments,
ideally developed into analytical formulae, should constitute a preferred choice in the establishment
of steel selection criteria. On the other hand, complex methodologies involving advanced concepts of
fracture analysis may be misleading since their practical application would either be too difficult or
simplification of the procedure would result in the infringement of basic fracture mechanics rules.

9. COMMENT ON THE PRESENT EUROCODE 3 RULES


Eurocode 3 rules have been reviewed as well as the philosophy that prevailed in their development.
Comparisons with the French model on which they are partly based, reveal overall agreement in a large
range of transition temperatures, together with the possibility of shifting widely the requirements de362

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

pending on the stress conditions (3 levels), the strain rate (2 conditions), and the consequences of
failure (2 conditions): Tables 12 and 13 show that between S1R1C1 and S3R2C2 conditions, the
difference in required TK28 temperatures is equal to or greater than 90C.
These rules still require improvement and need to be discussed within a large forum of specialists. The
cooperation of the International Institute of Welding in this task will bring a worldwide dimension to the
challenge of unifying the rules for steel selection. Initial proposals for a coordinated approach to the
problem were formulated at the IIW annual assembly of 1992 [15].
It may be of interest in this regard to quantify roughly how each of the available models accounts for
variations of the plate thickness or of the steel yield stress on the TK28 requirements, all other factors
being unchanged. In practice a significant question is to evaluate the advantages of implementing in
a given type of structure, higher strength steels with thinner gauge as an alternative to conventional
grades in thick sections. With this aim, the TK28 requirements listed in the various Tables 6, 8, 12, 13
and 15 have been correlated by linear regression analysis to thickness and yield stress so as to derive
the following expression for each model:
TK28 = a - b.e - c.Re
The following b and c coefficients were derived:
French model

b = -0,64

c = -0,12

British model

b = -0,99

c = -0,12

Belgian model

b = -0,85

c = -0,12

Eurocode model

b = -0,54

c = -0,15

These values indicate that the French, British and Belgian rules seem more favourable for the adoption
of higher strength steels and thinner gauges than the Eurocode specifications.

10. CONCLUDING SUMMARY


Consistent requirements in terms of a transition temperature in the Charpy V test may be

derived from any one of three national methodologies for steel selection, each incorporating
different concepts of fracture behaviour or analysis, established at different periods and
validated with different grades or generations of steels.
Discrepancies which may appear are more the result of different conventions that have been
adopted for the definition of stress level, safety factors or defect size.
By unifying on a European or wider international basis, criteria for steel selection would be
promoted by a larger analysis of the available models and an exploitation of their
consistency.

11. REFERENCES
[1] Eurocode 3: Design of Steel Structures: ENV 1993-1-1: Part 1.1, General rules and rules for
buildings, CEN, 1992.
[2] Brock, D., Elementary engineering fracture mechanics, Martinus Nijhorff Publishers, 1987.
[3] Garwood, S. J., A crack tip opening displacement (CTOD) method for the analysis of ductile
materials, ASTM STP 945, June 1985.
[4] Rice, J. R., A path independent integral and the approximate analysis of strain concentrations by
notches and cracks, Trans. ASME, J. Appl. Mech. 1968, 35 379-386.
[5] Soete, W. and Denys, R., Evaluation of butt welds based on a strain criterion, Revue de la Sodure,
Lastijd schrift, No. 4, 1975.
[6] Milne, I., Ainsworth, R. A., Dowling, A. R., Stewart, A. T., Assessment of the integrity of structures
containing defects, CEGB document R/H/R6 - Revision 3, May 1986.
[7] EN 10025: Hot Rolled Products of Non-alloy Structural Steels and their Technical Delivery
Conditions, British Standards Institution, 1990.
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363

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

[8] EN 10113-1: Hot Rolled Products of Weldable Fine Grain Structural Steels Part 1: General
Delivery Conditions, British Standards Institution, 1993.
ENV 10113-2: Hot Rolled Products of Weldable Fine Grain Structural Steels Part 2: Delivery
Conditions for Normalized/Normalized Rolled Steels, British Standards Institution, 1993.
ENV 10113-3: Hot Rolled Products of Weldable Fine Grain Structural Steels Part 2: Delivery
Conditions for Normalized/Normalized Rolled Steels, British Standards Institution, 1993.
[9] Sanz, G., Essai de mise au point d'une mthode quantitative de choix des aciers vis--vis du
risque de rupture fragile, Revue de Mtallurgie - CIT, Juillet 1980.
[10] George, M., A method for steel selection, Document IIW-IXF.
[11] Defourny, J., D'Haeyer, R., Leroy, V., A metallurgical approach of the parameters affecting the
fracture behaviour of base metal and welded components, IIW document IX-1607-90/X-1206-90.
[12] Sedlacek, G., Bild, J., Hensen, W., Background document for Chapter 3 of Eurocode 3 Design
Against Brittle Fracture, Aachen 1990.
[13] Brozzetti, J., Sedlacek, G., Hensen, W., Fondements des regles de l'Eurocode 3 en vue de se
garantir du risque de rupture fragile, Construction Mtallique, no. 1, 1991.
[14] Guidance on methods for assessing the acceptability of flaws in fusion welded structures,
PD6493: 1991, BSI.
[15] Burdekin, F. M., Materials selection for welded structural steelwork in Engineering Design in
welded constructions, Pergamon Press, 1992.
[16] de Meester, B., The brittle fracture safe design of welded constructions, Welding in the world.
[17] Sanz, G., La rupture des aciers, fascicule 2, Collection IRSID OTUA.
[18] Dahl, W., Hesse, W., Krabiell, A., Zur WVerfestigung von Stahl und dessen Einflu auf die
Kennwerte des Zugversuchs; Stahl und Eisen 103 (1983), Heft 2, Seite 87-90.

364

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Table 1 Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics

The three modes of loading at a crack tip:


The stress field around the crack is defined by a parameter K:
u = [KI /(2)].fu() in mode I
Infinite plate: KI = (a)
Finite plate of width W:
KI = ( a).[sec a/W]

Through thickness crack in Mode I

Semi-elliptical crack:

KI = 1,12{a/[2 - 0,212(/Re)2]}
= {1 - [(c2-a2)/c2].sin2 d - 3/8 + a2/8c2
Table 2 Concepts Associated with the Wide Plate Test

Gross section stress: b = F/(W t)


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365

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Net section stress: n = F/[(W - 2a) t]


b = n[1 - 2a/W]
Full yield : b = Re
General yield : n = Re

Determination of the critical defect length at full yield. Different wide plate tests are carried out at the same
temperature but with different crack sizes.
Table 3 Plastic Collapse Concept
According to the plastic collapse concept, the load bearing resistance of the structure affected by a
defect equals the product of the material flow stress by the net section.
The diagram below plots the gross stress at plastic collapse in a plate containing a through-thickness
defect as a function of the 2a/W ratio (defect length to plate width).

Re : material yield stress


Rf : material flow stress
Rm : material tensile strength
Re < Rf Rm
Rf ~ (Rm + Re) / 2
b : gross stress applied to the wide plate
Sr = applied load/plastic collapse load = (b / Rf) (1-2a/W)
Lr = applied load/plastic yield load = (b / Re) (1-2a/W)
At plastic collapse
Sr = Srmax = 1
Lr = Lrmax = Rf/Re
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Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Table 4 Main Rules of the R6 Procedure


Box 1:
The R6 Rev. 3 Failure Assessment Diagram
The simplifying concepts behind the R6
procedure are the two criteria for failure,
characterised by:
1. Crack tip failure, where failure occurs when the
applied load equals the LEFM failure load,
(1)
2. Failure by plastic collapse, defined when the
load equals the plastic collapse load and the
displacements in the structure become unlimited.
The plastic collapse load may be formally defined
as the load when the reference stress reaches
the material's flow stress. The criterion for plastic
collapse failure is given by the ratio Sr.
where Sr =
(2)
and this criterion was used for the initial R6 FAD.
It is often more convenient to think in terms of
plastic yield loads rather than collapse loads as it
is easier to define and calculate these theoretically.
In R6 Rev. 3 the ratio Lr is used as
Lr =

(3)

From this, the load for plastic collapse is given as


Lrmax. With
(4)
The simplest FAD requires that Kr < 1 and
Lr < Lrmaz.
This ignores any interaction between the two
failure mechanisms. This interaction may be

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

allowed for by writing the first inequality as


Kr < f(Lr) and choosing an appropriate function for
f. One such function is
f(Lf) =

(5)

where Je is the elastic component of J given by


K2/E. Thus when ref is low, J = Je and f(Lr) = 1,
consistent with LEFM failure. When ref is high,
on the other hand, failure is governed by J.
Equation 5 may be used to generate an FAD
directly from the load displacement curves of
specimen tests.
The most general method for calculating equation
5 is to use the reference stress procedures so
that f(Lr) may be calculated directly from the
material's stress strain curve. The general equation
for this is
f(Lf) =

(6)

where ref is taken from the material's true stress true strain curve at respective values of ref. The
figure 6 is a plot of equation 6 as a function of Lr,
using an experimental stress strain curve for a
stainless steel.
Although equation 6 is the preferred option for R6
Rev. 3, it requires a detailed knowledge of the
stress strain curve of the material, especially
around the material's yield point. In some cases,
especially when dealing with hold plant, such
knowledge is not available. Other options of the
FAD have been developed for use in such
circumstances.

367

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Table 5-1 Main Rules of the French Model


1. BASIC RELATIONSHIP
Between KIC and Charpy V based on Transition Temperature at respectively 100MPa m and 28 J:
(S1)
2. APPLICABILITY
Plane strain condition,
(S2)
where e is in metres
3. APPLIED STRESS
Material yield stress Re, then
(S3)
where a is in metres
and from Equation (S2)
(S4)
4. REFERENCE DEFECT SIZE
For thick plates, a semi-elliptic surface defect 50mm long, 25mm deep, which is equivalent to
a 28mm long through thickness defect (a = 14mm).
5. REFERENCE YIELD STRESS
477 MPa is the yield stress level derived from S3 with a = 14mm and KIC = 100 MPa m.
6. REFERENCE THICKNESS
110mm is the thickness satisfying Equation (S4) with a = 14mm.
Table 5-2 Main Rules of the French Model
7. REQUIRED KIC VALUES vs YIELD STRESS
For thick products (e 110mm), a 28mm long defect corresponds to 100 MPa m at a yield stress
of 477 MPa. For other values of Re, the following KIC values apply, as derived from Equation (S3):
Re (MPa)

280

350

410

470

510

640

740

KIC (MPa m)

59

73

86

99

107

134

155

8. DEFECT LENGTH AS A FUNCTION OF THICKNESS


To satisfy Equation (S4) the defect length is related to plate thickness as indicated by the following
table. This table also lists the corresponding KIC values at a reference yield stress of 477 MPa.
e (mm)

10

20

30

60

80

110

>110

2a (mm)

2,5

7,5

15

20

28

28

43

52

74

85

100

100

KIC (MPa m) Re = 477 MPa 30

9. MAJOR RELATIONSHIPS
Taking account of the above tables, it is necessary to consider transition temperatures for KIC
values other than 100, but ranging between 30 and 160MPam. This can be quantified through
the following equation:
(S5)
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Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Table 5-3 Main Rules of the French Model


10. RELATION BETWEEN SERVICE TEMPERATURE AND 28J TRANSITION TEMPERATURE
Equation (S1) is used to relate a minimum service temperature above which the structure is safe
to a required toughness level expressed as a transition temperature of 28J in the Charpy test.
The minimum service temperature is equal to TKIC = 100 for a structure made of a steel with
reference yield stress 477 MPa, reference thickness 110mm and affected by the reference
defect length a = 14mm.
For other values of yield stress or thickness, other values of KIC apply and corrections are
introduced through Equation (S5).
Corrections are also made to take account of strain rate effects and the scatter in Equation (S1).
The final relationship is expressed as follows:
(S6)
in which
TS : minimum service temperature for fracture safe design
TK28 : transition temperature of Charpy V at 28J
(Re) : 60 ln

rounded to 60 ln

Te : in theory, 60 ln

(e in mm);

in the model a more conservative formula is used : 57 ln


TV : (83 - 0,08 Re) 0,17 where is the strain rate in s-1
25 : scatter of Equation (S1)
Table 5-4 Main Rules of the French Model
11. DEFINITION OF TOUGHNESS REQUIREMENTS
The necessary steel quality expressed in terms of the 28J transition temperature is derived as a function
of service temperature, strain rate, stress applied to the structure, material yield stress and thickness
from the following formula:

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369

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Table 6 Some Results of the French Method


Re
(MPa)

e
(mm)

2a
(mm)

(C)

Te
(C)

Tv
(C)0,1/s

TK28
Ts=0C
(C)

280

10

-49

-92

41

53

280

20

-49

-73

41

39

280

30

-49

-58

41

29

280

60

15

-49

-29

41

280

80

20

-49

-16

41

-1

280

110

28

-49

41

-12

350

10

-27

-92

37

40

350

20

-27

-73

37

27

350

30

-27

-58

37

16

350

60

15

-27

-29

37

-4

350

80

20

-27

-16

37

-14

350

110

28

-27

37

-25

410

10

-13

-92

34

33

410

20

-13

-73

34

19

410

30

-13

-58

34

410

60

15

-13

-29

34

-12

410

80

20

-13

-16

34

-22

410

110

28

-13

34

-33

480

10

-92

30

26

480

20

-73

30

12

480

30

-58

30

480

60

15

-29

30

-19

480

80

20

-16

30

-28

480

110

28

30

-39

510

10

-92

29

24

510

20

-73

29

10

510

30

-58

29

510

60

15

-29

29

-21

510

80

20

-16

29

-30

510

110

28

29

-42

Conditions: loading up to yield stress at a slow strain rate (0,1/s)


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Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Table 7 Main Rules of the British Model


1. BASIC RELATIONSHIP
Between the critical crack opening displacement ( in mm) of a material at a given temperature
and the Charpy V energy (CV in Joules) at the same temperature:
(G1)
2. APPLICABILITY
Fracture behaviour analysis according to the assumptions that prevail for the definition of the
Design Curve in British Standard PD 6493, which for stainless and ferritic steel is expressed as
follows:
(G2)
3. APPLIED STRESS
In the original model, a value of equal to 1,9 Re was adopted as the result of the superimposition of a design stress equal to 0,67 Re affected by a stress concentration factor of 1,2 and a
residual stress of amplitude equal to Re.
(G3)
4. REFERENCE DEFECT LENGTH
A surface crack size 0,2 times the plate thickness deep and 1 times the thickness long, which
corresponds to an equivalent crack size of 0,2e
(G4)
5. DEFINITION OF TOUGHNESS REQUIREMENTS
Combining Equations (G1) to (G4) leads to:
(G5)
equivalent to:
(G6)

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

371

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Table 8 Some Results of the British Method


Re
(MPa)

e
(mm)

2a
(mm)

CV
(J)

TK28Ts=0C
(C) #

280

10

106

280

20

58

280

30

12

12

37

280

60

24

24

280

80

32

32

-5

280

110

44

43

-17

350

10

88

350

20

10

46

350

30

12

15

27

350

60

24

30

-3

350

80

32

39

-14

350

110

44

54

-26

410

10

77

410

20

12

38

410

30

12

17

20

410

60

24

35

-9

410

80

32

46

-20

410

110

44

64

-31

480

10

67

480

20

14

31

480

30

12

20

13

480

60

24

41

-15

480

80

32

54

-26

480

110

44

74

-37

510

10

64

510

20

14

28

510

30

12

22

10

510

60

24

43

-17

510

80

32

57

-28

510

110

44

79

-39

#TK28 was derived from CV using formula (ET5) of Table 14

372

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Table 9 Main Rules of the Belgian Model

1. BASIC RELATIONSHIP
Between net fracture stress in wide plate test containing a through-thickness defect
and Charpy V energy at the same temperature:

(C1)
where CV is expressed in J and not in J/cm as in the original model.
2. APPLICABILITY
Fracture appearance transition temperature in the Charpy test is lower than the
temperature of the wide plate test.
3. APPLIED STRESS
Material yield stress on gross-section (the model may nevertheless be applied to
other stresses).
(C2)

4. REFERENCE DEFECT
Length of the through-thickness defect (critical size) satisfying the full yield
behaviour, expressed by the following equation:

(C3)

5. DEFINITION OF TOUGHNESS REQUIREMENTS

(C4)

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

373

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Table 10-1 Main Aspects of the Eurocode Rules


Step 1.1 Definition of Stress Levels S1, S2, S3:
S1

- Structural elements containing no weld, or


- stress-relieved welded elements with tensile stresses under 2/3 of yield stress, or
- as-welded element with tensile stresses under 2/10 of yield stress.

S2

- As-welded elements with tensile stresses between 2/10 and 2/3 yield stress, or
- stress-relieved welded elements with stresses below 2 times yield stress.

S3

- As-welded elements with stresses between 2/3 and 2 times yield stress, or
- stress-relieved welded elements with stresses between 2 and 3 times yield stress.

Note: Stresses here include local stresses concentrated by stress raisers.


(E1)
Step 1.2 Definition of Strain Rates R1, R2
R1 : 0,001 s-1 (permanent loads, traffic loads, winds, waves, material handling)
R2 : 1 s-1 (impacts, explosions, collisions)

(E2)
Table 10-2 Main Aspects of the Eurocode Rules
Step 1.3 Definition of Consequences of Failure C1, C2:
C1 : Localised failure without appreciable consequence on safety of persons and stability of structure.
C2 : Failure whose local occurrence may cause the global collapse of the structure with disastrous
consequences for persons and economy.

(E3)
Step 2 Definition of Defect Size:
- Semi elliptical surface defect
- Depth (a) equal to natural logarithm of thickness (t)
- Length (2c) equal to 5 times depth:

a = ln (t) (mm)
2c = 5 ln (t) (mm)

(E4)
Table 10-3 Main Aspects of the Eurocode Rules
Step 3 Computation of Lr and Kr:
Lr is computed as a function of defect size and stress level.
Kr is computed as a function of Lr from the Fracture Assessment Diagram.

(E5)
Step 4 Computation of Kmat
Kmat is the necessary toughness that must be shown by the material.
Kmat is derived from the KI corresponding to the loading conditions imposed on the structure and the Kr
value derived according to (E5).
A safety factor () is introduced to account for the failure condition:
= 1 for C1; = 1,5 for C2

(E6)
374

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Step 5 Derivation of TK28


The rules of the French method are followed but are translated for KIC values in N/mm3/2 instead of MPa m

(E7)
Table 11-1 Application Parameters of the Eurocode Rules
EXPRESSION OF KIC
KIC is the toughness required from the material taking account of its thickness and the service
conditions prevailing for the structure.
(E'1)
Re is the material yield stress guaranteed by the standard for the required thickness (t).
Units: KIC in N/mm3/2
Re in MPa
t in mm
(E'2)
= 1 for condition C1
= 1,5 for condition C2
(E'3)
ln is natural logarithm
Stress level
S1

S2

S3

ka

0,18

0,18

0,10

kb

0,40

0,15

0,07

kc

0,03

0,03

0,04

Table 11-2 Application Parameters of the Eurocode Rules


EXPRESSION FOR TK28
(E'4)
TS : Service temperature of the structure

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

375

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Table 12 Some Requirements Derived from the Eurocode Rules


Re
(MPa)

T
(mm)

K1S1
3/2
(N/mm )

K1S2
3/2
(N/mm )

K1S3
3/2
(N/mm )

1
(C)

2
(C)

3
(C)

280

10

655

939

1216

-158

-121

-96

19

81

56

37

280

20

813

1185

1514

-136

-98

-74

19

66

39

21

280

30

933

1364

1726

-122

-84

-61

19

56

29

12

280

60

1192

1744

2159

-98

-60

-38

19

39

11

-4

280

80

1324

1933

2368

-87

-49

-29

19

31

-11

280

110

1489

2167

2622

-75

-38

-19

19

23

-4

-18

350

10

818

1174

1520

-135

-99

-73

17

67

41

22

350

20

1017

1481

1893

-114

-76

-51

17

51

24

350

30

1166

1705

2157

-100

-62

-38

17

41

14

-3

350

60

1490

2180

2698

-75

-37

-16

17

24

-3

-19

350

80

1654

2416

2960

-65

-27

-7

17

16

-11

-25

350

110

1861

2709

3277

-53

-16

17

-19

-32

410

10

958

1375

1781

-119

-83

-58

16

56

31

12

410

20

1191

1735

2218

-98

-60

-36

16

41

14

-4

410

30

1366

1997

2527

-84

-46

-23

16

31

-13

410

60

1745

2553

3161

-60

-21

16

14

-14

-29

410

80

1938

2830

3467

-49

-11

16

-21

-35

410

110

2180

3173

3839

-37

19

16

-2

-29

-43

480

10

1122

1610

2085

-104

-68

-42

14

46

21

480

20

1395

2031

2596

-82

-44

-20

14

31

-14

480

30

1599

2338

2958

-68

-30

-7

14

21

-6

-23

480

60

2043

2989

3700

-44

-6

16

14

-24

-39

480

80

2269

314

4059

-33

25

14

-4

-31

-45

480

110

2552

3715

4494

-22

16

35

14

-12

-39

-53

510

10

1192

1711

2215

-98

-62

-36

13

43

17

-2

510

20

1482

2158

2759

-76

-38

-14

13

27

-17

510

30

1699

2484

3143

-62

-24

-1

13

17

-10

-27

510

60

2171

3176

3932

-38

22

13

-27

-43

510

80

2411

3521

4313

-27

11

31

13

-8

-35

-49

510

110

2711

3947

4775

-15

22

41

13

-16

-43

-57

Tv (C) TK28Ts=0C TK28Ts=0C TK28Ts=0C


0,001/s
(C)S1
(C)S2
(C)S3

Conditions: S1, S2, S3 loading modes at a R1 strain rate (0,001/s) and C1 failure consequences.

376

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Table 13 Some Requirements Derived from the Eurocode Rules


Re
(MPa)

T
(mm)

K1S1
3/2
(N/mm )

K1S2
3/2
(N/mm )

K1S3
3/2
(N/mm )

1
(C)

2
(C)

3
(C)

280

10

818

1174

1520

-135

-99

-73

61

36

10

-9

280

20

1017

1481

1893

-114

-76

-51

61

20

-7

-24

280

30

1166

1705

2157

-100

-62

-38

61

10

-17

-34

280

60

1490

2179

2698

-75

-37

-16

61

-7

-34

-50

280

80

1654

2416

2959

-65

-27

-7

61

-15

-42

-56

280

110

1860

2708

3277

-53

-16

61

-23

-50

-64

350

10

1023

1467

1900

-113

-77

-51

55

24

-2

-21

350

20

1271

1851

2366

-91

-54

-29

55

-19

-36

350

30

1457

2131

2696

-78

-40

-16

55

-2

-29

-46

350

60

1862

2724

3372

-53

-15

55

-19

-46

-62

350

80

2068

3020

3699

-43

-5

16

55

-27

-54

-68

350

110

2326

3386

4096

-31

26

55

-35

-62

-76

410

10

1198

1719

2226

-97

-61

-35

50

16

-10

-29

410

20

1489

2168

2772

-75

-38

-13

50

-27

-44

410

30

1707

2496

3158

-62

-24

50

-10

-37

-54

410

60

2181

3191

3950

-37

22

50

-27

-54

-70

410

80

2422

3538

4333

-27

11

31

50

-35

-62

-76

410

110

2724

3966

4798

-15

23

42

50

-43

-70

-83

480

10

1402

2012

2606

-81

-45

-19

45

-17

-36

480

20

1743

2538

3245

-60

-22

45

-7

-34

-51

480

30

1999

2922

3697

-46

-8

16

45

-17

-44

-61

480

60

2554

3736

4625

-21

17

38

45

-34

-62

-77

480

80

2836

4142

5073

-11

27

47

45

-42

-69

-83

480

110

3189

4643

5617

38

57

45

-50

-77

-91

510

10

1490

2138

2769

-75

-39

-13

42

-20

-38

510

20

1852

2697

3448

-54

-16

42

-10

-37

-54

510

30

2124

3105

3928

-40

-2

22

42

-19

-47

-63

510

60

2713

3970

4914

-15

23

44

42

-37

-64

-79

510

80

3013

4400

5390

-5

33

53

42

-44

-72

-86

510

110

3389

4933

5968

44

63

42

-53

-80

-93

Tv (C) TK28Ts=0C TK28Ts=0C TK28Ts=0C


0,001/s
(C)S1
(C)S2
(C)S3

Conditions: S1, S2, S3 loading modes at a R1 strain rate (0,001/s) and C2 failure consequences.

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

377

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Table 14-1 Conversion Between Energy and Transition Temperature in the Charpy V Test
In the French method, the dependency between KIC and the transition temperature is defined
through a set of experimental results which are the basis of the various correlations between
TK28 and TKIC. This relationship can be expressed by an analytical formula as follows:
(ET1)
where KIC is expressed in MPa m .
T is the difference between the temperatures at which KIC corresponds respectively to a given
value and 100 MPa m
In the same method, it is also considered that the Charpy V energy and the KIC value are linked
by the following relationship:
CV =

(ET2)

Table 14.2 Conversion Between Energy and Transition Temperature in the Charpy V Test
Combining Equations (ET1) and (ET2) leads to:
(ET3)
where T is the difference between the temperature at which CV must be calculated, e.g. the
service temperature, and TK28.
Thus, it becomes:
(ET4)
where
TS is the service temperature
TK28 is the transition temperature at 28 J
For a service temperature of 0C:
(ET5)

378

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Table 15 Some Results of the Belgian Method for Comparison with the French Procedure
Re
(MPa)

E
(mm)

2a
(mm)

Rm/Re

CV
(J)

TK28
(C)

280

10

1,5

77

280

20

1,5

10

47

280

30

1,5

16

24

280

60

15

1,55

28

280

80

20

1,55

37

-12

280

110

28

1,55

53

-25

350

10

1,4

67

350

20

1,4

11

39

350

30

1,4

18

17

350

60

15

1,45

32

-6

350

80

20

1,45

43

-17

350

110

28

1,45

62

-30

410

10

1,3

55

410

20

1,3

14

29

410

30

1,3

23

410

60

15

1,35

39

-13

410

80

20

1,35

52

-24

410

110

28

1,35

75

-37

480

10

1,23

10

44

480

20

1,23

17

19

480

30

1,23

28

-1

480

60

15

1,28

46

-20

480

80

20

1,28

63

-31

480

110

28

1,28

91

-44

510

10

1,2

12

38

510

20

1,2

20

14

510

30

1,2

32

-6

510

60

15

1,25

51

-23

510

80

20

1,25

70

-35

510

110

28

1,25

101

-48

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

379

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Table 16 Some Results of the Belgian Method for Comparison with the British Procedure
Re
(MPa)

E
(mm)

2a
(mm)

Rm/Re

CV
(J)#

280

10

1,5

280

20

1,5

280

30

12

1,5

14

280

60

24

1,55

27

280

80

32

1,55

37

280

110

44

1,55

51

350

10

1,4

350

20

1,4

10

350

30

12

1,4

15

350

60

24

1,45

29

350

80

32

1,45

39

350

110

44

1,45

54

410

10

1,3

410

20

1,3

11

410

30

12

1,3

16

410

60

24

1,35

31

410

80

32

1,35

42

410

110

44

1,35

58

480

10

1,23

480

20

1,23

11

480

30

12

1,23

17

480

60

24

1,28

33

480

80

32

1,28

44

480

110

44

1,28

62

510

10

1,2

510

20

1,2

12

510

30

12

1,2

18

510

60

24

1,25

34

510

80

32

1,25

46

510

110

44

1,25

64

# Required Charpy Energy is here computed assuming that the design stress is equal to
2/3 Re so as to fit with the British model.

380

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Table 17 Requirements from Eurocode 3 at 0,1/s Strain Rate and C1 Failure Consequences
Re
(MPa)

T
(mm)

K1S1
3/2
(N/mm )

K1S2
3/2
(N/mm )

K1S3
3/2
(N/mm )

1
(C)

2
(C)

3
(C)

Tv (C)
0,1/s

280

10

655

1174

1520

-135

-99

-73

41

50

24

280

20

1017

1481

1893

-114

-76

-51

41

34

-10

280

30

1166

1705

2157

-100

-62

-38

41

24

-3

-20

280

60

1490

2179

2698

-75

-37

-16

41

-20

280

80

1654

2416

2959

-65

-27

-7

41

-1

-28

-10

280

110

1860

2708

3277

-53

-16

41

-9

-36

-20

350

10

818

1174

1520

-135

-99

-73

37

52

26

350

20

1017

1481

1893

-114

-76

-51

37

37

10

-8

350

30

1166

1705

2157

-100

-62

-38

37

27

-17

350

60

1490

2180

2698

-75

-37

-16

37

-18

-33

350

80

1654

2416

2960

-65

-27

-7

37

-25

-40

350

110

1861

2709

3277

-53

-16

37

-6

-33

-47

410

10

958

1375

1781

-119

-83

-58

34

43

17

-1

410

20

1191

1735

2218

-98

-60

-36

34

28

-17

410

30

1366

1997

2527

-84

-46

-23

34

18

-9

-26

410

60

1745

2553

3161

-60

-21

34

-27

-42

410

80

1938

2830

3467

-49

-11

34

-7

-34

-49

410

110

2180

3173

3839

-37

19

34

-15

-42

-56

480

10

1122

1610

2085

-104

-68

-42

30

35

-10

480

20

1395

2031

2596

-82

-44

-20

30

19

-8

-25

480

30

1599

2338

2958

-68

-30

-7

30

-18

-35

480

60

2043

2989

3700

-44

-6

16

30

-8

-35

-51

480

80

2269

3314

4059

-33

25

30

-16

-43

-57

480

110

2552

3715

4494

-22

16

35

30

-24

-51

-64

510

10

1192

1711

2215

-98

-62

-36

29

32

-13

510

20

1482

2158

2759

-76

-38

-14

29

16

-11

-28

510

30

1699

2484

3143

-62

-24

-1

29

-21

-38

510

60

2171

3176

3932

-38

22

29

-11

-38

-54

510

80

2411

3521

4313

-27

11

31

29

-19

-46

-60

510

110

2711

3947

4775

-15

22

41

29

-27

-54

-68

TK28Ts=0C TK28Ts=0C TK28Ts=0C


(C)S1
(C)S2
(C)S3

Conditions: S1, S2, S3 loading modes at a slow strain rate (0,1/s) and C1 failure consequences.

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

381

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Table 18 Requirements from Eurocode 3 at 0,1/s Strain Rate and C2 Failure Consequences
Re
(MPa)

T
(mm)

K1S1
3/2
(N/mm )

K1S2
3/2
(N/mm )

K1S3
3/2
(N/mm )

1
(C)

2
(C)

3
(C)

Tv (C)
@0,1/s

280

10

818

1174

1520

-135

-99

-73

41

50

24

280

20

1017

1481

1893

-114

-76

-51

41

34

-10

280

30

1166

1705

2157

-100

-62

-38

41

24

-3

-20

280

60

1490

2179

2698

-75

-37

-16

41

-20

280

80

1654

2416

2959

-65

-27

-7

41

-1

-28

-10

280

110

1860

2708

3277

-53

-16

41

-9

-36

-20

350

10

1023

1467

1900

-113

-77

-51

37

36

10

-8

350

20

1271

1851

2366

-91

-54

-29

37

21

-6

-24

350

30

1457

2131

2696

-78

-40

-16

37

11

-16

-33

350

60

1862

2724

3372

-53

-15

37

-7

-34

-49

350

80

2068

3020

3699

-43

-5

16

37

-14

-41

-56

350

110

2326

3386

4096

-31

26

37

-22

-49

-63

410

10

1198

1719

2226

-97

-61

-35

34

27

-17

410

20

1489

2168

2772

-75

-38

-13

34

12

-15

-33

410

30

1707

2496

3158

-62

-24

34

-25

-42

410

60

2181

3191

3950

-37

22

34

-16

-43

-58

410

80

2422

3538

4333

-27

11

31

34

-23

-50

-65

410

110

2724

3966

4798

-15

23

42

34

-31

-58

-72

480

10

1402

2012

2606

-81

-45

-19

30

19

-7

-26

480

20

1743

2538

3245

-60

-22

30

-24

-41

480

30

1999

2922

3697

-46

-8

16

30

-7

-34

-50

480

60

2554

3736

4625

-21

17

38

30

-24

-51

-66

480

80

2836

4142

5073

-11

27

47

30

-32

-59

-73

480

110

3189

4643

5617

38

57

30

-40

-67

-80

510

10

1490

2138

2769

-75

-39

-13

29

16

-10

-29

510

20

1852

2697

3448

-54

-16

29

-27

-44

510

30

2124

3105

3928

-40

-2

22

29

-10

-37

-54

510

60

2713

3970

4914

-15

23

44

29

-27

-54

-70

510

80

3013

4400

5390

-5

33

53

29

-35

-62

-76

510

110

3389

4933

5968

44

63

29

-43

-70

-84

TK28Ts=0C TK28Ts=0C TK28Ts=0C


(C)S1
(C)S2
(C)S3

Conditions: S1, S2, S3 loading modes at a slow strain rate (0,1/s) and C2 failure consequences.

382

Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality

Section 2: APPLIED METALURGY

Lecture 2.6:
Weldability of Structural Steels
OBJECTIVE/SCOPE:
The lecture briefly discusses the basics of the welding process and then examines the factors governing the weldability of structural steels.

PREREQUISITES
None

RELATED LECTURES
Lectures 2.3: Engineering Properties of Steels
Lecture 2.4: Steel Grades and Qualities
Lecture 2.5: Selection of Steel Quality
Lecture 3.3: Principles of Welding
Lecture 3.4: Welding Processes
Lectures 11.2: Welded Connections

SUMMARY
The fundamental aspects of the welding process are discussed. The lecture then focuses on the metallurgical parameters affecting the weldability of structural steels. A steel is considered to exhibit good
weldability if joints in the steel possess adequate strength and toughness in service.
Solidification cracking, heat affected zone - liquation cracking, hydrogen-induced cracking, lamellar tearing, and re-heat cracking are described. These effects are detrimental to the performance of welded
joints. Measures required to avoid them are examined.

1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 A Brief Description of the Welding Process
Welding is a joining process in which joint production can be achieved with the use of high temperatures, high pressures or both. In this lecture, only the use of high temperatures to produce a joint is
discussed since this is, by far, the most common method of welding structural steels. It is essentially a
process in which an intense heat source is applied to the surfaces to be joined to achieve local melting.
It is common for further filler metal to be added to the molten weld pool to bridge the gap between the
surfaces and to produce the required weld shape and dimensions on cooling. The most common welding processes for structural steelwork use an electric arc maintained between the filler metal rod and the
workpiece to provide the intense heat source.
If unprotected, the molten metal in the weld pool can readily absorb oxygen and nitrogen from the atmosphere. This absorption would lead to porosity and brittleness in the solidified weld metal. The techniques used to avoid gas absorption in the weld pool vary according to the welding process. The main
welding processes used to join structural steels are considered in more detail below.
1.2 The Main Welding Processes
a. Manual Metal Arc welding (MMA)
In this process, the welder uses a metal stick electrode with a fusible mineral coating, in a holder connected to an electrical supply. An arc is struck between the electrode and the weld area which completes
the return circuit to the electricity supply. The arc melts both the electrode and the surface region of the
Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

383

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

workpiece. Electromagnetic forces created in the arc help to throw drops of the molten electrode onto
the molten area of the workpiece where the two metals fuse to form the weld pool.
The electrode coating of flux contributes to the content of the weld pool by direct addition of metal and
by metallurgical reactions which refine the molten metal. The flux also provides a local gaseous atmosphere which prevents absorption of atmospheric gases by the weld metal.
There are many types of electrodes. The main differences between them are in the flux coating. The
three main classes of electrode are shown below:
1. Rutile: General purpose electrodes for applications which do not require strict control of
mechanical properties. These electrodes contain a high proportion of titanium oxide in the flux
coating.
2. Basic: These electrodes produce welds with better strength and notch toughness than rutile.
The electrodes have a coating which contains calcium carbonate and other carbonates and
fluorspar.
3. Cellulosic: The arc produced by this type of electrode is very penetrating. These electrodes
have a high proportion of combustible organic materials in their coating.
b. Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)
This process uses a bare wire electrode and a flux added separately as granules or powder over the arc
and weld pool. The flux protects the molten metal by forming a layer of slag and it also stabilises the arc.
The process is used mainly in a mechanical system feeding a continuous length of wire from a coil whilst
the welding lead is moved along the joint. A SAW machine may feed several wires, one behind the other,
so that a multi-run weld can be made. Submerged arc welding produces more consistent joints than
manual welding, but it is not suitable for areas of difficult access.
c. Gas shielded welding
In this process, a bare wire electrode is used and a shielding gas is fed around the arc and weld pool.
This gas prevents contamination of the electrode and weld pool by air. There are three main variations of this process as shown below:
1. MIG (metal-inert gas) welding - Argon or helium gas is used for shielding. This process is
generally used for non-ferrous metals.
2. MAG (metal-active gas) welding - Carbon dioxide (usually mixed with argon) is used for
shielding. This process is generally used for carbon and carbon-manganese steels.
3. TIG (tungsten-inert gas) - Argon or helium gas is used for shielding and the arc struck
between the workpiece and a non-consumable tungsten electrode. This process is generally
used for thin sheet work and precision welding.

(a)

(b)
Figure 1 The two basic types of welds: (a) but weld, (b) fillet weld

1.3 Welded Joint Design and Preparation


There are two basic types of welded joints known as butt and fillet welds [1]. Schematic views of these
two weld types are shown in Figure 1. The actual shape of a weld is determined by the preparation of
the area to be joined. The type of weld preparation depends on the welding process and the fabrication procedure. Examples of different weld preparations are shown in Figure 2. The weld joint has to
be located and shaped in such a way that it is easily accessible in terms of both the welding process
and welding position. The detailed weld shape is designed to distribute the available heat adequately and
384

Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

to assist the control of weld metal penetration and thus to produce a sound joint. Operator induced
defects such as lack of penetration and lack of fusion can be difficult to avoid if the joint preparation and
design prevent good access for welding.

Figure 2 Specifications for different weld preparations


Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

385

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

1.4 The Effect of the Welding Thermal Cycle on the Microstructure


The intense heat involved in the welding process influences the microstructure of both the weld metal
and the parent metal close to the fusion boundary (the boundary between solid and liquid metal). As
such, the welding cycle influences the mechanical properties of the joint.
The molten weld pool is rapidly cooled since the metals being joined act as an efficient heat sink. This
cooling results in the weld metal having a chill cast microstructure. In the welding of structural steels, the
weld filler metal does not usually have the same composition as the parent metal. If the compositions
were the same, the rapid cooling could result in hard and brittle phases, e.g. martensite, in the weld metal
microstructure. This problem is avoided by using weld filler metals with lower carbon content than the
parent steel.
The parent metal close to the molten weld pool is heated rapidly to a temperature which depends on the
distance from the fusion boundary. Close to the fusion boundary, peak temperatures near the melting
point are reached, whilst material only a few millimetres away may only reach a few hundred degrees
Celsius. The parent material close to the fusion boundary is heated into the austenite phase field. On
cooling, this region transforms to a microstructure which is different from the rest of the parent material.
In this region the cooling rate is usually rapid, and hence there is a tendency towards the formation of
low temperature transformation structures, such as bainite and martensite, which are harder and more
brittle than the bulk of the parent metal. This region is known as the heat affected zone (HAZ).
The microstructure of the HAZ is influenced by three factors:
1. The chemical composition of the parent metal.
2. The heat input rate during welding.
3. The cooling rate in the HAZ after welding.
The chemical composition of the parent metal is important since it determines the hardenability of the
HAZ. The heat input rate is significant since it directly affects the grain size in the HAZ. The longer the
time spent above the grain coarsening temperature of the parent metal during welding, the coarser the
structure in the HAZ. Generally, a high heat input rate leads to a longer thermal cycle and thus a coarser
HAZ microstructure. It should be noted that the heat input rate also affects the cooling rate in the HAZ.
As a general rule, the higher the heat input rate the lower the cooling rate. The value of heat input rate
is a function of the welding process parameters: arc voltage, arc current and welding speed. In addition
to heat input rate, the cooling rate in the HAZ is influenced by two other factors. First, the joint design
and thickness are important since they determine the rate of heat flow away from the weld during cooling.
Secondly, the temperature of the parts being joined, i.e. any pre-heat, is significant since it determines
the temperature gradient which exists between the weld and parent metal.
1.5 Residual Welding Stresses and Distortion
The intense heat associated with welding causes the region of the weld to expand. On cooling contraction occurs. This expansion and subsequent contraction is resisted by the surrounding cold material leading to a residual stress field being set up in the vicinity of the weld. Within the weld metal the residual
stress tends to be predominantly tensile in nature. This tensile residual stress is balanced by a compressive stress induced in the parent metal [2]. A schematic view of the residual stress field obtained for
longitudinal weld shrinkage is shown in Figure 3. The tensile residual stresses are up to yield point in
magnitude in the weld metal and HAZ. It is important to note that the residual stresses arise because
the material undergoes local plastic strain. This strain may result in cracking of the weld metal and HAZ
during welding, distortion of the parts to be joined or encouragement of brittle failure during service.

Figure 3 Longitudinal residual stress field for a but weld


386

Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Transverse and longitudinal contractions resulting from welding can lead to distortion if the hot weld
metal is not symmetrical about the neutral axis of a fabrication [2]. A typical angular rotation in a single
V butt weld is shown in Figure 4a. The rotation occurs because the major part of the weld is on one side
of the neutral axis of the plate, thus inducing greater contraction stresses on that side. This leads to a
distortion known as cusping in a plate fabrication, as shown in Figure 4b. Weld distortion can be controlled by pre-setting or pre-bending a joint assembly to compensate for the distortion or by restraining
the weld to resist distortion. Examples of both these methods are shown in Figure 5. Distortion problems
are most easily avoided by using the correct weld preparation. The use of non-symmetrical double sided
welds such as those shown in Figure 2e and 2i accommodates distortion. The distortion from the small
side of the weld (produced first) is removed when the larger weld is put on the other side. This technique
is known as balanced welding.

Figure 4 Weld distortion

Figure 5 Two approaches to controlling weld distortion

It is not possible to predict accurately the distortion in a geometrically complicated fabrication, but one
basic rule should be followed. This rule is that welding should preferably be started at the centre of a
fabrication and all succeeding welds be made from the centre out, thus encouraging contractions to
occur in the free condition.
If distortion is not controlled, there are two methods of correcting it; force and heat. The distortion of
light sections can be eliminated simply by using force, e.g. the use of hydraulic jacks and presses. In
the case of heavier sections, local heating and cooling is required to induce thermal stresses counteracting those already present.
Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

387

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

1.6 Residual Stress Relief


The most common and efficient way of relieving residual stresses is by heating. Raising the temperature results in a lower yield stress and allows creep to occur. Creep relieves the residual stresses through
plastic deformation. Steel welded components are usually heated to a low red heat (600C) during stress
relieving treatments. The heating and cooling rates during this thermal stress relief must be carefully
controlled otherwise further residual stress patterns may be set up in the welded component. There is a
size limit to the structures which can be thermally stress relieved both because of the size of the ovens
required and the possibility of a structure distorting under its own weight. It is possible, however, to heat
treat individual joints in a large structure by placing small ovens around the joints or by using electric
heating elements.
Other methods of stress relief rely on thermal expansion providing mechanical forces capable of counteracting the original residual stresses. This technique can be applied in-situ but a precise knowledge of
the location of the compressive residual stresses is vital, otherwise the level of residual stress may be
increased rather than decreased. Purely mechanical stress relief can also be applied provided sufficient
is available to accommodate the necessary plastic deformation.

2. THE WELDABILITY OF STRUCTURAL STEELS


2.1 Introduction
If weld preparation is good and operator induced defects (e.g. lack of penetration or fusion) are avoided,
all the common structural steels can be successfully welded. However, a number of these steels may
require special treatments to achieve a satisfactory joint. These treatments are not convenient in all
cases. The difficulty in producing satisfactory welded joints in some steels arises from the extremes of
heating, cooling and straining associated with the welding process combined with microstructural
changes and environmental interactions that occur during welding. It is not possible for some structural
steels to tolerate these effects without joint cracking occurring. The various types of cracking which
can occur and the remedial measures which can be taken are discussed below.
2.2 Weld Metal Solidification Cracking
Solidification of the molten weld pool occurs by the growth of crystals away from the fusion boundary
and towards the centre of the weld pool, until eventually there is no remaining liquid. In the process
of crystal growth, solute and impurity elements are pushed ahead of the growing interface. This process
is not significant until the final stages of solidification when the growing crystals interlock at the centre
of the weld. The high concentration of solute and impurity elements can then result in the production of
a low freezing point liquid at the centre of the weld. This acts as a line of weakness and can cause
cracking to occur under the influence of transverse shrinkage strains. Impurity elements such as sulphur
and phosphorus are particularly important in this type of cracking since they cause low melting point
silicides and phosphides to be present in the weld metal [3]. A schematic view of solidification cracking
is shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6 Solidification cracking


388

Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Weld metals with a low susceptibility to solidification cracking (low sulphur and phosphorous) are available for most structural steels, but cracking may still arise in the following circumstances:
a. If joint movement occurs during welding, e.g. as a result of distortion. A typical example of this
is welding around a patch or nozzle. If the weld is continuous, the contraction of the first part
of the weld imposes a strain during solidification of the rest of the weld.
b. If contamination of the weld metal with elements such a sulphur and phosphorus occur. A typical
example of this is the welding of articles with a sulphur rich scale, such as a component in a
sulphur containing environment.
c. If the weld metal has to bridge a large gap, e.g. poor fit-up. In this case the depth to width ratio
of the weld bead may be small. Contraction of the weld results in a large strain being imposed
on the centre of the weld.
d. If the parent steel is not suitable in the sense that the diffusion of impurity elements from the
steel into the weld metal can make it susceptible to cracking. Cracking susceptibility depends
on the content of alloying element with the parent metal and can be expressed in the following
equation:
Hot cracking susceptibility =
Note: The higher the number, the greater the susceptibility.
Solidification cracking can be controlled by careful choice of parent metal composition, process
parameters and joint design to avoid the circumstances previously outlined.
2.3 Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) Cracking
2.3.1 Liquation cracking (burning)
The parent material in the HAZ does not melt as a whole, but the temperature close to the fusion
boundary may be so high that local melting can occur at grain boundaries due to the presence of
constituents having a lower melting point than the surrounding matrix. Fine cracks may be produced
in this region if the residual stress is high. These cracks can be extended by fabrication stresses or
during service [3]. A schematic view of liquation cracking is shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7 HAZ liquation cracking

In steels the low melting point grain boundary films can be formed from impurities such as sulphur,
phosphorus, boron, arsenic and tin. As with solidification cracking, increased carbon, sulphur and phosphorous make the steel more prone to cracking.
There are two main ways of avoiding liquation cracking. First, care should be taken to make sure that
the sulphur and phosphorus levels in the parent metal are low. Unfortunately, many steel specifications permit high enough levels of sulphur and phosphorus to introduce a risk of liquation cracking.
Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

389

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

Secondly, the risk of liquation cracking is affected by the welding process used. Processes incorporating a relatively high heat input rate, such as submerged arc or electroslag welding, lead to a greater
risk of liquation cracking than, for example, manual metal arc welding. This is the case since the HAZ
spends longer at the liquation temperature (allowing greater segregation of low melting point elements)
and there is a greater amount of thermal strain accompanying welding.
2.3.2 Hydrogen induced cracking
This form of cracking (also known as HAZ, underbead, cold or delayed cracking) occurs in the HAZ at
temperatures less than 200C. Cracks can form within minutes of welding or be delayed for several
days. Three factors must co-exist if cracking is to occur. These factors are:
a. The presence of hydrogen
Hydrogen is introduced into the molten weld pool during welding as a result of the decomposition of
hydrogen containing compounds in the arc, e.g. moisture, grease paint and rust. Once the gas has
dissolved in the weld metal, it can diffuse rapidly into the HAZ both during cooling and at ambient
temperatures. In due course, the hydrogen will diffuse out of the steel. The diffusion can take a period
of weeks for a thick-walled vessel.
b. A susceptible weld metal or HAZ
The cooling rate following most fusion welding processes is relatively rapid. This cooling can lead to
the formation of martensite or other hardened structures in the HAZ and possibly the weld metal. These
structures can be embrittled by the presence of only small quantities of hydrogen.
c. A high level of residual stress after welding
Cracking develops under the action of the residual stresses from welding in the susceptible microstructure of the HAZ or weld metal, where embrittlement has occurred due to the presence of hydrogen in
solution [3]. A schematic view of hydrogen cracking in the HAZ of different weld designs is illustrated
in Figure 8.

Figure 8 Hydrogen-induced HAZ cracking

The methods of avoiding hydrogen cracking involve removing or limiting one of the three factors
which are necessary for it to occur. Hydrogen cracking can be avoided by choosing a material which
does not harden in the HAZ or weld metal with the particular welding process employed. The likelihood of hardening in the HAZ is controlled by the cooling rate after welding and the hardenability of
the parent steel. The hardenability of a steel is governed by its composition. A useful way of describing
hardenability is to assess the total contribution to it of all the elements that are present in the steel.
This assessment is done by an empirical formula which defines a carbon equivalent value (CEV) and
takes account of the important elements which affect hardenability. A typical formula for the CEV
(accepted in British Standards) is shown below:
CEV =
As a general rule, hardening in the HAZ can be avoided by using a steel with a CEV of less than 0,42
although it should be noted that the welding process parameters influence this value.
390

Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Increasing the heat input rate of the welding process (where possible) is beneficial since it results in
a slower cooling rate after welding and therefore a lower likelihood of hardening in the HAZ. For the
same reason, there is a less risk of hydrogen cracking when welding thin plates and sections, since
the cooling rate in the HAZ is less than in thick sections.
Limiting the presence of hydrogen by avoiding damp, rust and grease, by using controlled hydrogen
electrodes (properly dried basic coated electrodes) and low hydrogen welding processes (MIG or
submerged arc welding) is another step towards avoiding cracking.
If these precautions are not sufficient, preheating is necessary. Preheating and the maintenance of a
minimum interpass temperature during multi-pass welding has two effects. First, it results in softening
of the HAZ because the cooling rate is reduced. Secondly, it accelerates the diffusion of hydrogen
from the weld zone so that less remains after the weld has cooled. The minimum pre-heat temperature required to avoid hydrogen cracking depends on the chemical composition of the steel, the heat
input rate and the thicknesses being joined.
The minimum pre-heat temperature can be calculated by interrelating these facts in a welding procedure diagram [3]. An example of one of these diagrams for carbon manganese steels is shown in Figure 9. This diagram is used in the following way:

Figure 9 A welding procedure diagram for carbon-manganese steels


Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

391

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

1. Select the appropriate heat input (arc energy) on the horizontal scale.
2. Move vertically to intersect the appropriate combined thickness line for the joint design in
question.
3. Move horizontally from the intersection point to read off the pre-heat temperature for the CEV
of the steel being welded.
2.4 Lamellar Tearing
This problem can arise if the residual stresses from welding are applied across the thickness of at least
one of the plates being joined [3]. Cracking occurs if the through-thickness ductility of the plate is very
low. A schematic view of this mode of cracking is shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10 Lamellar tearing

Cracking normally occurs in the parent metal close to the outer boundary of the HAZ. The cracks
have a characteristic stepped appearance with the 'threads' of the steps being parallel to the rolling
direction of the steel plate. In contrast to hydrogen cracking, lamellar tears are not necessarily confined
to the HAZ. In some cases, cracking can occur at the mid-thickness of a plate if it is restrained by a
weld on both sides.
Lamellar tearing arises because the through-thickness ductility of the plate is reduced by the presence
of planar inclusions lying parallel to the plate surface. All common structural steels contain large numbers
of inclusions which consist of non-metallic substances produced in the steelmaking process, e.g. sulphates and silicates. These inclusions are formed as spheres, grain boundary films, or small angular
particles in the steel ingot as it cools down after casting. When the ingot is rolled to make steel plate the
inclusions deform into discs parallel to the plate surface. Different types of inclusions deform in different ways and break up during rolling. The form, distribution and density of inclusions in a rolled plate
determine the through-thickness ductility. Only a small proportion of steel plates have a sufficiently low
through-thickness ductility to be susceptible to lamellar tearing.
Lamellar tearing can be avoided in four main ways:
a. Improved joint design
The design of a fabrication can be altered to avoid residual stresses in the through-thickness direction of
a plate. Examples are shown in Figure 11.
b. The use of forged products
The lamellar distribution of inclusions in a plate is a result of the plastic deformation occurring during
rolling. The inclusion distribution in forged products is not so detrimental.
c. Plate selection
The use of steel plates with a relatively low population of planar inclusions and thus adequate throughthickness ductility.
d. Using a layer of low strength weld metal
This reduces the strain transmitted through the thickness of the welded steel plates since the soft weld
metal can deform plastically. This technique, known as 'buttering' is relatively expensive but can be used
when susceptible joints cannot be avoided.
392

Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

Section 2: Applied Metallurgy

Figure 11 Changes in weld design and preparation which


can be employed to avoid lamellar tearing

2.5 Re-Heat Cracking


The removal or reduction of residual stresses after welding by thermal stress relief is recommended
for many fabrications. In this process, the joint reaches a temperature range where rapid creep can
occur (about a third to a half of the melting point). As a result, the welding residual stresses are
relieved by plastic deformation. Cracking can occur during this process if the ductility of the weld or
HAZ is not sufficient to accommodate the strain accompanying the residual stress relief [3]. A
schematic view of re-heat cracking is shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12 Re-heat cracking in different welded joint designs


Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel

393

ESDEP STEEL STRUCTURES

The residual tensile stress which acts as the driving force for the cracking process may be supplemented by transient thermal stresses in the weld zone. These stresses arise from rapid non-uniform
heating up to the stress relieving temperature. The presence of geometric stress raisers, e.g. toes of
fillet welds, and pre-existing cracks, e.g. liquation and hydrogen cracks, accentuate the problem.
The cracking problem is most prevalent during stress relieving operations, but it can also occur in
service situations. In such cases the onset of cracking is expected to take much longer since the service
temperature is generally significantly below the stress relieving temperature.
Re-heat cracking is mainly confined in practice to alloy steels containing substantial amounts of strong
carbide forming elements, e.g. Cr, Mo and V. The presence of the alloy carbides inhibits grain boundary sliding and thus reduces high temperature ductility. Cracking can usually be avoided by weld profiling, e.g. grinding away any geometric stress raisers such as the toes of fillet welds, before heat treatment and by control of the heating rate to avoid high transient thermal stresses.

3. CONCLUDING SUMMARY
A structural steel can only be considered to be weldable if joints in the steel behave satisfacto-

rily in service.
In order to achieve adequate levels of performance in structural applications, the integrity of

the welded joint must be good. A high level of integrity can only be achieved if the welded
joint microstructure possesses sufficient ductility to resist residual stresses, which arise from
the welding thermal cycle, without cracking.
The chemical compositions of both the weld and parent metals (carbon equivalent value),
together with the parameters of the welding process (heat input and cooling rates), are
influential in determining joint ductility.
The level of impurity elements, such as sulphur, phosphorous and hydrogen, is a particularly
significant factor in determining whether crack formation will occur during welding.

4. REFERENCES
[1] Hicks, J. G., Welded Joint Design, BSP Professional Books, 1979.
[2] Pratt, J. L., Introduction to the Welding of Structural Steelwork, Steel Construction Institute,
3rd rev. ed. 1989.
[3] Baker, R. G., The Welding of Pressure Vessel Steels, The Welding Institute, 1973.

394

Lecture 2.6: Weldability of Structural Steel