Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Importance of Post-weld Heat Treatment for Welding Repairs

Welding is the process of melting two metals together. During the welding process, the metal is exposed to very high temperatures and undergoes a phase change, first from solid to liquid, then back to solid as it cools.

During welding, residual stresses are formed in an area referred to as "the heat affected zone" or HAZ. In the HAZ, differential contractions occur as the metal heats, liquifies and then cools to ambient.

Residual stresses have a significant impact on the performance of a weld and their reduction is highly desirable. The undesirable impact of residual stresses in welded metal structures involve fatigue performance and corrosion resistance.

heat treating furnace
Heat treatment furnace.
pwht with resistance heaters
PWHT with resistance heaters
Welding repairs are increasingly a structural integrity concern for aging  equipment such as pressure vessels, piping systems and other large steel systems. The make up of residual stresses near repair welds can be drastically different from those residual stresses of the original weld.  Post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) is used to reduce residual stress in steel and and should be used for welding repairs ( as well as on new welds).

PWHT is proven very effective in reduction of high residual stress around the weld repair. Conventional PWHT can be done by combustion furnace, induction heaters or electric resistance heaters (ceramic pad heaters). Accurate ramp and soak times, as well as data recording can be done with modern power console systems. It is strongly recommended to apply PWHT for all original and repair welds.