High Yield Strength, Low Alloy Structural Steels

a. General. High yield strength, low alloy structural steels (constructional alloy steels) are special steels that are tempered to obtain extreme toughness and durability. The special alloys and general makeup of these steels require special treatment to obtain satisfactory weldments. These steels are special, low-carbon steels containing specific, small amounts of alloying elements. They are quenched and tempered to obtain a yield strength of 90,000 to 100,000 psi (620,550 to 689,500 kPa) and a tensile strength of 100,000 to 140,000 psi (689,500 to 965,300 kPa), depending upon size and shape. Structural members fabricated from these high strength steels may have smaller cross-sectional areas than common structural steels and still have equal strength. These steels are also more corrosion and abrasion resistant than other steels. In a spark test, these alloys produce a spark very similar to low carbon steels.b. Welding Technique. Reliable welding of high yield strength, low alloy structural steels can be performed by using the following guidelines:


To prevent underbead cracking, only low hydrogen electrodes should be used when welding high yield strength, low alloy structural steels.

(1) Correct electrodes. Hydrogen is the number one enemy of sound welds in alloy steels; therefore, use only low hydrogen electrodes to prevent underbead cracking. Underbead cracking is caused by hydrogen picked up in the electrode coating, released into the arc, and absorbed by the molten metal.(2) Moisture control of electrodes. If the electrodes are in an airtight container, place them, immediately upon opening the container, in a ventilated holding oven set at 250 to 300°F (121 to 149°C). In the event that the electrodes are not in an airtight container, put them in a ventilated baking oven and bake for 1-1/4 hours at 800°F (427°C). Baked electrodes should, while still warm, be placed in the holding oven until used. Electrodes must be kept dry to eliminate absorption of hydrogen.


Moisture stabilizer is an ideal holding oven for field use.

c. Low Hydrogen Electrode Selection. Electrodes are identified by classification numbers which are always marked on the electrode containers. For low hydrogen coatings, the last two numbers of the classification should be 15, 16, or 18. Electrodes of 5/32 and 1/8 in. (4.0 and 3.2 mm) in diameter are the most commonly used, since they are more adaptable to all types of welding of this type steel. Table 7-14 lists electrodes used to weld high yield strength, low alloy structural steels. Table 7-15 is a list of electrodes currently established in the Army supply system.

d. Selecting Wire-Flux and Wire-Gas Combinations. Wire electrodes for submerged arc and gas-shielded arc welding are not classified according to strength. Welding wire and wire-flux combinations used for steels to be stress relieved should contain no more than 0.05 recent vanadium. Weld metal with more than 0.05 percent vanadium may brittle if stress relieved. When using either the submerged arc or gas metal-arc welding processes to weld high yield strength, low alloy structural steels to lower strength steels the wire-flux and wire-gas combination should be the same as that recommended for the lower strength steels.

e. Preheating. For welding plates under 1.0 in. (25.4 mm) thick, above 50°F (10°C) is not required except to remove surface moisture metal. Table 7-16 contains suggested preheating temperatures.

f. Welding Heat.

(1) General. It is important to avoid excessive heat concentration in order to allow the weld area to cool quickly. Either the heat input nomograph or the heat input calculator can be used to determine the heat input into the weld.(2) Heat input nomograph. To use the heat input nomograph (fig. 7-9), find the volts value in column 1 and draw a line to the amps value in column 3. From the point where this line intersects column 2, draw another line to the in./min value in column 5. Read the heat units at the point where this second line intersects column 4. The heat units represent thousands of joules per inch. For example, at 20 volts and 300 amps, the line intersects column 2 at the value 6. At 12 in./min, the heat input is determined as 30 heat units, or 30,000 joules/in.

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