Intergranular Cracking in Heat-Exchanger Welds Due to Hot Shortness
The presence of subsurface cracks in a longitudinal weld seam of an AISI type 316 stainless steel heat-exchanger shell was revealed by radiographic testing. Numerous intergranular cracks associated with the root pass of the weld, which had propagated both parallel and normal to the weld seam, were revealed by metallographic examination (hot shortness). It was indicated by energy-dispersive spectroscopy that type 316 electrode was not used for the root pass and instead a nickel-copper alloy electrode was employed. It was thus concluded that cracking was caused due to the use of an incorrect electrode for the root pass as these electrodes are crack sensitive if overheated. The weld seam was completely ground out and replaced with the correct electrode material as a corrective measure.