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Four Common Metallurgical Challenges When Welding Ni-based Alloys and How to Mitigate Them

Nickel-based alloys are valued for their excellent combination of strength and corrosion resistance. However, weldability concerns can limit their potential. Engineers must select the right combination of joint geometry, welding process, alloy type, and heat treatment to avoid potential problems, something often determined only after costly trial and error testing. In the last 30 years, computational thermodynamics tools have become invaluable to help solve the challenges related to the welding of nickel-based (Ni-based) alloys.


Dr. Adam Hope

In the white paper Weldability of Nickel-based Alloys: Solving Problems with the Assistance of Computational Techniques, Dr. Adam Hope reviews four common challenges when welding Ni-based alloys, what causes them, and how to use CALPHAD-based tools like Thermo-Calc to solve them either by process or chemistry changes. Adam Hope received his PhD in Welding Engineering at The Ohio State University in 2016 and now works at Thermo-Calc Software helping customers solve their materials challenges.

Challenge 1: Resistance to Weld Cracking

Many Ni-based alloys are susceptible to different weld cracking phenomena that can be sensitive to alloy chemistry. During the solidification of weld metal, the alloying elements segregate to either the liquid or the solid and cause local composition differences. Segregation of aluminium (Al), titanium (Ti), and/or niobium (Nb) causes local variances in gamma prime (γ′) and gamma double prime (γ′′) precipitation kinetics and volume fractions, leading to a loss of creep strength. Depending on alloy chemistry, this segregation can also cause formation of low melting point eutectics, which can then cause solidification cracking. 

Challenge 2: Post Weld Heat Treatments

Segregation during solidification is typically unavoidable during welding. A solution heat treatment can be applied to smooth the composition gradients, but this is not always practical. Choosing the right time and temperature can be time-consuming when using a trial and error process.

Challenge 3: Pitting Corrosion Resistance

The segregation of alloying elements during solidification can also be detrimental to other properties, such as pitting corrosion resistance. For example, the segregation of molybdenum (Mo) during solidification can lead to local pitting corrosion in areas depleted of Mo, which can cause local corrosive attack.

Challenge 4: HAZ Liquation Cracking

Weldability challenges are not always limited to the weld metal. In the heat affected zone (HAZ), liquation cracking can occur depending on the alloy chemistry, weld thermal cycle, and the pre-existing microstructure. 

How to Mitigate these Ni-based Alloy Weld Issues

Learn about solutions to these challenges by filling out the short form below to read the white paper. 

Download the White Paper

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