What’s Wrong With ASTM G48 Qualification Test in Duplex SS Welds?

The application of Corrosion Resistant Alloys (CRA) in harsh environments and severe services is gaining a leading position across the Industry. Among the different CRA Duplex & Superduplex stainless steels (DSS) represent an often-interesting choice in terms of cost-benefit ratio. Duplex and superduplex stainless steels as a matter of fact offer a competitive cost excellent corrosion resistance in many environments and good mechanical properties; they are often replacing and upgrading traditional stainless steels by closing the application gap with more noble alloys such as nickel and copper alloys. The quality control of DSS fabrications that involve welded joints cannot underestimate the possible influence of the welding process itself on the localized corrosion resistance of the material. Such alloys are characterized by a somewhat complex metallurgy which involves during welding the possible precipitation of undesirable phases & compounds that can induce an important loss of corrosion resistance in particular considering localized corrosion phenomena (e.g. pitting corrosion).During welding and materials qualification steps the most commonly specified test for checking localized corrosion resistance of CRA in particular in chloride-containing environments is the Ferric chloride ASTM G48 [1] corrosion test. So many End-User material & fabrication specifications have taken up this procedure by incorporating it and often customizing it. This is because the procedure described in the ASTM standard does not cover or define in detail many particular aspects of the test itself. This creates a number of free interpretations of the test procedure that can be associated with more or less severe test conditions and more or less easy-to-reach requirements. It can be useful to remember that the test itself is in any case not a real fitness for purpose test but more a quality control one; it is carried out under very severe conditions often more severe than the actual conditions in which components will be exposed. This also means that even small variations in the test procedure welding variables or welding metallurgy can tip the balance in the pass/fail equilibrium. The purpose of this work is to describe some fundamental aspects of test procedure and results evaluation somehow customizable with respect to the ASTM standard which may influence the test outcome itself also considering a possible review of the standard toward a more unified procedure. In this context taking into account that manufacturers find themselves in need to optimize the welding process with the aim to overcome G48 corrosion test during qualification the work also describes typical issues related to welding that could induce a negative verdict of ferric chloride pitting test.

Product Number: 51319-13118-SG
Author: Marco De Marco
Publication Date: 2019