Stress Relaxation Cracking Susceptibility Evaluation in 347H Stainless Steel Welds

Timothy Pickle, Yu Hong, Judith Vidal, Chad Augustine, Zhenzhen Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Stress relaxation cracking (SRC) has been reported as a dominant failure mechanism for 347H stainless steel welds at elevated service temperatures, occurring in either the heat-affected zone (HAZ) or fusion zone (FZ). In this study, SRC susceptibility of physically simulated HAZ and cross-welded E347-347H stainless steel welds was studied using a four-step accelerated SRC test with a thermomechanical physical simulator. The stress and temperature range studied represents weld-induced residual stress at 150-600 MPa and post-weld heat treatment temperatures between 800 and 1050 degrees C. For all temperature conditions, the cross-welded samples failed at a lower critical stress threshold than the simulated HAZ. A finite element model of a 50.8-mm-thick single-V groove weld was used to generate the residual stress maps induced by a 40-pass welding procedure, which in combination with the experimental threshold stress map predicted potential SRC failure locations. Postmortem microstructural evaluations were performed to identify contributing characteristics to SRC. It was found that HAZ samples exhibited a combination of creep void development, secondary cracks with intergranular fracture near grain boundary carbides, and eutectic phases. FZ samples showed brittle fracture with cracks propagating along straight, non-tortuous interdendritic grain boundaries.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)657-667
Number of pages11
JournalWelding in the World, Le Soudage Dans Le Monde
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-87270


  • precipitate free zone
  • reheat cracking
  • residual stress
  • stainless steel
  • stress relaxation cracking
  • weldability


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