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Weldability Evaluation of Alloy 718 Investment Castings with Different Si Contents and Thermal Stories and Hot Cracking Mechanism in Their Laser Beam Welds

In this work, weldability and hot cracking susceptibility of five alloy 718 investment castings in laser beam welding (LBW) were investigated. Influence of chemical composition, with varying Si contents from 0.05 to 0.17 wt %, solidification rate, and pre-weld heat treatment were studied by carrying out three different weldability tests, i.e., hot ductility, Varestraint, and bead-on-plate tests, after hot isostatic pressing (HIP) and solution annealing treatment. Onset of hot ductility drop was directly related to the presence of residual Laves phase, whereas the hot ductility recovery behaviour was connected to the Si content and γ grain size. LBW Varestraint tests gave rise to enhanced fusion zone (FZ) cracking with much more reduced heat-affected zone (HAZ) cracking that was mostly independent of Si content and residual Laves phase. Microstructural characterisation of bead-on-plate welding samples showed that HAZ cracking susceptibility was closely related to welding morphology. Multiple HAZ cracks were detected in nail or mushroom welding shapes, typical in keyhole mode LBW, irrespective of the chemical composition and thermal story of castings. In all LBW welds, Laves phase with a composition similar to the eutectic of the pseudo-binary equilibrium diagram of alloy 718 was formed in the FZ. The composition of this regenerated Laves phase matched with the continuous Laves phase film observed along HAZ cracks. This was strong evidence of backfilling mechanism, which is described as wetting and infiltration of terminal liquid along γ grain boundaries of parent material. The current results suggest that this cracking mechanism was activated in three-point intersections resulting from perpendicular crossing of columnar grain boundaries with fusion line and was enhanced by nail or mushroom weld shapes and narrow and columnar γ grain characteristics of castings. Neither Varestraint nor hot ductility weldability tests can reproduce this particular cracking mechanism.

Fernando Santos (AZTERLAN), Andrea Niklas (AZTERLAN), Ana Magaña, Pedro Álvarez (LORTEK), Alberto Cobos (LORTEK), Lexuri Vázquez (LORTEK), Noelia Ruiz (EIPC RESEARCH CENTER), Pedro Pablo Rodríguez (EIPC RESEARCH CENTER).

Investment casting; Alloy 718; Hot cracking mechanism; Varestraint test; Laser beam welding. 


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