Introduction: In the current fleet of fossil-fired power plants, creep strength enhanced ferritic steels (CSEF) are used to sustain the harsh service conditions. Enhanced properties of Grade 91 steel result from tempered martensite with a fine distribution of MX and M23C6 carbides. Grade 91 steel is subjected to onsite welding repair to remedy their degradation due to extreme service condition. Knowledge of weld repairability of these steels, such as as-welded hardness distribution, is essential to establishing sound repair procedures. Experimental trial and error tests can be extensive as many welding variables need to be studied. For numerical modelling, most of the multi-pass multi-layer models are based on finite element method, which are limited to solve the heat conduction equation and ignore convective heat transfer due to melt flow. Moreover, the mesh has to be pre-built based on a known or assumed weld cross-section geometry. These finite element-based models thus have limited predictive capability as defects are not considered and nugget size are pre-assumed. This research aims at developing a thermal and microstructure evolution model incorporating molten pool dynamics in a multi-pass multi-layer material deposition to predict the as-welded hardness distribution.
Technical Approach: All the thermal, physical, and metallurgical properties of Grade 91 as a function of temperature are collected from the literature and inputted into the thermo-fluid model based on Flow-3D, a computational fluid dynamics software. A multi-pass, multi-layer material deposition is simulated where the melting of filler wire into the molten pool is directly considered based on the volume of fluid (VOF) method. The flow behaviour of the molten pool is used to understand the formation of deposition geometry and defects. The temperature profiles during the multi-pass, multi-layer welding are calculated. The results computed using the new model are compared against the experimental data of fusion zone geometry and thermal cycles. Hardness prediction in the heat-affected zone (HAZ) are made using Johnson-Mehl-Avrami (JMA) equation for solid-state phase transformation kinetics. The JMA parameters are extracted from the experimental data available in the literature. For comparison, a standard finite element heat conduction model is also developed to predict the thermal cycles and hardness distribution in the multi-pass, multi-layer weld.
Expected Result: Results obtained using the molten pool dynamic simulation versus the finite element heat conduction model are compared. Specifically, the effects of convective heat transfer on the accuracy of the calculated thermal history, bead shape and size, and HAZ hardness distribution are examined.