Amrei, M.M., Monajati, H., Thibault, D. et al. Metallogr. Microstruct. Anal. (2016) 5: 50. doi:10.1007/s13632-015-0251-z
Multipass welding procedures are common methods for 13Cr4Ni steels' fabrication and repairs. Compared to a single-pass weld procedure, the weld
microstructure in a multipass weld is more heterogeneous due to the complex local thermal cycles imposed by adjacent weld passes. Furthermore, the final microstructure and mechanical properties of these steels are very sensitive to their thermal history which increases the microstructure heterogeneities. Thus, post-weld heat treatments are performed to reduce heterogeneities and produce a relatively homogenous weld. It has been found that the best option to improve mechanical properties of 13Cr4Ni steels is forming a “room temperature stable austenite” phase by heat treatments. This study focuses on the effects of these post-weld heat treatments on the austenite phase and carbide formations and the related evolutions of microhardness distribution. The study shows that nanometer-size carbides form at martensite lath interfaces and sub-block boundaries, and then at higher temperatures austenite lamellae appear at these locations. Results also show that the highest percentage of stable austenite achievable by a single-stage tempering was obtained at 610 °C. When the heat treatment temperature is lower than 610 °C, longer holding time produces softer steel while longer heat treatments at temperatures higher than 610 °C, produces harder steel. Still, double-stage heat treatments are more effective and produce the highest percentage of austenite and the lowest hardness of all heat treatments.