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The University of Southampton

Research project: Early crack initiation processes in steel arc welds

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The fatigue life of arc welds in steel is dominated by crack propagation from crack-like features at the weld toe. These crack-like features are difficult to find by conventional metallographic techniques, but have been shown to comprise fine shallow intrusions of slag trapped between the weld metal and parent steel during solidification.

Inclusion crack
Inclusion crack
CT reconstruction of weld
CT reconstruction of weld

As the fatigue strength of arc welds in steel is much lower than that of the parent material, this project will use a range of techniques to map weld toe features and examine fatigue crack initiation and early growth. The extent to which these are affected by welding parameters will also be studied in order to maximise the fatigue life for a given joint geometry, structural steel composition and welding process.

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