Transition welds represent a challenge for the assessment of structural integrity of nuclear plant due to the complexity of the microstructure, properties and local stress state. This paper presents the initial findings of a study aimed at characterising the local microstructure and properties of a transition weld between SA508-4N ferritic steel and SS316LN austenitic stainless steel using a nickel-base filler of Alloy 82. The local microstructures and local composition of the material interfaces are characterised using backscattered electron imaging and Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The ferritic steel shows significant grain refinement in the heat affected zone compared to the base metal. This refinement is also observed in the heat affected zone of the austenitic stainless steel although not as significant. Micro-hardness testing has also been incorporated to provide an indication of the influence of local microstructure on flow properties across the weld region. The results indicate a hardness range of between 180–340HV across the weld with the highest value in the heat affected zone of the ferritic steel and the lowest in the austenitic stainless steel. Yield and flow properties derived from flat transweld tensile tests incorporating digital image correlation are related to the micro-hardness results and microstructural characterisation, and an initial assessment of the fracture mechanism performed using fractography.

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