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2000-01-0314

430LNb A New Ferritic Wire for


Automotive Exhaust Applications
N. Renaudot, P. O. Santacreu, J. Ragot, J. L. Moiron and R. Cozar
Usinor Recherches

P. Pdarr
Ugine Savoie Imphy

A. Bruyre
Sprint Mtal

SAE 2000 World Congress


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March 6-9, 2000
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Printed in USA

2000-01-0314

430LNb A New Ferritic Wire for


Automotive Exhaust Applications
N. Renaudot, P. O. Santacreu, J. Ragot, J. L. Moiron and R. Cozar
Usinor Recherches

P. Pdarr
Ugine Savoie Imphy

A. Bruyre
Sprint Mtal
Copyright 2000 Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc.

ABSTRACT

of salt attack and high temperature corrosion. All the


results obtained confirm that the 430LNb welding wire is
at least as good as the austenitic filler materials most
commonly employed in Europe. Tests carried out on real
components by exhaust system manufacturers also confirm the high productivity and good quality of the welds.

The increasing use of ferritic stainless steels (AISI 409,


439, 436 and 441) in automotive exhaust systems, especially for manifolds and catalytic converter canning, has
led the authors to develop a new ferritic welding wire,
designated 430LNb. This new material is recommended
for the GMAW and GTAW processes and provides better
metallurgical compatibility with the ferritic base metals, in
terms of both thermal expansion and microstructure.

INTRODUCTION
The increasingly widespread use of ferritic stainless
steels (AISI 409, 439, 436 and 441) for automotive
exhaust systems has led USI (Ugine Savoie Imphy, a
subsidiary of Usinor) to develop a new ferritic stainless
steel welding wire adapted to this application, designated
430LNb. Until now, the welding wires most commonly
used in Europe are the 308LSi and 307Si austenitic
stainless steels, capable of welding both carbon steels
and austenitic and ferritic stainless grades. However, in
the USA, 409Cb wire has been employed for many years
for welding low Cr ferritic sheets.

The composition of the new welding wire has been


adjusted in order to guarantee an entirely ferritic structure
in the welds of ferritic sheet materials, together with good
resistance of the welds to both wet corrosion and high
temperature oxidation, corresponding to the conditions
encountered respectively in the colder and hotter parts of
the exhaust line. This is achieved by limitation of the C
(<0.02%) and N (<0.02%) contents, stabilisation with Nb,
such that Nb > 0.05 + 7 (C + N) and Nb < 0.5%, and a Cr
content of 17.8-18.8% .

The 430LNb 18% Cr welding wire has been developed to


meet the requirements associated with the increasing
use of high Cr (18%) ferritic stainless steel sheets, such
as AISI 441, due to the trend towards higher temperatures in the upstream part of exhaust systems to improve
the efficiency of catalytic converters.

GMAW weldability tests on 1 and/or 1.5 mm thick sheets


of AISI 409, 436 and 441 grades, using 1 mm diameter
430LNb welding wire, gave good quality beads (shape,
structure, tensile properties, bending, intergranular corrosion resistance), with a welding speed of the order of 2
m/min. The quality of the weld seams obtained was at
least as good as that of welds made on the same sheets
using austenitic filler materials (308LSi and 307Si). Tests
specific to the automotive exhaust application have been
undertaken in the laboratory in order to compare the service behaviour of the welds with that obtained using austenitic filler wires. These included fatigue endurance tests
performed in the tension-compression mode between
300 and 950C, thermal fatigue tests involving cycling of
restrained specimens between 250 and 900C, and dipdry corrosion-oxidation tests simulating the combination

The present paper shows that the new wire has weldability and service properties equal to, and in some cases
better than, those of the 308LSi and 307Si austenitic
grades. Weldability was evaluated by joining ferritic stainless steel sheets corresponding to AISI grades 409, 436
and 441. The functional properties were determined by
measuring the corrosion and oxidation resistance,
together with the mechanical and thermal fatigue
strengths. This was done with the aid of specially developed tests, which are briefly described below.
1

The results of industrial welding operations on real


exhaust system components using 430LNb wire are also
described.

MAIN SECTION

1.5 mm

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
Materials The 430LNb wire was used to weld AISI 409,
441 and 436 sheets and was compared with 308LSi and
307Si filler materials. A comparison in terms of weldability was also made with a 409Cb wire, used to weld AISI
409. The chemical analyses of the wires and sheets evaluated are given in Table 1 below.

Figure 1.

Dip-dry tests From the corrosion standpoint, exhaust


lines may be roughly divided into two parts :
the front part, subjected mainly to high temperature
oxidation, together with short periods of wet corrosion due to condensates (internal parts) or road salt
projections ( external parts ) ;

Table 1. Chemical analyses of the welding wires and


sheets (wt. %).
Sheets

Si

Mn

Ni

Cr

Mo

409

.007 .5

.004 .021 .2

.1

11.2 .01

436

.040 .4

.004 .022 .5

.1

441

.014 .5

.003 .020 .5

.2

Wires
307Si

Si

.077 .7

Mn

.009 .016 7.1

Ni
8.3

Ti

Nb

.010

17.2 1.20 -

.54

.024

17.5 .02

.55

.018

Cr

.18

.15

Mo

18.9 .12

Ti
-

Nb
-

441/441 assembly produced with a 430LNb


wire.

the rear part, exposed to lower temperatures, and


subjected mainly to wet corrosion by condensates
(internal parts), or by road salt projections (external
parts).

In order to simulate these conditions, USI has developed


a specific dip-dry test, illustrated in Figure 2, which
involves the following cyclic procedure :

.056

308LSi

.014 .9

.008 .018 1.8

10.3 19.9 .11

.045

409Nb

.056 1.3

.017 .020 1.6

.2

12.2 .06

.36

.93

.037

430LNb

.017 .4

.002 .018 .3

.3

18.0 .04

.01

.32

.017

periodic immersion into solutions carefully selected


to simulate exposure to condensates or saline
splashing, in order to reproduce wet corrosion mechanisms ;

Welding procedure In order to enable mechanical testing of the welds, gapless MIG butt welding was performed. The welding parameters were adapted to comply
with standard exhaust system welding procedures:

transfer to a furnace simulating high speed running


and the associated high temperature corrosion and
oxidation mechanisms.
Samples

Furnace

base metal thickness : 1.5 mm


filler wire diameter : 1.0 mm
voltage : U = 30 V
current : I = 225 A

Beakers, acid

welding speed : 208 cm/min

and/or salt solution

wire speed : 965 cm/min


Figure 2.

heat input : 1.95 kJ/cm


shielding gas : EN 439-M3 (Ar + 2%O2)
back protection : EN 439 - I1 (pure argon)
The same welding parameters were used for all the welding wires tested : 308LSi, 307Si, 409Cb and 430LNb.
Figure 1 shows an example of the weld seams obtained
(441/441 assembly with a 430LNb wire).
Corrosion tests
Intergranular corrosion test 20 mm wide specimens
with a central weld, cut from the AISI 436 and 441
assemblies, were subjected in the as-welded condition to
the ASTM A262-E test. In the case of AISI 409 assemblies, the modified ASTM A262-E test [1] was
employed.

Principle of the dip-dry test (alternate


immersion in a solution and exposure in a
furnace). For example : urban cycle, internal
parts 18 immersions for 5 min in a
synthetic condensate with pH = 3 at 50C
separated by 5 min intervals, followed by 60
min furnace exposure, for a total of 30 days;
motorway cycle, external parts 1
immersion for 5 min in 0.5M NaCl, pH = 6.6,
at 50C + 120 min furnace exposure, for a
total of 30 days.

High temperature fatigue testing


Mechanical fatigue Figure 3a shows the drawing of the
fatigue specimens cut from the weld assemblies. The longitudinal specimen dimensions are chosen to allow for
the seam width w. Special grips were made from a
2

Thermal fatigue A special thermal fatigue test has


been developed to evaluate the thermal fatigue resistance of stainless steel sheets. The testing rig and the
experimental procedure are described in detail in references [2] and [3]. In summary, thermal cycles are
imposed on a clamped V-shaped specimen, by alternate
resistance heating and air cooling (Figure 4). Damage
accumulation at the top of the V due to the thermallyinduced plastic strain eventually leads to failure of the
specimen. The thermal fatigue life of the specimen is
expressed as the number of cycles to failure and
depends on the maximum and minimum temperature
during the thermal cycle, the specimen thickness, and
the material concerned. The test has been adapted to
the case of welded specimens as shown in the insert in
Figure 4, in order to characterise the HAZ. The thermal
cycle is defined by a maximum temperature of 900C and
a minimum temperature of 250C, with no holding time.
The duration of each cycle is about 200 seconds. The
thickness is kept constant and equal to 1.5 mm, 3 or 4
specimens being tested for each type of welding wire.
Homogeneous 441, 409 and 436 assemblies produced
with the different welding wires were compared.

nickel-base superalloy, designed to both clamp the specimen ends and to guide them to within 1.5 mm of the edge
of the seam (Figure 3b), in order to avoid buckling during
tension-compression loading (R = max/min = - 1). In
the case of tests on unwelded sheet, the same type of
specimen was used, conserving a free zone 3 mm long
(twice the sheet thickness) between the guided parts.
Guided parts
(0.08 mm clearance on either side of the sheet)

Clamped parts

Clamped parts

.
thickness = 1.5

weld seam

45.5

w
(weld seam width)
1.5

15

124 + w

(a)

HAZ

FZ

  



Thermocouple

  

Figure 4.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

(b)
Figure 3.

Schematic principle of the thermal fatigue


test.

Weldability and basic properties of the weld seams


Weldability, in terms of fluidity, wettability and ease of
execution, was essentially the same for all the welding
wires tested. In contrast, large differences were observed
in the microhardness of the weld seams :

(a) Geometry of the mechanical fatigue


specimens - the dimensions are measured
from the edges of the central weld seam; (b)
Specimen mounting system, with part of the
top grip removed and without the refractory
string used to attach and protect the
thermocouple.

with austenitic filler metals, there is a sharp discontinuity in hardness between the fusion zone and the
ferritic base metal (cf. example hardness profiles for
409/409 and 441/441 assemblies in Figure 5b) ; this
is due to extensive martensite formation in the
melted zone, especially in the 409/409 assembly.

Heating was performed in a radiation furnace. The temperature was controlled by a thermocouple attached by
refractory string to the free part of the specimen, the
string also protecting this zone from direct radiation. The
tests were performed on a 100 kN servohydraulic
machine, at a frequency of 20 Hz, at temperatures from
300 to 950C, to a maximum of about 2.105 cycles.

with ferritic filler metals, especially 430LNb, the hardness of the fusion zone is the same as that of the
base metal.

FZ

Table 2. Ericksen cupping test results on weld


assemblies compared to those for the base
metal (BM)

BM

HAZ

HAZ

Base
metal

Figure 5a. Location of hardness measurements.

AISI 409

400

308LSI

Hardness HV100g

350

4370M

300

430LNb

250

AISI 409

AISI 436

AISI 441

Filler metal

Ericksen %
BM

Ericksen %
BM

Ericksen %
BM

Punch side

top

rear

top

rear

top

rear

307Si

68.5

70.8

66

63

86.6

86.6

308LSi

77.6

78.8

76

77

90.4

87.3

409Cb

86.5

84

430LNb

98

96

93

93

96

94.5

409Cb

200
150
100

Corrosion resistance

50
0
1

10

11

Intergranular corrosion resistance None of the assemblies tested (AISI 409, 441 and 436, with 430LNb, 308LSi
and 307Si filler metals) showed any sign of intergranular
corrosion.

AISI 441

400
Hardness HV100g

350

308LSI

300

4370M

250

430LNb

Dip-dry tests In the temperature range studied (furnace


temperatures of 300C- 800C) , no significant difference
in corrosion resistance was revealed between assemblies produced with 430LNb wire and those made with
austenitic filler metals, whatever the corrosive medium,
either synthetic condensate (internal parts) or salt solution (external parts). Figure 6 shows an example of a
specimen after testing.

200
150
100
50
0
1

10

11

Figure 5b. Hardness profiles on 409/409 and 441/441


assemblies (1.5 mm thick sheet) made with
different welding wires (4370M = 307Si).
In order to characterise the drawability of the weld
seams, Ericksen cupping tests were performed on both
welded and unwelded specimens, the punch being
applied against either the top or rear surface of the weld.
The results are given in Table 2 in terms of the limiting
cup heights as a percentage of those obtained in the
absence of a weld. In this test also, ferritic filler metals,
and especially 430LNb, prove to be far better than austenitic ones. Cross-weld tensile tests were also performed,
but essentially showed that fracture always occurs in the
base metal.

308LSi
Figure 6.

307Si

430LNb

dip-dry test (urban cycle-synthetic


condensate-600C-30 days) on 441/441
assemblies.

High temperature fatigue


Mechanical fatigue The results of tests on specimens
with and without welds for AISI 441 and AISI 436 are
shown in Figure 7, together with the static tensile properties, for the 4 test temperatures studied (300, 750, 850

Furthermore, the results on the welded assemblies are


close to those obtained on unwelded sheet, the values of
Nf = 200000 being 10 to 25% lower at 300C and slightly
higher (2 to 15%) at 850 and 950C. The ratio between
the endurance limit and the static tensile strength
(Nf = 200000/UTS) is logically less than 1 at 300C (
0.45) and 750C ( 0.70), but becomes greater than 1 at
850C ( 1.25) and 950C ( 1.45). This high temperature behaviour can probably be explained by the stability
of strain hardening at the high strain rates employed in
the fatigue tests, whereas dynamic recrystallisation during the slower static tensile tests leads to relative softening.

and 950C). For both sheet alloys and for all test temperatures, the stress for a life of 200000 cycles (Nf = 200000)
can be seen to vary very little with the type of filler metal
employed.
500

UTS

300C

450

400

400

350

300

stress (MPa)

200

AISI 436

AISI 441

AISI 441
160

Thermal fatigue Figure 8 shows the results of thermal


fatigue lives obtained for 308LSi , 307Si and 430LNb
wires used for welding of 409/409 and 441/441 assemblies. We choose to express fatigue lives by the ratio of
the life of welded specimens over the life of the base
metal. 409 specimens welded using the 430LNb wire
exhibit a very good thermal fatigue resistance compare to
specimen welded using 308LSi and 307Si wires.

430LNb
308LSi
307Si

50

307Si

100

50

430LNb
308LSi

150

100

AISI 441
AISI 441

150

AISI 436

200

Nf = 200000

250

AISI 436

Nf = 200000

0.2%YS

250

0.2%YS

350

300

stress (MPa)

UTS

500

300C
450

AISI 436

750C

850C

950C

UTS

90

Thermal fatigue ratio


100=base metal

Nf = 200000
Nf = 200000

80

60

40

0.2%YS
UTS

100

100

0.2%YS
UTS

stress (MPa)

120

0.2%YS

140

Nf = 200000

430LNb
308LSi
307Si

AISI 441

AISI 441
AISI 441

430LNb
308LSi
307Si

AISI 441

AISI 441
AISI 441

430LNb
308LSi
307Si

AISI 441

AISI 441
AISI 441

20

409

50

441
436

40
30

0
308LSi

307Si

430LNb

Welding wires
750C

850C

950C

140

Nf = 200000

80

60

Nf = 200000

40

In the case of 441 and 436 assemblies, the fatigue thermal life of the specimen welded with 430LNb wire is
always included in the range of lives of specimen welded
using 308LSi and 307Si (see figure 8) . Metallographic
observations evidence two type of thermal fatigue crack
propagation in specimen : in Heat Affected Zone (HAZ)
or Base Metal (BM) or at interface between HAZ and
Fusion Zone (FZ), as shown in Table 3 and Figure 9.

20

430LNb
308LSi
307Si

AISI 436

AISI 436

AISI 436

430LNb
308LSi
307Si

AISI 436

AISI 436
AISI 436

430LNb
308LSi
307Si

AISI 436

AISI 436
AISI 436

AISI 436
Figure 7.

Thermal fatigue lives for 409, 436 and 441


assemblies produced with 307Si, 308LSi and
430LNb welding wires, expressed as a
percentage of the lives for the unwelded base
metals.

Nf = 200000
0.2%YS
UTS

0.2%YS
UTS

Figure 8.

0.2%YS
UTS

stress (MPa)

60

10

160

100

Base metals

70

20

AISI441

120

80

200000 cycle endurance limits (Nf =


200000) for both weld assemblies (denoted
430LNb, 308LSi or 307Si) and unwelded
sheets; (a) AISI 441 and (b) AISI 436,
compared to the static tensile properties
(0.2%YS and UTS) of the unwelded base
materials, for test temperatures of 300, 750,
850 and 950C.
5

TESTS CARRIED OUT ON REAL EXHAUST


COMPONENTS Within the framework of a partnership
with Faurecia, a major exhaust system manufacturer,
MIG welding tests using both 430LNb wire and 308LSi
wire for comparison have been carried out on different
assembly configurations, two of which are shown in Figure 10.

Table 3. Area of thermal fatigue cracks


Welding wires
Base metals
409
441
436

308LSi

307Si

430LNb





The behaviours of the two filler wires are very similar. In


particular, the welding parameters are fairly close, with a
slightly higher welding current for 430LNb, probably due
to a difference in electrical conductivity. In the tests on the
racetrack converter can, somewhat higher welding
speeds were found to be possible with 430LNb wire.

indicates a crack at interface between Heated Affected Zone and Fusion Zone ;
indicates a crack in Heated Affected Zone or Base Metal.

(a)

(a)

(b)
Figure 3.

Thermal fatigue cracks : a. 441 assembly


welded with 430LNb (crack in base metal/
HAZ, ) ; b. 441 assembly welded with 307Si
( crack at interface HAZ/FZ, ).

The low resistance obtained for the assemblies welded


with 307Si wire can be explained by a systematic fatigue
crack propagation occuring at the interface the between
melting zone and the heat affected zone. In case of 409
assemblies the advantage of durability for the ferritic
welding wire is more evident. We can notice a larger plastic strain of the melting zone in case of austenic wires
due to a higher thermal expansion coefficient compared
to ferritic base metals, and which can lead to a thermallyinduced deformation of the exhaust component near the
welded seam (catalytic converter, manifold).

(b)
Figure 10. Fillet welds on Faurecia catalysts : (a) straight
weld on an AISI 409 racetrack type catalytic
converter can; (b) circular weld on an
AISI 441 cylindrical catalytic converter can.

CONCLUSIONS

2. H. SASSOULAS, P-O. SANTACREU : Elments


pour prdire la dure de vie en fatigue thermique
dlements de lignes dchappement raliss en
acier inoxydable, 18me Journe de Printemps de la
SF2M- Dimensionnement en Fatigue des Structures :
Dmarche et outils, Paris, 2-3 June 1999, p. 161.
3. P-O. SANTACREU et al. : Thermal Fatigue of Stainless Steels and its Application to Life Prediction of
Automotive Exhaust Lines, Thermal Stresses99,
Cracow, Poland, June 13-17 1999, p. 245

The aim of the present study was to determine whether


the 430LNb ferritic stainless steel welding wire developed
by USI (Ugine Savoie Imphy) could provide a satisfactory
new solution for welding the ferritic stainless steel sheets
containing 18% Cr (or less) used in automotive exhaust
systems.
GMAW welds were first of all made on 1.5 mm thick
sheets of AISI 409, 436 and 441 grades, using 1 mm
diameter 430LNb, 308LSi and 307Si welding wires.
Whatever the sheet material, the 430LNb wire gave good
quality beads (shape, structure, tensile and bending
properties, intergranular corrosion resistance), with a
welding speed of the order of 2 m/min. The quality of the
weld seams obtained was at least as good as that of
welds made on the same sheets using austenitic filler
materials (308LSi and 307Si).

CONTACT
1. N. Renaudot, Research Metallurgist, Usinor Recherches, Centre de Recherches, 73403 Ugine cedex
(France), fax : 33 4 79 89 35 00
2. P.O. Santacreu, Research Metallurgist, Usinor
Recherches, Centre de Recherches, 73403 Ugine
cedex (France), tel: 33 4 79 89 35 43, fax: 33 4 79 89
35 00.

Tests specific to the automotive exhaust application have


been undertaken in the laboratory in order to compare
the service behavior of welds produced using 430LNb
wire with that of similar welds obtained with austenitic
filler metals. These included dip-dry corrosion-oxidation
tests simulating the combination of salt attack and high
temperature corrosion, mechanical fatigue tests performed in the tension-compression mode between 300
and 950C, and thermal fatigue tests involving cycling of
restrained specimens between 250 and 900C. All the
results obtained confirm that the 430LNb welding wire is
at least as good as the austenitic filler materials most
commonly employed in Europe, and sometimes better
(e.g. the thermal fatigue results on 409/409 assemblies).

3. J. Ragot, Corrosion Laboratory Manager, Usinor


Recherches, Centre de Recherches, 73403 Ugine
cedex (France), tel: 33 4 79 89 38 35, fax: 33 4 79 89
35 00.
4. J.L. Moiron, Welding Laboratory Manager, Usinor
Recherches, Centre de Recherches, 71130
Gueugnon (France), tel: 33 3 85 85 78 53, fax: 33 3
85 85 79 56.
5. R. Cozar, Senior Research Metallurgist, Usinor
Recherches, Centre de Recherches, 58160 Imphy
(France), tel: 33 3 86 21 32 19, fax: 33 3 86 21 31 11.
6. P. Pdarr, Wire Rod Products Manager, Ugine
Savoie Imphy, Direction Commerciale, 73403 Ugine
cedex (France), tel: 33 4 79 89 30 08, fax: 33 4 79 89
31 92.

Finally, tests carried out on real components by exhaust


system manufacturers also confirm the high productivity
and good quality of the welds.

7. A. Bruyre, Welding Products Manager, Sprint Mtal,


BP1103, Maginot, 01000 Bourg-en-Bresse (France),
tel: 33 4 74 45 94 20, fax: 33 4 74 45 94 19.

REFERENCES
1. T.M. DEVINE and J. DRUMMOND : An Accelerated
Intergranular Corrosion Test for Detecting Sensitization in Low Chromium Ferritic Stainless Steel, in
Corrosion NACE, 38 (6), 1982