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Over the past 50 years the anomalous behavior of steels has not always been consistent. Part of the inconsistency can be attributed to transient or other conditions that exceeded design conditions. Another part can be attributed to unspecified elements. Conversely, some steels have proven exceptionally capable to withstand their service conditions. Some of the more generic problems were serious enough to generate cooperative group actions to resolve them. Graphitization, weldability, low creep resistance, stress corrosion, caustic embrittlement, poor fracture toughness, shifting nil-ductility transition temperatures, and low upper shelf impact resistance have been some of the more notorious problems.
Until recently there was little attention given to the buildup of residuals (or unspecified elements) in steels where scrap steels were recycled into new product forms. Copper, chromium, cobalt, zinc, tin, nickel, and nitrogen have all influenced the behavior of steels. In some cases they could be beneficial. However, without a clear understanding of their synergistic behavior, it is difficult to predict their service behavior. If our industry potential is to remain strong in its world position, it will be necessary to develop more specific information on materials. We look forward to the successful implementation of the National Materials Properties Data Network (NMPD) to provide the data base from which the generation of new or more specific data will provide more confidence for the least cost.
steels, unspecified elements, graphitization, weldability stress corrosion, caustic embrittlement
Consulting mechanical engineer, Public Service Electric and Gas Company, Newark, NJ