Shipbuilding Materials

The Navy diver should be familiar with the different types of steel used in shipbuilding in order to select the appropriate welding electrodes. Today shipbuilders have a wide range of steels which are used in the construction of ship's hulls and superstructures. Quite often, ship hulls are comprised of more than one type of steel. A ship may have stronger steel at the keel, garboard and sheer strakes and at the turn of the bilge where the stresses are higher. In these cases, electrodes of higher strength steel are applicable. Perhaps the simplest approach to these materials is by strength, although this is not the only criteria for selection. Table 3-1 divides some of the more common steels into three groups. Oftentimes, accurate information is not readily available when needed. A quick, field-expedient method to determine the type of electrodes to use is as follows:

a. Cut a small sample of the material to be welded and make a Tee fillet weld specimen similar to the one illustrated in Figure 3-1.

b. Wet weld the specimen and break it with a sledgehammer. If it breaks easily after being welded with mild steel electrodes, it is more than likely that the steel is of a high carbon content and should be welded with austenitic electrodes. On the other hand, a specimen that bends a great deal before breaking indicates low carbon content and may be welded with mild steel electrodes.

Table 3-1. Guide to Steels and Electrodes for Wet Welding

Steel

Example

Approximate Tensile Strength (psi)

Use

Welding Electrode

Mild

ASTM-A36

50,000

Hull shell

E6013

and

ABS-A32

plating

E7014

Carbon

E308

E310

High

HTS

70,000

Shell plating

E7014

strength

ASTM-A3537

to

bilge turns

E308

Class 1

90,000

rudders

E310

Very high

HY-80

>90,000

Submarines

*

strength

HSLA-80

>90,000

Some rudders,

garboard and shear

strakes and bilge

turns

* Not recommended

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