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ASTM A514

The A514 plate steels are a group of quenched and tempered alloys with many attractive advantages and characteristics. It has a minimum tensile strength of 100 ksi (689 MPa) and at least 110 ksi (758 MPa) ultimate. Plates from 2.5 inches to 6.0 inches have a specified tensile strength of 90 ksi (621 MPa) and 100 – 130 ksi (689 – 896 MPa) ultimate. A514 plate also provides good weldability and toughness at low atmospheric temperatures. The ASTM A514 group is designed for a wide range of structural uses as well as machinery and equipment. However, the primary use is as a structural steel in building construction. This group of steel, which also includes A517, alloy steel combine optimum strength, toughness, corrosion resistance, impact-abrasion resistance, and long-term economy.

ASTM A514 material in Grades

Mechanical Properties:

  • Tensile: up to 2.5” 110 to 130 ksi over 2.5” to 6” 100 to 130
  • Yield: up to 2.5” 100 ksi min over 2.5” to 6” 90 ksi min
  • Elongation: up to 2.5” 18% in 2” over 2.5” to 6” 16% in 2”
  • Brinell: 235—293 is typical, but it is not usually indicated on the MTR’s

Size range:

  • Grade B: Up to and including 1-1/4”
  • Grade H: Over 1.25” to 2” inclusive
  • Grade F: Over 2” to 2.5” inclusive
  • Grade Q: Over 2.5” to 6”

Overview:

ASTM A514 is a low carbon quenched and tempered alloy steel that is a low-cost, high-performing material for structural use and high wear machine applications. The A514 steel plate meets the ASTM International standard A514. This steel plate has a yield strength of 100,000 psi (100 ksi or approximately 700 MPa).

  • Commonly used as a structural steel in cranes or large heavy-load machines, A514 offers high strength with weldable, machinable properties.
  • Also referred to as T-1 steel.
  • Quenched and tempered for increased strength.
  • Available in eight grades: B, S, H, Q, E, F, A, and P.
  • Available in heavy plate thicknesses (3-inches or greater).
  • Suitable in lower temperatures. Charpy impact test results for specific climates available.

Typical Uses

  • Earthmoving equipment frames and components
  • Building and bridge frames and structural components
  • Truck frames and bodies
  • Transport vehicle frames and bodies
  • Storage container support frames
  • Booms (lattice-type and telescopic)

Welding ASTM A514 or A514M-05 steel?

Cost and efficiency dictate manufacturing and fabricating trends in most industries. In addition to implementing lean work flow practices—better, faster transportation and processing and minimal inventory—many companies turn to the use of higher-strength, lighter-weight materials to reduce costs and improve welding productivity.

ASTM A514 and A514M-05 high-strength, low-alloy, quenched-and-tempered steels are among these materials. Although they have been available for many years, they continue to pose some distinct challenges for welders. Welding these materials successfully is a matter of understanding some key factors, including filler metal choices and preheating and interpass heat requirements.

What It Is, Why It Is

ASTM A514 is a specification for 100 kilopounds-per-square-inch-yield, low-alloy, quenched-and-tempered steel intended for structural applications and is typically known in the industry as USS (United States Steel) nomenclature T1®, regardless of the manufacturer.

A514 grades are A, B, E, F, H, P, Q, and S. Each grade has a unique chemistry and may differ in the maximum thickness to which it is rolled, from 1¼ in. to 6 in. The material thickness affects the mechanical properties. For instance, A514 rolled to 2½ in. or less must have 110-KSI to 130-KSI tensile strength, 100-KSI minimum yield strength, and 18 percent elongation. For materials 2½ to 6 in. thick, the mechanical properties are 100-KSI to 130-KSI tensile strength, 90-KSI minimum yield strength, and 16 percent elongation.

The hardness for material thickness up to and including ¾ in. is 235 to 293 HBW (Brinell). Note that the specification does not list hardness requirements for materials thicker than ¾ in.

One of the reasons for the difference in properties among these thicknesses is the quenching. The thicker the material, the slower the quench rate, which results in lower minimum yield and tensile strengths.

Typically, this material is used for structural applications. In many cases, the term structural refers to buildings, but the material also is used in heavy equipment structures to reduce weight and improve payload capacity, such as in railcars and their components, large mining truck frames, semitrailer frames, and crane boom sections.

Because the typical hardness of the materials is 22 to 27 Rockwell C, it is also used for wear strips, cutting edges, and side cutters. Typical applications are backhoe buckets and other wear components in earthmoving equipment.

Making the Choice: Filler Metals

Welding A514 is not complicated when some precautions, especially with filler metal choices, are used.

A primary concern is filler metal hydrogen content. You should not use filler metals that deposit weld metal with a diffusible hydrogen content greater than 8 ml per 100 grams of deposited weld metal. A514 is sensitive to diffusible hydrogen, which may result in hydrogen cracking.

Filler Metal Selection ASTM A514 and A514M-05 Up to 2½ In. Thick

Figure 1
Welding Process AWS A5 Specification Classification
SMAW A5.5/A5.5M-2005 E11018M or E12018M
GMAW A5.28/A5.28M-2005 Solid electrodes ER 110S-1 and ER120S-1
or
Metal-cored electrodes E110C-K3, E110C-K4, and E120C-K4
FCAW A5.29/A5.29M-2005 E11XT1-K3C and -K3M
E11XT5-K3C and -K3M
E11XT5-K4C and -K4M
E12XT5-K4C and -K4M
SAW A5.23/A5.23M-1997 Solid electrode/flux combination F11AX-EXXX-XXX and F12AX-EXXX-XXX
or
Composite electrode/flux combination F11AX-ECXXX-XXX and F12AX-ECXXX-XXX

The filler metal strength depends on the application of the A514. Figure 1 shows filler metals you can use to match the strength of base materials up to 2½ in. thick where the same mechanical properties as the base material are required. On base material thicknesses greater than 2½ in., you can use the same filler metals, but their strength exceeds that of the base metal, a condition called overmatching strength (see Figure 2).

Filler Metal SelectionASTM A514 and A514M-05 Greater Than 2½ Inches Thick

Figure 2
Welding Process AWS A5 Specification Classification
SMAW A5.5/A5.5M-2005 E10018M
GMAW A5.28/A5.28M-2005 Solid electrodes ER 100S-1
or
Metal-cored electrodes E100C-K3
FCAW A5.29/A5.29M-2005 FCAW A5.29/A5.29M-2005 E10XT1-K3C and -K3M
E10XT5-K3C and -K3M
E10XT1-K7C and -K7M
E10XT1-K9C and -K9M
SAW A5.23/A5.23M-1997 Solid electrode/flux combination F10AX-EXXX-XXX
or
Composite electrode/flux combination F10AX-ECXXX-XXX

When joining A514 to other low-alloy steels or carbon steels of lower strength, use a filler metal with strength that meets the lower-strength base material’s properties. For example, when welding ASTM A36 to A514, use a 70-KSI-tensile-strength electrode to match the lower-strength material. Don’t focus solely on strength; keep the hydrogen cracking risk in mind.

Heat Input Control

Even though A514 is readily weldable, excessive preheat and interpass temperatures and welding heat input can affect the alloy’s chemical properties. Figure 3 lists typical preheat and interpass temperatures for A514. These temperatures apply whether you are welding A514 to itself or to other, lower-strength materials.

Preheat and Interpass Temperatures

Figure 3
Although welding A514 is not difficult, joining it successfully requires close attention to the preheat and interpass temperatures.
Thickness (In.) Minimum Preheat and Interpass Temperature
(F)
Maximum Preheat
and Interpass Temperature
(F)
Up to ¾ 50 400
¾ to 1½ 125
1½ to 2½ 175 400
More than 2½ 225

It should be noted that preheat and interpass temperatures higher than those shown in Figure 3 may alter the mechanical properties of the material. Tempil® Sticks, contact pyrometers, infrared thermometers, or other heat-measuring devices should be used to control preheat and interpass temperatures.

In addition to the preheat and interpass temperature controls, heat input, which is a function of amperage, voltage, and travel speed, must be restricted. Heat input is expressed in joules per inch. The formula is:

Heat Input (joules/in.) = (Amperage x Voltage x 60) ÷ Travel Speed (IPM)

Typical heat input is about 55,000 joules per in. (±20 percent). For other heat inputs, it is advisable to contact the steel manufacturer for recommendations.

As a final precaution, A514 is not intended to be used in the postweld heat-treated (PWHT) condition, as it will alter the mechanical properties for which the material was intended.

Other sources of information for welding A514/A514M-05 steel are the steel manufacturers’ fabrication guides and:

  • AWS D1.1, Structural Code—Steel
  • D14.3, Specification for Welding
  • Earthmoving, Construction, and
  • Agricultural Equipment
  • D15.1, Railroad Welding Specification—Cars and Locomotives.
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