Stainless Steel Pipe Welding Procedure Specification

"The Devil is in the details," as the old saying goes. Welding stainless steel pipes must be done with precision and accuracy to achieve a strong bond and avoid contamination.


Stainless steel pipe is a type of metal piping primarily consisting of chromium, nickel, and molybdenum, offering significant levels of strength and corrosion resistance. It is widely used in a variety of industries including construction, manufacturing, and plumbing due to its durability and cost-effectiveness.

Building on the knowledge of stainless steel pipe and its advantages, it is important to understand the stainless steel pipe welding procedure specification in order to ensure a successful and safe welding process.

This article will provide an overview of the stainless steel pipe welding procedure specification, safety precautions, joint design, and filler metal and shielding gas selection for stainless steel pipe welding. With the right knowledge and skill, you can ensure your welds are completed safely and successfully.
stainless steel pipe welding procedure specification

Safety First

Ensure Your Safety and the Safety of Others. Please Review and Comprehend this Vital Information. Harmful Fumes and Gases Pose Health Risks. Electrical Shock Can Be Fatal.



Welding Helmets

Wear a welding helmet with the appropriate filter lens shade

Protective Gear

Wear leather gloves, long sleeves, and fire-resistant clothing


Use an exhaust fan or ventilation system to dissipate fumes

Fire Prevention

Keep flammable materials away from the welding area

Safety Glasses

Wear safety glasses or goggles to protect against flying sparks

stainless steel pipe welding safety
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Choose the Welding Process

When welding stainless steel pipes, it is important to choose the proper welding process. The four main welding processes that can be used are SMAW, GTAW, FCAW, and GMAW. Each of these processes has different types of filler metal, shielding gas, and other parameters that need to be considered.

SMAW - Shielded Metal Arc Welding or Stick Electrode

Frequently, shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) or stick electrode is used when welding stainless steel pipe. It is favored for its low cost and ability to join thick metals. It is also well-suited to outdoor applications due to its ability to tolerate wind and drafts. SMAW requires:

1. A covered metal electrode
2. Safety precautions due to fumes, gases, and electric shock
3. An electric current with specific electrode designations

GTAW - Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or Tig Welding

Continuing on from SMAW, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) or TIG welding is another popular welding process for stainless steel pipe. This process uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode and an inert shielding gas such as argon, argon-helium mixtures, or pure helium. 

DC current is used with straight polarity (electrode negative) and parameters depend on plate thickness and welding position. GTAW can be used for both similar and dissimilar alloy applications, provided that mechanical properties and compatibility are taken into consideration. 

Gas flow rates and adjustments must be adjusted depending on the specific application. For a strong bond, correct joint design and fit up are important. Fixtures and jigs can help secure work pieces during the joining procedure. Transitioning to the next welding process, FCAW, requires safety precautions due to fumes, gases, and electric shock.

FCAW - Flux Cored Arc Welding

Transitioning to flux cored arc welding (FCAW), this is a welding process that uses flux-filled electrodes for shielding and stabilization. It is used with direct current (DC) and produces a high deposition rate, making it ideal for thick metal and windy conditions. 

FCAW requires good equipment maintenance, and parameters such as voltage, wire feed speed, and travel speed must be monitored. It is important to select the correct type of flux-cored wire for the specific application, and to use a gas mix that is appropriate for the transfer mode. Additionally, joint design and fit up plays an important role in the success of FCAW. With these considerations in mind, FCAW provides a reliable and cost-effective welding process. This section transitions into the subsequent section about 'gmaw - gas metal arc welding or mig welding'.

GMAW - Gas Metal Arc Welding or Mig Welding

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), commonly known as Mig welding, is a welding process that uses a continuously fed filler metal electrode and externally supplied gas for shielding. It is useful for welding stainless steel due to its versatility, speed, and relatively low cost.

GMAW is often used in thin materials, and can be used in all welding positions. The shielding gas used for GMAW can be argon and 1-2% oxygen for spray transfer, or 90% helium/7.5% argon/2.5% CO for short circuiting transfer. The gas flow rate and adjustment depend on the specific application. It is important to determine the appropriate inert shielding gas for the welding process in order to ensure a strong bond.

Determine Appropriate Inert Shielding Gas

The selection of an appropriate inert shielding gas for welding stainless steel pipe depends on the welding process chosen. Commonly used welding processes for stainless steel pipe include SMAW, GTAW, FCAW, and GMAW. Each welding process requires a specific inert shielding gas for effective joining.

SMAW-none required

GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding)

When dealing with thicknesses up to approximately 1/2", it is recommended to use argon. For thicker sections, you may opt for argon-helium mixtures or pure helium, especially if deeper penetration is needed. The most commonly utilized tungsten electrode is 2% thoriated.

FCAW (Flux-Cored Arc Welding)

You can choose between 100% CO2 or Argon/CO2 for FCAW. If you opt for argon mixed with 20 to 25 percent CO2, it's advisable to slightly lower the voltage. Typically, a gas flow rate of 40 cubic feet per hour (cfh) is recommended, but adjustments can be made based on the specific application requirements.

GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding)

For the spray transfer method, it is common to use argon with 1% to 2% oxygen, with 99% Argon/1% oxygen being the predominant choice. When welding thinner materials, you may consider 98% Argon/2% oxygen. Short-circuiting transfer, on the other hand, typically involves a mixture of 90% helium, 7.5% argon, and 2.5% CO2.

Clean the Base Metal

The base metal must be thoroughly cleaned before welding. Proper preparation of the pipes is essential for a strong and reliable weld. This includes a few simple steps:

1. Clean the surface of the pipes with a wire brush to remove any residue, dirt, or debris.
2. Use a stainless steel cleaner or solvent to remove oils, grease, or other contaminants.
3. Use a clean cloth to wipe the pipes dry.

The next step in the welding process is to preheat the pipes if necessary. This is done to reduce the risk of cracking and warping from rapid cooling. Preheating also helps to ensure that the parts are properly aligned and ready for welding.

Preheat if Applicable

Preheating is typically unnecessary for the majority of 300 austenitic grade stainless steels. The base material should be allowed to reach room temperature, generally around 60 to 75°F.

However, preheating becomes essential when welding ferritic or martensitic grades, as well as when joining thick materials or those with a high carbon content.

Stainless steel welding : procedure specifications types,techniques

Stainless steel welding is a complex process that requires particular attention to the type of stainless steel pipe, as well as the technique used for welding. 

Different welding techniques have different parameters, and the technique used should be determined for each specific application. It is important to understand these parameters in order to ensure safe and successful welding.
stainless steel pipe welding

Types of stainless steel pipe

When welding stainless steel pipe, it is important to understand the different types of stainless steel available. Austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, and duplex stainless steel all have different properties that must be considered to ensure the best possible result. It is also important to select the appropriate welding process and filler metal for the task.

Austenitic stainless steel boasts exceptional resistance to corrosion and heat, coupled with remarkable malleability and durability, ensuring it remains non-hardenable during exposure to heat treatments. It finds applications across a range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, and others.

Ferritic stainless steel, with a chromium content exceeding 12 percent, possesses a distinctive chemical composition and molecular grain structure that sets it apart from other stainless steel grades. Unlike other stainless steel alloys, it contains little to no nickel, making it a cost-effective choice for consumer products due to its economical manufacturing process.

Martensitic stainless steel possesses a chemical composition that allows it to become harder and more robust through aging and heat treatments. This characteristic sets it apart as a stronger alloy compared to others, making it suitable for the production of items such as medical instruments, automated valves, mechanical components, and turbine parts.

Duplex stainless steel blends high resistance to corrosion with excellent mechanical properties and finds widespread use across various industries. It serves in diverse applications, such as chemical tanks and seawater heat exchangers.

Techniques for welding stainless steel

When welding stainless steel pipes, various techniques can be used. These include TIG welding, resistance welding, MIG welding, Austenitic Stainless Steel Welding, and ferritic stainless steel welding. Each technique has its own advantages and limitations, and should be chosen based on the specific application.

Tig Welding

One technique commonly used to weld stainless steel involves tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. It requires precision and accuracy to get the desired results. 

Here are some key points to keep in mind when using TIG welding: 

1) Use the correct shielding gas, such as argon or helium; 
2) Make sure that the current is set to the correct level for the metal thickness; 
3) Adjust the electrode angle to ensure proper penetration. With these tips, TIG welding can produce high-quality stainless steel welds.

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How to TIG Weld Stainless Steel Pipe?

Resistance Welding

Building on from Tig welding, resistance welding is another technique commonly used to join stainless steel pipes and is suitable for applications involving thicker materials. It uses pressure and electrical current to create a weld that produces strong and reliable joints.

The two main types of resistance welding are spot welding and seam welding. Spot welding is used to join two pieces of metal at a single point and requires two electrodes that concentrate the current to a small area. Seam welding is used to weld two pieces of metal along a continuous line and requires a wheel-shaped electrode that moves along the joint. Both methods offer high quality welds with minimal heat distortion.

Mig Welding

Mig welding is a frequently-used technique for joining stainless steel pipes that involves the use of a continuously fed filler metal electrode and externally supplied shielding gas. 

It is a popular option for stainless steel welding as it provides a strong bond, is highly efficient, and is used in all positions. Parameters such as gas flow rate and type of current used must be adjusted depending on the plate thickness and welding position. 

Moreover, the compatibility of the filler metal must be taken into consideration for dissimilar base metal applications. The next section will discuss austenitic stainless steel welding.

Austenitic Stainless Steel Welding

Moving on from Mig welding, austenitic stainless steel welding is a popular method of joining stainless steel pipes. Suitable for joining most types of austenitic stainless steel alloys, it requires safety precautions due to fumes and gases. Joint design, fit up, welding processes, shielding gas, and filler metal selection must all be considered.

Ferritic Stainless Steel Welding

Building on from austenitic stainless steel welding, ferritic stainless steel welding is a common method used in the joining of stainless steel pipes. It is important to consider factors like strength, welding position, metal thickness, and joint accessibility. 

Martensitic Stainless Steel Welding

Fourth among the stainless steel alloys, martensitic stainless steel is a hard, strong material with a low corrosion resistance. Its welding requires specific parameters, such as DC current with straight polarity (electrode negative), and shielding gases like argon and 1-2% oxygen for spray transfer. 

A table of parameters like gas flow rates, electrode designations, and filler metal selection should be consulted for the best welding results. Proper joint design and fit up are also important for a successful weld.

Duplex Stainless Steel Welding Guide

The next type of stainless steel welding to discuss is Duplex stainless steel welding. It requires different parameters and techniques than martensitic stainless steel welding. To ensure successful welds on Duplex stainless steel:

1. Use specific welding processes and filler metals
2. Follow safety precautions
3. Adjust shielding gas flow rates. Properly using these methods will help create strong, reliable welds. To conclude, it is important to understand the differences between Duplex and martensitic stainless steel welding.


Frequently, the welding process specified for stainless steel piping must be chosen based on the application and joint design. It is important to consider the type of joint, the base metal, the metal thickness, and the welding position. 

Careful selection of the welding process, joint design, and fit up can ensure a strong and reliable weld. It is also important to observe safety precautions, including proper ventilation, protective gear, and maintaining a clear work environment.

The correct stainless steel pipe welding procedure specification depends on the joint design, the base metal, and the metal thickness. Each process has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to select the best option for the application. By following the proper guidelines and safety standards, a quality and reliable weld can be achieved.

Foshan Vinmay Stainless Steel Co.,ltd is a manufacturer of stainless steel tig welded pipe , 99% of our pipe export to more than 100 countries which mainly in Europe and South America. Vinmay always provide high quality of produce and service to our customers all over the world. Contact us if you are interested in stainless steel pipe. Free sample can be sent today!

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