Procedures have been developed for Hybrid Laser Arc Welding (HLAW) of HSLA-80 and approved by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for use in the construction of naval combatant vessels built under Naval Vessel Rules (NVR). This constitutes the first Navy-qualified process for HLAW as applied to high-yield steel for primary structures of naval combatant vessels. HSLA -80, with yield strength of 80 ksi, is of increasing interest to ship designers and builders due to the potential to reduce vessel weight and increase performance.
This paper discusses problems encountered and solutions generated during the development sequence, especially in achieving satisfactory Charpy V-notch (CVN) impact properties. The process is being installed at a major U.S. fabricator for the production of structural shapes of HSLA-80 and other alloys for use in naval vessel construction. The challenge of gaining qualification for a new technology was mitigated to a certain degree by prior experience in Europe and by the fact that Applied Thermal Sciences (ATS) had already achieved Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) approval for the application of HLAW to the welding of HSLA-65 primary hull structure. Nonetheless, the extension of the HLAW process to HSLA-80 was not trivial; approval by the ABS has demonstrated success.